Snooker Loopy comes good.

The Scots dominated the field at the Welsh Open snooker this week. The two players who reached the final were John Higgins and Stephen Maguire.
The two Glaswegians battled it out on the green baize in Newport on the same day as the big Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers took place in their home city.
Maguire had the upper hand after the first session. He led by five frames to three at the halfway point, but he couldn’t contain Higgins in the evening session as the three-time world champion stormed his way to a 9-6 victory to take the title.
In beating his fellow Scot, he retained the title he won last year by beating Ali Carter. It also makes a terrific run of form since his return to the game after serving a six-month suspension following match-fixing allegations in May 2010.
The win in Newport is his third tournament win since his return with victories coming in the Ruhr Championship and the UK Championship where he beat the Welsh favourite, Mark Williams.
I imagine Higgins did a lot of practise while away from competition. He’s come back with a bang rather than a bung and is showing everyone just how good a snooker player he is.
It’s a great shame that his reputation may always be tarnished by the stories that were published in the News of the World last year, with the Scot seemingly accepting money to arrange match results.
He admits it was a silly thing to do, pound signs must have taken over his psyche, and is now looking to completely turn it around by becoming a role model to youngsters coming into the game in how to deal with situations similar to which he was put into by the Sunday tabloid.
He can certainly be a role model to many on the table. One of, if not the best in the business at the moment, he’s putting together a run of form which he will hope will lead to his fourth world title when the snooker circuit goes to the Crucible Theatre for the World Championships.
If he carries on in his rich vein of form, Higgins will definitely be the one to beat. Let’s hope that any negative stories won’t tarnish the great event, as they did last year, this time around. Higgins is now doing what he should always have done, his talking on the snooker table.

Author Paul Harper.


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