Stuart Bingham is on top of the world at the Crucible
Stuart Bingham completed an astonishing transition from journeyman to king of the Crucible as he brilliantly beat Shaun Murphy to take the Betfred World Championship title.
The 38-year-old from Basildon defied expectations to see off Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump to reach his first final in Sheffield, and pulled off a stunning 18-15 triumph, finishing with a sparkling break of 88 as wife Michelle watched on with a huge smile across her face.
It made him the oldest world champion since Ray Reardon, who won aged 45 in 1978.
Bingham showed the composure of a player who had been playing Crucible finals for many years, rather than one who in eight previous visits had reached the quarter-final stage only once, which was the reality.
He trailed 3-0 and 8-4, but crucially got back to 9-8 behind after Sunday's play, and as Murphy faltered he swept ahead yesterday afternoon, creaming off the first four frames to go 12-9 in front.
When the match reached 15-12 yesterday evening, Murphy had problems, and he trailed 55-0 in the next frame.
But Murphy rallied and levelled the score at 15-15 after taking three frames in a row.
Murphy gave away 38 points in fouls in the next frame. Eventually, after 63 minutes and 31 seconds, Bingham fired in the pink to nudge 16-15 ahead.
And it was just one frame required when he made 55 in taking the next, with Murphy then handing Bingham a golden chance to complete his triumph.
Going for broke by taking on a long red, Murphy missed it by a large margin and Bingham completed his greatest win.