That's all from us

Thank you for your company this week at the 2021 Champion of Champions. We'll be back with more live match snooker for you shortly, with the aforementioned UK Championship in York starting on Tuesday.
Take care out there until then, nighty night.
Champion of Champions
Who does O'Sullivan face at Champion of Champions? Trump set for title defence
25/10/2022 AT 07:00

The handover

Trump lifts up the trophy as the confetti falls around him. He's visibly delighted with this one, and rightly so. What a week he's had.

Player talk

Higgins holds his hands up and admits he was beaten by the better man; there is very little anyone in the game can do against Trump in that form. 'Any win against him is special,' says Trump of Higgins, who credits his development as a player to some of the beatings he's had from Higgins in years gone by. He gives it the 'what now?' to anyone who suggests he only wins small tournaments, as he prepares to get his mits on the coveted Champion of Champions trophy for the first time and trouser a cool 150 large in the process. The UK Championship starts in a couple of days, and he'll be a hot favourite for that after this performance.

Judd Trump is victorious

That was a stunning performance from Trump, coming back from 0-3 down to win 10 of 11 frames and take the trophy. It followed the pattern of the week, in which he's won 26 of the 31 frames he's contested. It's a high calibre tournament and Trump has absolutely demolished the field here. He turned up to Bolton in a confident mood, and he's backed it up with a stunning week of snooker here.

Trump 10-4 Higgins

Higgins escapes a brutal snooker from behind the green, but leaves a red on to bottom left. It's frame ball, a tap-in, and it's duly dispatched. A quick 14 from Trump settles the argument, and he's won the 2021 Champion of Champions!

Trump 9-4 Higgins (59-23)

There's the half-century, with a pink into left middle from the D with check side to hold the white off two cushions. The third to last red is dispatched to the green pocket with the rest, and he's nicely on the green itself. He comes off two cushions to try and disturb the final two reds, but only lands a glancing blow and he doesn't have a shot on frame ball. Patience is a huge part of his game now, and he plays safe back to baulk. Higgins is still in it, but quickly on the back foot in this safety exchange.

Trump 9-4 Higgins (24-23)

A safety behind the black from Higgins is tight to the bottom cushion but leaves a red on to the right middle. Trump tags it in, and he's on the brown; it's a lovely spread of reds to go at, and a real chance for frame, match and the title. Higgins's lead is soon toast, and only two reds near the left rail look like bailing him out here.

Trump 9-4 Higgins (0-23)

We're back, with Trump just one frame away from the title. I've seen Higgins recover from seemingly doomed positions before, but given the momentum of this match to do so here would be something off the scale. He's in first in frame 14, plugging a red to the green pocket, and every journey starts with a single step. A split on the reds hasn't developed as many as he would like, but he's on the blue he needs to keep going. Just as I type that, he misses it high on the knuckle although he's not left anything for Trump to go at.

Trump 9-4 Higgins

He's loving this, Trump. An superb 68 completes an emphatic mini-session, in which he's won all four frames. In a broader context, that's nine of the last ten; he is battering Higgins here, who can do nothing in the face of this.
There's a 15 minute respite now though, as the players troop off for the interval.

Trump 8-4 Higgins (69-0)

What a shot from Trump! He goes all billiards in Bolton by clipping a red in off the pink to gain control of the table. I'm sure he meant that, and he certainly didn't apologise. A brutal snooker behind the black follows, from which Higgins hits and largely hopes; he doesn't connect with anything though, and he's left Trump an easy red as a starter. A quick 20 has secured the frame, and he is utterly bossing this.

Trump 8-4 Higgins (44-0)

A rare mistake from Trump sees him overshoot position on a red to bottom right, forcing a thin cut to left middle instead which he can't snick in. Can Higgins possibly stop this relentless tide against him here? Not yet, because he's missed a red long to the green pocket, but he's not left anything.

Trump 8-4 Higgins (28-0)

This could be real trouble for Higgins again. Another excellent safety from Trump forces Higgins into a thin cut on a red to bottom right. He catches it far too thick, catches a red on the way back up the table and he's left Trump right in the balls. What a chance, and Trump is zoning right in on it. He looks so tuned in out there, and is up to 28 and counting in the blink of an eye.

Trump 8-4 Higgins

This is brilliant from Trump, and a showcase of why he's been winning everything in sight for the last few years. He dishes up the final two reds with colours, followed by the baulk colours to leave Higgins needing a snooker. To put it beyond doubt, and for the most extreme flex possible, Trump empties the table for a 51 and a four frame lead.
In that frame Trump outwitted one of the greatest snooker minds we've ever known from 47 in arrears. He's always been a great potter and break builder, but there was the side of his game that he's added recently to become so formidable. Trump is patient, sees the future of the table early and has the featherlite touch required for precise, telling safety play. It's been such a transformation, and he really is the complete player now.

