1:40pm Saturday 16th June 2012
SNOOKER: STUART Bingham says he’s in great form as he prepares to jet halfway around the world to defend his Australian Goldfields Open crown, writes James Colasnti.
The 36-year-old flies out today (Saturday) to play three tournaments in Asia before heading to Bendigo in Victoria to try to replicate to scene of his greatest-ever triumph last year when he won the first ranking tournament of his career.
And the world number 16 from Vange says his game is in great shape after winning the annual Pink Ribbon pro-am at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester on the weekend.
Bingham, who won his last three matches at that tournament without losing a frame, said: “It won’t be easy in Australia but if I keep playing like this then I think I have got a good chance of defending my title.
“I am looking forward to it but to be honest I’m trying not to think about it too much at the moment because I’m also really looking forward to playing the Wuxi Classic first, too.
“But I know the pressure will be on me in Australia because I am defending champion and I’m ready for that.
Bingham officially kicks off his season in China at the Asian PTC1 (June 18-22) and Wuxi Classic (June 25 – July 1), then goes to Thailand for the SangSom 6 Red World Championship (July 2-7) before heading to Oz for the Goldfields Open (July 9-15).
But he was back in action at the Pink Ribbon pro-am last week, and it threw up a match with his bitter rival Mark Allen.
Allen has repeatedly courted controversy over the past year and this week was fined £10,000 by the game’s governing body for saying cheating appeared to be a trait of Chinese players.
He has also previously made a number of disparaging remarks about Bingham, and he said that made his 4-0 semi-final drubbing of the Irishman even more enjoyable.
Bingham said: “I scored a couple of centuries against him and he only scored five points the whole match. And four of them were from a foul. So after what he’s said about me it did feel nice.”
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