Judd Trump

Judd Trump Nears Rare Feat Not Achieved Since 1996

The world number one would join an elite group of names if he were to win two more matches this week.

Judd Trump is through to the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open after a 5-1 victory over Scott Donaldson on Friday in Milton Keynes.

The Englishman’s latest run extends his recent streak in which he has reached at least the semi-finals or better in each tournament he has entered this season.

Trump triumphed in the English Open, the first Home Nations event of the campaign last month, and finished runner-up to Kyren Wilson in the Championship League.

Semi-final appearances were also made in the European Masters and the Champion of Champions, when he lost to Martin Gould and Mark Allen respectively.

But another snooker achievement is now within sights as the 31 year-old continues his love affair with the Northern Ireland Open.

Trump has lifted the Alex Higgins Trophy in the last two years and is now two victories away from a rare hat-trick.

The last person to capture glory in the same ranking event three years on the trot was Stephen Hendry – way back when he completed a trio of UK Championship victories in 1996.

It was, of course, the second time Hendry had recorded the feat with his all-time record of five in a row – set at the World Championship between 1992 and 1996 – still a long way off Trump’s sights.

Before Hendry there was Steve Davis, with the “Nugget” dominating the UK Championship for four years between 1984 and 1987.

Davis additionally won both the World Championship and the International Open three consecutive times between 1987 and 1989.

While Davis and Hendry’s efforts were recorded in the more modern ranking event era, Ray Reardon could lay claim to technically being the first overall, with his three World Championship triumphs between 1974 and 1976 retrospectively used to determine the first official world rankings list.

Several players have come close to joining the illustrious group since, notably Ronnie O’Sullivan when he won back-to-back world titles in 2012 and 2013 before losing the final of the 2014 edition to Mark Selby.

The “Rocket” also lost to eventual champion Ding Junhui in last year’s UK Championship when a threepeat was on the cards.

Selby himself came close by reaching the quarter-finals of the 2018 International Championship following earlier successes in 2016 and 2017.

The former world number one actually did win three China Opens in a row from those he entered, but the achievement is slightly skewed as he withdrew from the 2016 edition in between his Beijing victories from 2015, 2017, and 2018.

Mark Allen looked on course in 2014 when he reached the last four of the World Open, a tournament he had bagged a double in the previous two campaigns, but missed out in a narrow defeat to Shaun Murphy.

Going further back, Mark Williams triumphed in successive Thailand Masters at the turn of the millennium before losing in the last 16 in 2001 – then reclaiming the title twelve months later in Bangkok.

Judd Trump, meanwhile, will face the winner of the quarter-final fixture between Ali Carter and Kurt Maflin on Saturday in the 2020 Northern Ireland Open

World champion O’Sullivan, who Trump has beaten in each of the last two Northern Ireland Open finals, is the obvious danger from the other half of the draw.

O’Sullivan could then experience the unwanted threepeat of finishing runner-up in the same event for a hat-trick of seasons.

Funnily enough, that has happened recently with John Higgins suffering World Championship heartache in the title-deciding matches of 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. For me, Selby’s achievement of a threepeat in the China Open isn’t any less valid. The absence doesn’t detract from the feat at all.

  2. Pingback: Preview: Northern Ireland Open Semi-Finals - SnookerHQ

  3. Pingback: Preview: Northern Ireland Open Semi-Finals – Bouncing Bill

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