Trump 7-4 Higgins (40-47)

Trump nibbles 25 back, but can't shift any of the four difficult reds and has to play safe. Three of them come into the open from the safety exchange that follows, one of which Trump drills in from distance before laying a snooker behind the green. It's a good one, which yields eight points and a free ball. Trump plugs the yellow, before stunning the brown into the bottom right and bringing two of the final three reds into better positions. He picks one off to go back up for the brown, and we've got a new favourite in this frame.

Trump 7-4 Higgins (0-47)

The break goes awry for Higgins as he only just forces a red into the bottom left, and the miscalculation leaves a pink that means running into reds. The pot goes but position doesn't follow, and Higgins then misses an attempt at a double into the right middle with safety min mind. A safety exchange follows, from which Higgins leaves a red on to the right middle. Trump's in, but four of the remaining reds are awkward near the right rail so it'd be a surprise if he did anything more than take a chunk from Higgins's lead at this visit.

Trump 7-4 Higgins (0-34)

Trump plays an aggressive safety at the start of the twelfth frame, opening the reds up, but he's poked one out over the bottom left and Higgins quickly drains it to land on the black. A telling visit here feels like a necessity if this final is to be a contest. He's making a good fist of it so far, with 34 and counting here and plenty still to go at.

Trump 7-4 Higgins

Higgins takes three reds and blacks, but can't get the final red safe and leaves it on to the right middle. A quick eight points from Trump does the necessary; he's won seven out eight now, and is threatening to run away with this.

Trump 6-4 Higgins (63-0)

After slightly losing position Trump recovers by cutting a red thin into the bottom right and going in and out of baulk to land on the blue. Another cut into the same pocket a few shots later splits the remaining reds, from where Trump drops the pink into the left middle. That was frame ball, although he misses the red that follows and Higgins only needs one snooker to tie.

Trump 6-4 Higgins (44-0)

The break hits 44, but in potting a thin red and trying to go in and out of baulk Trump catches the jaws of the yellow pocket and he's not conveniently on a colour. He puts the brown safe instead, and has a useful lead to play with here. Higgins is back in trouble soon enough, as he escapes from a good snooker behind the brown but leaves a red on to the bottom right.

Trump 6-4 Higgins (35-0)

At the start of frame 11 Trump clips in a plant and then lays a snooker behind the green. He gets in for real a few shots later as a Higgins safety catches the blue and leaves a mid-range red to the bottom left. That goes, followed by an awkward black along the rail and into the bottom left, and he's fashioned a chance for himself. It's hard work early on, as he needs to run through the pack when potting a red to get on the pink, but he's lassoed position now and is up to 35 in this break.

Trump 6-4 Higgins

Higgins makes nine before missing a difficult black, and folds his hand.

Trump 5-4 Higgins (74-0)

It's taken just seven minutes, but frame ball red has gone with the blue as a chaser, but Trump then misses his next red to mix his break on 74. Higgins comes back to the table, which has 67 left on it.

Trump 5-4 Higgins (52-0)

Trump's started like a lightning bolt tonight. He opens the pack, and the entire frame is at his mercy here. He's in a smooth rhythm, picking balls off quickly but efficiently, and is up to a half-century in a heartbeat. This is an ominous beginning.

Trump 5-4 Higgins (24-0)

Higgins breaks, from which Trump hoses in a long red to the bottom right to land on the black. What a start! He's into the pack quickly too, and he's given himself some options here already. It's three reds and blacks to start, before he goes up the table to pick a red off near the blue.

Let's get it popping

Tahir Hajat introduces the players to the arena, to a crowd in a lively old mood judging by the reaction. First to 10 for the title then, let's see how it unfolds.

A recap

It was a streaky game earlier today. Higgins won three before waning and watching Trump win five; it looked as though he'd gone but he found a huge clearance in the ninth frame to leave himself just one frame behind this evening. At points today Higgins looked shattered, but if he's rested and recharged himself for this evening then we could really be in for a close one tonight.

Welcome to an evening with Judd and John

I don't know if there's a smattering of celebs in the crowd in Bolton tonight, but all the Sunday night glamour and entertainment you need is on the way in 15 minutes.

---

That's us for the afternoon

Thanks for your company, join is again from 6.45 pm for the conclusion of the 2021 Champion of Champions.

