Sunday, 1 May 2011

Can Judd Trump Higgins?

Snooker, like golf, is one of those sports where careers can seemingly last forever. The actual physical strain on your body is limited. Which makes it all the more exciting when a new kid on the block emerges. To continue the golf comparison, when Tiger Woods won his first major tournament, he was only 21. Fourteen years later, he still has a long career ahead of him. Rory Mcllroy is in a similar world-at-his-feet position as Tiger Woods, albeit without a major at this point. His time will come.

But with that early digression aside, today is all about Judd Trump. Only two weeks older than myself, for him to be battling it out with the legend that is John Higgins on such a stage is already an impressive feat. Currently ranked number 9, he has by no means fluked his way to such an occasion. Let's take a look at his path to the World Snooker Championship final.

Even in round 1, Trump proved his mettle, taking down the defending champion Neil Robertson 10-8. That no doubt sent a warning shot to the rest of the field, and his form has carried on since. Graeme Dott was another notable victim in the quarter-finals, as the 2006 champion was thrashed 13-5. It looked like Ding Junhui was a step too far for Trump at many stages during their epic semi-final, yet he prevailed 17-15.

Now, as the second youngest ever World Championship finalist (the youngest being Steven Hendry in 1990) he faces the Scotch might of John Higgins. A three-time winner, and currently in ominous form, he represents the stiffest test yet for the Bristol sensation. Then again, Judd Trump's run of form cannot be seen as a complete surprise. At the start of April he won his first title, beating Mark Selby 10-8 in the China Open final. In many ways this was a statement of intent, and he has carried on this fiery run of form to the final frontier.

Often sporting a cheeky grin, and what can only be described as an 'interesting' haircut, Trump represents the new generation of snooker up against the old. I grew up watching Higgins, O'Sullivan, Hendry, Dott, and so forth; is Trump about to add his name to the glittering list of World Champions? Should he do so, at such a young age, he has the potential to be fighting for titles over the next 15 years.

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