Snooker's World Cup

Scotland Wins Snooker’s World Cup

Scotland has whitewashed China B in the final of Snooker’s World Cup – with John Higgins and Stephen Maguire triumphing in Wuxi on Sunday.

The experienced duo avenged their loss to the same opponents at the same stage four years ago.

On that occasion, then teenagers Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao stunned the Scottish pair to claim an unlikely title.

One half of that partnership – Zhou – remained in this China B unit, this time joined by Liang Wenbo who was bidding for a hat-trick of World Cup crowns.

But the home favourites had nothing left in the tank after a gruelling last four encounter with England that went the distance.

The final was bereft of much quality, especially in terms of scoring where not a single break above 50 was compiled.

Higgins and Maguire took command of the scrappy exchanges to come out on top with a one-sided scoreline.

It marks the first time since 1996 that Scotland has claimed Snooker’s World Cup title, a year in which Higgins was a member of the fabled “Dream Team” that also included Stephen Hendry and Alan McManus.

This triumph 23 years later underlines Higgins’ incredible longevity in the sport and also brings to an end more recent Chinese World Cup dominance.

Ever since the tournament was relaunched eight years ago, a Chinese team has emerged with the trophy three times in a row.

Scotland entered the event as one of the favourites and Sunday’s earlier 4-1 defeat of China A – featuring local hero Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao – provided a glimpse of what was to come.

Higgins and Maguire can take pride in winning a world title for their country but they also collect a tidy sum of $200,000 in the process.

For the latter, the success opens up other opportunities as well with an invitation into the lucrative Champion of Champions likely on the cards too.

Snooker’s World Cup is a biennial event that is set to remain in the Chinese city of Wuxi for the next decade after a long-term contract was recently signed.

It’s an event that has promise but ultimately continues to fail in capturing the imagination overall.

The format generally isn’t interesting to follow and a lot of the encounters tend to be drawn out and boring affairs.

What doesn’t help is a typically drab atmosphere inside the Wuxi City Sports Park Stadium – a common problem that the majority of competitions staged in China suffer from.

Still, the calendar is better for events like these as a variation from the norm is welcome.

Higgins and Maguire certainly seem to enjoy it and, on their fourth outing as a pairing together, have finally come through as snooker’s World Cup champions.

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