Trump has narrow lead ahead of evening session

What a fascinating session of snooker that was. Higgins fair tore out of the blocks, rattling off three frames in a row, before the draining effects of last night's Homeric semi-final with Yan Bingtao seemed to settle upon him. Trump then responded with five straight frames on the spin, but an admirable show of resolve from Higgins just now in the ninth means there's one frame between them ahead of the evening session. What a barnburner that could be!

Trump 5-4 Higgins

Frame ball red is a tricky one, a cut back into the bottom right down the rail, but Higgins drops it in and follows with the black to make sure. It's a break of 70 and no more, after which Trump concedes and that's us done for the afternoon.

Trump 5-3 Higgins (0-41)

Every ounce of concentration is going into this from Higgins, as he moves to 36 with a red to right middle. The blue follows, from which he canons into the pink and opens up more reds, and he's just about on one to the bottom right. Under this pressure, this is a superb effort.

Trump 5-3 Higgins (0-9)

It's the final frame of the day, and Higgins badly needs to find something from somewhere to stop this run of frames against him. Both players miss a long red at the start of the ninth frame, before Higgins gets away with a double into the left middle! Can that fire him up here? He booms into the pack off one cushion after potting the brown, and he's on a red to the bottom right. That's a positive shot to reverse the tide here, and he's got a chance.

Trump 5-3 Higgins

This is excellent stuff from Trump, punishing a struggling opponent. He opens the final four reds and then makes sure of frame ball black after landing awkwardly on it. That 44 should be enough, with only 59 left on. Higgins tries to plug a red to left middle, misses, and leaves it. He immediately concedes, and it's five on the bike for Trump.

Trump 4-3 Higgins (58-0)

With the white near the jaws of the bottom right, Trump picks out a plant to the left middle and he's in again. The points accumulate rapidly; 36 and counting, and he's a few pots away from a two frame lead.

Trump 4-3 Higgins (22-0)

We've got two frames to go in this session, which you sense Higgins would be happy to split before recharging himself for the denouement tonight. It's not looking good for him though; he just about gets away with a misjudged safety shot, before trying a long red up the rail and into the yellow pocket but leaving it there as a gimme. Trump knows he's got Higgins under it here, and is going for it. As he takes his break into the twenties though he misses a deadweight blue into the left middle, and is extremely fortunate that said blue blocks the path to an open red.

Trump 4-3 Higgins

Trump splits the remaining cluster near the pink when potting the blue, and he's on his next red. He sails serenely to the winning line thereafter, adding 37 to take the lead for the first time today.

Trump 3-3 Higgins (37-6)

Do we spy a plot twist? Trump gets the pack open, but he misses a cut back on a red to the bottom right and his break crashes to a halt on 37. Higgins is left with a difficult mid-range red to the bottom left, but cues it superbly to land on the blue. It's a huge chance, but it evaporates immediately; he overcuts blue to left middle, missing it high on the knuckle, and he's left Trump the simplest of starters. Higgins is in bother and this one, and this session generally the way the momentum has shifted.

Trump 3-3 Higgins (23-5)

Higgins picks up four as Trump misses a thin contact safety on a red on the bottom cushion. At the second attempt Trump catches it too thick, and he's served up an easy starter to the right middle as a result. He doesn't look quite on it at the minute though, as he misses a simple pink off it's spot thereafter. Worrying signs for the Wizard, and Trump steps in to capitalise. It takes some intricate work around the black spot to clear problem reds out of the way, but Trump's done it now and has a great chance to take his fourth frame on the spin.

Trump 3-3 Higgins

Higgins gets a red down, but can't convert the black to follow. That's made the hill to big to traverse, and he concedes; we're all square.

Trump 2-3 Higgins (61-0)

It's another half-century for Trump, who has the pack partially open and enough in the open to sort this in one visit. He's only a few balls away now. The cue ball is having to do some amount of work as Trump keeps finishing beneath the blue rather than above it, but one such blue is frame ball and although Trump doesn't land on his next intended red, he's 61 up with 59 left out there.

Trump 2-3 Higgins (24-0)

In his chair a few moments ago Higgins was rubbing his eyes, and looking a wee bit tired. It'd be understandable after last night, and his aim is off badly again here as he misses an off-straight red to the bottom right from mid-range to leave Trump in at the start of frame six. You get the sense that Trump is warming up here, and he quickly settles into a break of 24 and counting.

Trump 2-3 Higgins

Higgins does pick up four from one snooker, but Trump gets the final red down and clears up to the pink to take the frame.

