Sunday 26 May 2019

Bingham just misses jackpot bonanza

Phil Yates

IRELAND'S Ken Doherty had the best seat in the house as Stuart Bingham, his first round opponent, spurned a golden chance to make only the fifth maximum 147 break in the televised stages of the Embassy World Championship.

The world number 44 from Essex failed on the penultimate ball in the fifth frame as he closed in on the prize of £147,000 for the coveted feat a figure that would have nearly doubled his career earnings.

Bingham, best known for his shock victory over Stephen Hendry at the Crucible two years ago, sank 15 reds with blacks to leave himself requiring only the six colours to join the exclusive club of players who have constructed a 147 break at snooker's most famous venue.

Despite the mounting tension, Bingham remained on course to emulate Cliff Thorburn, Jimmy White, Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan when he potted yellow, green and brown.

Although he began to show signs of tension, Bingham kept position until leaving himself just a few inches short of perfection on the pink, which he played at pace to try and get on the black.

But the former world amateur champion rattled the pink in the jaws of the pocket and, to rub salt into the wound, cannoned into the black, which dropped in.

The break of 134 did not even prove enough to displace Matthew Stevens' 135 as the highest of the tournament so far.

Even so Bingham's fine effort gave him a 3-2 lead but Doherty hit back. The 1997 world champion, who had earlier contributed to a high standard session with runs of 46, 95, 45 and 51, moved 4-3 in front by knocking in back to back half centuries.

However, there was to be another twist in the tail, as Bingham accounted for the closing two frames of the evening and now has a 5-4 lead going into tonight's deciding session.

Earlier, Graeme Dott's first-ever victory in the televised stages of the Championship was tinged by tragedy.

The Scot reached the second round for the first time in four visits to the Crucible with a 10-6 win over Robin Hull.

On leaving the arena, Dott was escorted to the press conference where the 24-year-old revealed he had been battling with his emotions having learned on Friday that May Lambie, wife of his manager Alex, had been diagnosed with cancer.

Dott's girlfriend is the daughter of the Lambies and the Glaswegian is naturally very close to the family.

But soon afterwards, it emerged that the news had been kept from Dott while he was playing that Mrs Lambie died yesterday.

No decision on Dott's continued participation in the tournament has yet been disclosed but he is not due to start his second-round match against John Higgins or James Wattana until next Sunday.

World number 13 Mark King also moved through to the last 16 while Northern Ireland's Joe Swail, a semi-finalist for the last two years, went out at the opening hurdle this time as he lost 10-6 to Cambridgeshire's Joe Perry.

King avenged his Regal Scottish Open defeat to David Gray earlier this month when he prevailed 10-5 in a largely scrappy encounter.

Gray had beaten King on his way to the final in Aberdeen, but this time the tables were turned as the 23-year-old from Surrey failed miserably to reproduce the form he had shown north of the border.

Former Regal Welsh Open runner-up King held a 6-3 lead overnight which was cut by two frames as Gray made a flying start, knocking in breaks of 68 and 58.

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