Stuart Bingham and David Gilbert will face each other in the first round of the 2023 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
This season for Stuart Bingham
It’s a good thing Stuart Bingham reached the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship two years ago.
Without those ranking points, which will soon be deducted from his tally under the two-year rolling system, there is no way he’d be a top 16 seed this year.
Bingham boasts just one quarter-final appearance in a ranking event this term, meaning his provisional end-of-season ranking is at a lowly 28.
That is a more accurate reflection of the former world champion’s current form, and the 46 year-old will have to channel his inner 2015 self if he’s to end the campaign on a high note.
Bingham’s highlight of a forgettable 2022/23 season was at the Masters when he beat Kyren Wilson and Shaun Murphy en route to the last four.
This season for David Gilbert
David Gilbert has cut a despondent figure throughout the 2022/23 campaign, regularly struggling with both his game and temperament.
In the German Masters qualifiers in November, the Angry Farmer sensationally walked out of his best-of-nine match with Andy Hicks when he was just 3-2 behind.
Gilbert’s only run of note this term was at the Northern Ireland Open when he reached the last eight in Belfast.
Apart from that, there have been a lot of early exits in tournaments, and if results don’t improve he’ll suffer a rapid slide down the rankings at the beginning of next season.
In the world qualifiers, however, Gilbert did manage to produce some much-needed form with back-to-back wins against Barry Pinches and Matthew Stevens – compiling three tons and 13 additional runs above 50.
Bingham and Gilbert head-to-head
An incredible stat from this particular head-to-head duel sees Bingham lead Gilbert 12-0 from their prior contests against each other.
That’s what you call a bogey player.
Bingham has beaten Gilbert in many big tournaments, including the Masters en route to his glory at the Ally Pally in 2020 and at the UK Championship just over a year before that.
Both players have struggled to produce their best form this season, which makes this one difficult to predict in terms of the standard on show.
They are both heavy scorers when in natural flow, but whether they will be able to find that kind of fluency is the big question.
When the draw was made, my immediate reaction was that Gilbert had a good chance, but it’s hard to ignore that remarkable head-to-head stat.
The fact that Bingham has the greater pedigree in the biggest arenas is also in Ballrun’s favour.
Prediction: Stuart Bingham 10-7 David Gilbert
Saturday, April 15th – 10am
Sunday, April 16th – 10am
Featured photo credit: WST