Trump 1-3 Higgins (72-28)

Frame ball soon goes as Trump clears a half-century, and he's brought out the final two reds from the bottom cushion too. He misses one with a wild cut to the bottom left though, and even though he needs three snookers Higgins will play on given the position of the balls. It's a tough ask, but Higgins takes a red and black before laying a snooker on the final red.

Trump 1-3 Higgins (49-20)

A black takes Trump to 39, off which he splits three reds below the pink and they're all now on for him. That's a lovely, delicate shot and if he can mop those up he'll be just one frame in arrears.

Trump 1-3 Higgins (10-20)

We're back, and Higgins misses a long red by a huge margin, eventually sticking it up over the yellow pocket. Trump makes 10 from the chance after failing to split the pack. Higgins then gets in with a long red to the bottom right, and he's on the blue, but on 20 he has to bridge awkwardly over the pack on his next red and he's missed it to the bottom left.

Interval thoughts

Tangential, but I've always been curious about Trump's sponsor Romario Ceramics. I really do hope it's in homage.

Trump 1-3 Higgins

It's over now, as Trump thunders in a long red and adds another 12 in total to get on the board in Bolton.
We've reached the interval in a fascinating final, see you again in 15.

Trump 0-3 Higgins (64-0)

Trump clears the winning line but misses the red that would make it totally certain. With 59 left on Higgins will have a go at it, but it looks impossible with the reds tied up and the black out of commission.

Trump 0-3 Higgins (51-0)

Another blooming split on the reds, this time off two cushions, has opened this right up for Trump. With the black out of commission it's a barrage of reds, blues and pinks, and in no time he's drummed up a half-century. After a slow start, he's arrived in this final.

Trump 0-3 Higgins (0-12)

Higgins breaks-off in the fourth, from which Trump plugs a long red as a shot to nothing. After a safety exchange he bags another, and this time he's on a brown to the right middle. In it goes, and he's off.

Trump 0-3 Higgins

Light work, or at least Higgins makes it look so; he empties the table, and his storming start continues.

Trump 0-2 Higgins (43-48)

This is a poor safety from Trump, who plays white back to baulk but leaves the red hanging over the bottom right. Higgins calmly drops it in, followed by the pink, and goes up for the colours. He'll need up to and including the blue for the frame.

Trump 0-2 Higgins (43-41)

Higgins hits the front in the frame, but two of the final three reds are tough and he needs all of them for the frame. His break clangs to a halt on 37 though, as he misses a red down the rail with the rest and leaves it in the jaws of the bottom right. Trump has a chance now; there's some suggestion by Fouldsy in co-comms that on the previous blue he missed some movement in the crowd distracted his eye-line and threw the shot off course. He's locked in here though, picking off two of the reds, but he can't bring the final one off the left rail and it's end of break.

Trump 0-2 Higgins (28-4)

Trump splits the pack and sends reds everywhere; imagine the Big Bang (as you'd have to) taking place on a 12 foot by six foot stretch of green baize. It looks like the frame is as good as over, until Trump goes in-off after potting a red to right middle! What a mistake, but Higgins can't capitalise as he fails to convert a red to the bottom right from the D. Trump's back in, but he can only make seven before missing a long blue after running out of position. It's early of course, but this feels like a big visit for Higgins already.

Trump 0-2 Higgins (0-9)

That's how to get started! Trump drains a sensational long red, ten feet down the left rail and into the bottom left. That's a stunning shot, and he tucks Higgins in behind the yellow thereafter. Higgins escapes off one cushion, but he's left Trump a red on to the right middle. That goes, and he's on the black; it's his first scoring chance of the day.

Trump 0-2 Higgins

A total of 49 puts Higgins two ahead, with Trump yet to pot a ball.

Trump 0-1 Higgins (0-81)

Frame ball red goes, and with 75 left on he's home and hosed. This has been a very solid start from the Wizard.

Trump 0-1 Higgins (0-67)

There's a load on here and Higgins is taking them, with the break at 30 and counting so far. Because of all those fouls by Trump, there's still 83 left out there so work to do yet to seal this one.

Trump 0-1 Higgins (0-38)

It's safety from below the black to start frame two. Higgins eventually gets a red down but can't back it up with a colour; it's a jerky start to this one. There are reds everywhere so whoever gets in and onto a colour next is really in business. Higgins gets it from distance but drifts the cue ball over the baulk line, and opts for a snooker instead that yields a mighty 35 points as Trump repeatedly can't connect with a four cushion escape and hit a red near the bottom cushion. From his final effort it leaves Higgins on a red to the left middle, and it's in.

