Stuart Bingham has won the 2017 Coral Welsh Open after a gruelling 9-8 victory over Judd Trump at the Motorpoint Arena on Sunday.
Big breaks were at a premium throughout, but a tenacious Bingham eventually captured his fourth ranking event title in front of a packed and appreciative crowd in Cardiff.
The showdown began strongly for the 40 year-old, who reeled off the opening four frames to establish a commanding early cushion.
Trump’s problem throughout the final was that he was unable to kill off frames in a single visit despite getting in first in the majority of the frames, and conjuring up various other chances during a topsy-turvy tie.
Bingham punished the 27 year-old with some clinical clearances at the outset of the contest but seemed to lose concentration after the first mini-session to allow his opponent back into proceedings.
Trump would have been delighted to come out of the opening session just 5-3 behind and continued the fight back to level at 6-6.
From here, it looked as though the European Masters champion was going to collect a second ranking title in the same season for the first time in his career.
Despite missing an initial opportunity to take the lead before going behind again by the odd frame, Trump scrapped his way to an 8-7 advantage and was on course for victory only for Bingham to clear superbly from brown to black to force a decider.
Both players had a crack at glory in the final frame shoot-out but a 55 from Bingham, which unbelievably represented the highest break of the evening’s bout of play, guaranteed his first tournament triumph since claiming the world title in 2015.
Most finals which go all the way to a deciding frame climax would be regarded as thrilling encounters but this was more a war of attrition, with neither cueist able to find any kind of lasting form.
It was a surprise given how they both emerged from their semi-final clashes amid a flurry of heavy scoring, but sometimes matches of this importance simply transpire in this manner when so much is at stake.
Bingham, who finished runner-up to Stephen Maguire in 2013 after losing 9-8, pockets a neat £70,000 and the inaugural Ray Reardon Trophy – commissioned for the first Welsh Open attributed to the Home Nations series, and presented by the six-time world champion himself.
The world no.2 has been one of the most consistent performers on the Main Tour this campaign and fully deserves to have his name etched on another piece of silverware.
Four ranking event semi-finals and further final appearances in the 6 Red World Championship and China Championship had left the Basildon potter yearning for the success he felt his performances had merited.
His display today wasn’t his prettiest but he won’t care too much as the most important thing for him is to have returned to the winners’ circle.
For Trump, it will be a huge disappointment, not only because he came so close but also the manner in which he threw so many frames away.
One consolation for the former world number one was his battling quality, which never wavered despite not being able to produce his normal attacking prowess.
It won’t be long until the pair duel again with a match against one another scheduled tomorrow in the Championship League in Coventry.
One suspects that Bingham won’t mind too much if he’s a little tired following tonight’s celebrations.