Sport

Nature calls before Bingham is crowned as champ

SportBy Kevin Palmer
Bingham is world champion (with Jimmy White looking on behind wishing it was him!)
Bingham is world champion (with Jimmy White looking on behind wishing it was him!)

Stuart Bingham realised an ambition of a lifetime as he became world snooker champions with a thrilling win over Shaun Murphy - but he was nearly caught short before he potted the winning ball.

With the frame scores tied at 15-15, a marathon frame was edging towards a hour in length when an embarrassed Bingham turned to the referee and asked if he could go to the toilet (below).

His sheepish smile confirmed he had little option other than to dash for the loo and a few moments later, he returned to wrap up a stunning victory that saw him become an unlikely world snooker champion with an 18-15 win.

"At one stage at 15-15 I thought I was going to do Shaun's speech," said an elated Bingham. 

"It was a 64-minute frame to go 16-15 and that really calmed me down. Four words: Winner, winner chicken dinner. My mum, dad, my wife, my family. My whole team I have to thank.

"Coming in to it was a bit different. I got to two semis out of three events. It didn't start brilliantly but I went from strength to strength. And in the final I beat the second best man in the tournament! To beat Shaun in the final tops everything off.

"Twenty years as professional, blood sweat and tears on the road. Qualifying in places like Prestatyn and Malvern. So many family and friends have backed me. It is unbelievable."

Bingham, 38, becomes the oldest snooker world champion since Welshman Ray Reardon won the title aged 45 in 1978.