Trump 0-1 Higgins

There's a round ton on, but on 73 Higgins misses the yellow. No matter; he's one to the good.

Trump 0-0 Higgins (0-79)

Trump's run of 16 frames on the spin is over. Higgins has a half-ton and the frame in the bank, and is cueing smoothly so far.

Trump 0-0 Higgins (0-56)

It's another chance for Higgins, as Trump misses a long red to the bottom right. He looks to have settled very quickly here, so presumably he managed to get some decent sleep after that Homeric semi-final last night. Higgins takes this break to 29 with the black, and with six reds to go he's zoning in on the first frame.

Trump 0-0 Higgins (0-27)

Higgins flies out of the blocks, draining a long red before plugging a yellow into the right middle to come back down the table. The break stalls on 27 though as the white sticks to the pack and doesn't leave a pot on, bringing Trump to the table.

Here we go!

Tahir Hajat brings the players into the arena, and we're off. We'll have nine frames in this afternoon session.

Head-to-head

The wind is going in one direction with this. Trump has won the last seven in a row between these two, a sequence that kicked off with his stunning victory in the final of the 2019 World Championship. In finals overall however, Higgins has the edge 3-2.

Judd

He’s on some run in Bolton; specifically, one of winning 16 frames in a row. He dropped the opening frame against David Lilley in his group section but from there has been flawless, winning that 4-1 and then handing Ryan Day and Kyren Wilson a pair of doughnuts, triumphing 6-0 and 6-0 to reach the final today. Trump is agitated about losing his world number one spot and has been putting it on the toes of Ronnie O’Sullivan earlier in the week. He’s in a feisty mood, and fantastic form.

Higgins

The Wizard of Wishaw has already played today. Less than 13 hours ago he was compiling a break of 89 to see of Yan Bingtao in the deciding frame of their semi-final, a post-midnight feast that finally ended a grim struggle between the two. That was a hard slog, but prior to that Higgins sorted out O’Sullivan 6-1 to win his group. Having already reached a couple of ranking event finals this season, the slimmed-down baize legend is in top form too.

Good afternoon!

Welcome to live coverage of the 2021 Champion of Champions final from Bolton. It’s a belter for you today, as Judd Trump and John Higgins will be at the baize shortly for a best of 19 to decide the title.
The Champion of Champions is one of the few trophies that has eluded Trump in his staggering run of tournament victories in recent years, so he’ll be jonesing for this one today. Higgins has won it before, in 2016, but has a monkey to get off his own back today. After failing to get over the line in the finals of the Northern Ireland and English Opens, he has questioned his own ability to win major tournaments anymore.
Well, here’s a chance to prove yourself wrong, John. The Champion of Champions is a big deal; the invitational nature of it means no ranking points are available, but it’s a real player’s tournament and one they’re all desperate to win. The £150k in bunce for the winner goes a long way to that, but there’s also the cachet of coming out on top against all your trophy winning peers from the last 12 months.
Settle in then, we get going in 15 minutes.

---

SEMI-FINAL RECAP

John Higgins held on to beat Yan Bingtao 6-5 in their Champion of Champions semi-final at the University of Bolton Stadium in Bolton.
Yan took control of the match early on, opening up a two-frame advantage, but a three-frame blitz saw Higgins claim the initiative, and the Scot would hold his nerve in a final-frame shootout to seal a spot in the final where he will face Judd Trump, who swept aside Kyren Wilson in the first semi-final on Friday.
That win represented Trump's second straight whitewash. Since losing the first frame to David Lilley in a 4-1 win on Monday, Trump has won 16 straight frames including a 6-0 drubbing of Ryan Day in the Group 1 final when he knocked in runs of 104, 67, 68, 52 and 61.
However, he shot a warning ahead of Sunday's final saying he has plenty left in the tank.
"I've not really stepped out of second or third gear. I've been consistent, I've played okay, but haven't played anything special," said Trump, who is chasing his first title at the event.
"I've just been how I've been all season. In a couple of events, I've made little mistakes to get knocked out, but I've been nowhere near my brilliant best.
"I've just managed to get that match play under my belt over the last two or three years, to battle through when you are not playing to your absolute best
"At the moment, my B and C game is good enough to compete with the top players."

SCHEDULE

Final
November 21
13:00 - Judd Trump v John Higgins
Champion of Champions
O'Sullivan retains world No. 1 spot as Allen claims final place at Champion of Champions
24/10/2022 AT 10:10
Champion of Champions
‘He just blitzed me’ - Higgins applauds Trump after Champion of Champions defeat
22/11/2021 AT 13:28