"He's beginning to annoy me" were the famous words uttered by Jimmy White following his heartbreaking 18-17 defeat to Stephen Hendry in the 1994 World final but they could also perhaps now be applied to Judd Trump as he for the second time in a month and the third time in total came out on the losing side of a final tussle with John Higgins at the Kay Suzanne Memorial PTC last night.This time by a scoreline of 4-2.
As has proven to be the case in these cut throat best of seven PTC events both players had survived some close shaves on their way to the final but in doing so showed why they are both such forces in the game at present.
Higgins started his day with a tight 4-3 win over Steve Davis before holding his nerve in the semi final as Anthony Hamilton fought back from 3-0 down to again force a decider.Trump on the other hand had found himself 3-0 to Thanawat Tirapongpalboon in his last 16 match but showed all his fighting qualities to come through.Then looking every inch the World no.1 he is Trump produced some fabulous snooker to see off Mark Joyce and then Ding Junhui in the semi final.
On to the final then we went with the memory of their classic encounter in Shanghai last month still fresh in our minds and it looked like once again we were set for fireworks when Trump started with a classy 102.This was amazingly Trumps tenth century in the two days of action.
Higgins though hasn't won as many titles as he has by rolling over in the face of adversity and hit back with a superb 97 to level at 1 all.That became 2-2 when they shared the next two and Higgins won a scrappy fifth to take the lead at 3-2 and sealed the win with a 62 break in the next.
So what did we learn here.With regards Higgins you could say not a lot. He once again proved he has that special quality that all great champions have.The ability to find that bit extra when the finish line is in sight and in doing so he sent out a warning to those who were writing him off that if is at the business end of a tournament he is there to win it.
Trump on the other hand even in defeat showed over the course of the tournament that he is continuing to grow as a player. With the added confidence that comes with been World no.1 he showed a growing maturity mixing the spectacular shot making we expect with some solid safety play when the occasion called for it.If he keeps this up his stay at the top of the rankings could be a long one.
Finally a word on the venue.I was not fortunate enough to attend a tournament at the SWSA but going on what I've read from others who were there it was a lovely venue and it seems to be the hope of most that professional snooker returns there in the future.
For now the action switches to Sofia for EPTC5 this weekend followed by a couple of weeks of qualifiers before we return to York where Trump will be hoping to defend his UK Championship title.What price another Trump v Higgins final?