The curtain comes down on the 2015/16 Snooker season with the Crucible Theatre again playing host to the World Snooker Championships. The World Championships is well and truly a grand finale to the season, as it is widely considered to be the most prestigious snooker tournament on the calendar.
Stuart Bingham is the current champion after he clinched his first World Championship title by beating Shaun Murphy in the 2015 final. A 50/1 outsider at the start of the tournament, Bingham defeated Robbie Williams 10-7 in the first round, Graeme Dott 13-5 in the second round, Ronnie O'Sullivan 13-9 in the quarter-finals, Judd Trump 17-16 in the semi-finals, and Shaun Murphy 18-15 in the final to win the first world title of his 20-year professional career. At the age of 38, Bingham became the oldest first-time world champion since Walter Donaldson in 1947 and the oldest player to win the title since Ray Reardon in 1978.
Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan are among the favourites to win this years World Championship with the bookies and if you think either of them will go all the way this year, back them with 888Sport and get treble the odds on your first bet.
2015 World Championship Snooker Final
Shaun Murphy was contesting his third final - after success in 2005 and failure in 2009 - and looked to be getting off to a good start when he took a 3-0 lead, but Bingham fought back to end the opening session all-square at 4-4. After the interval Murphy rattled off four consecutive feames to move 8-4 ahead, but Bingham would not simply roll over and won four of the next five to reduce Murphy's lead to 9-8 overnight. In the third session, Bingham won six of the eight frames to move into a 14–11 lead, but then it was Murphy's turn to fight back and he won four of the first five frames in the final session to draw level at 15-15. The stage was set for a grandstand finish and it was Bingham that held his nerve to record an 18–15 victory and his first world title.
Top Performers In Modern Era
O’Sullivan is behind only Ray Reardon, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry as the most successful player in World Championship history in the ‘modern’ era. The modern era dates back to 1969, when the World Championship reverted to a knock-out tournament format from a challenge format. Different decades have brought about different periods of dominance in World Championship history.
Ray Reardon won five titles in the 1970’s, including four consecutive wins between 1972-1976. The mantle was then passed to Steve Davis, who won his six World Championship titles between 1980-89. Stephen Hendry then shook the world with his victory over Davis in the 1990 final, which sparked his dominance over the competition. Hendry won seven World Championship titles in the 1990’s, becoming the only player to win five consecutive titles between 1992-1996. Ronnie O’Sullivan has been the most dominant player in World Championship snooker during the 21st century, winning five titles including the 2012 and 2013 tournaments.
Most Successful Players In World Championship History (Modern Era)
Stephen Hendry – 7 Titles
Steve Davis – 6 Titles
Ray Reardon – 6 Titles
Ronnie O’Sullivan – 5 Titles
John Higgins – 4 Titles
During their spells at the top of the game Hendry, Davis and O’Sullivan won all three Triple Crown events and the current holder Mark Selby became the latest player to do so with his victory in the 2014 World Championship. There is a clutch of players who need the World Championship title to complete the Triple Crown including Matthew Stevens, and most notably Ding Junhui.
Ding has been in and around the top of the game for a number of years, but has failed to convert his undoubted talent into major trophies. The 2013/14 season was his most successful to date with Ding winning five ranking tournaments, a sign that he is starting to convert his talent into titles. Ding is frequently among the bookmakers favourites for major competitions, and he joins O’Sullivan and Trump as the early favourites for this years World Championship.
Ding may not have shown us his best yet, but it would take a brave punter to bet against him for this years World Championship. A bet on him to become the tenth player to win all Triple Crown competitions this year could just prove a lucrative punt.