Snooker: Whirlwind backing Trump to emerge as people's champion

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The Independent Online

Judd Trump has been a revelation at this year's World Championship. The 21-year-old has attracted an army of supporters ever since he caused a big upset by knocking out Neil Robertson, the defending champion, in the first round of snooker's biggest tournament.

Trump's fearless play has deservedly won him many admirers, with former world champions Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and John Parrott having all sung his praises. But arguably the most flattering recommendation has come from Jimmy White, one of snooker's greatest crowd-pleasers.

White is a huge fan of Trump and delighted with the Bristolian's remarkable fairytale run to this year's final. White competed in six world finals and famously never won any of them. However, the 48-year-old is hoping the game's rising star can go one step better than he ever did and triumph on snooker's greatest stage by beating triple world champion John Higgins in the best-of-35-frame showcase.

"It is a bit unnerving watching Judd play sometimes because he does remind me so much of myself when I first came into the professional game," said White. "It's not just that he's left-handed, I was a very attacking player at his age and went for shots other people didn't – and made a few along the way. But Judd's safety game is far better than mine when I was his age.

"The remarkable thing about Trump is the pattern that is emerging when you look at the players capturing the public's imagination with their flair and way of playing.

"Maybe there's a cycle or a pattern that keeps repeating itself; there has to be someone out there playing like that. The late, great Alex Higgins was the first people's champion, and he was 14 years older than me, who became the next one. Ronnie O'Sullivan inherited the mantle next – he is 14 years younger than me – and Trump is 14 years younger than Ronnie.

"Maybe that means out there somewhere is a seven-year-old who needs to get practising, as they could be the next one to bring crowds to their feet. It's a huge coincidence."

Trump fought back from behind to beat Ding Junhui 17-15 in Saturday's semi-finals, while Higgins – seeking redemption at snooker's spiritual home after a six-month ban for bringing the sport into disrepute – knocked out two-time winner Mark Williams with a 17-14 victory.

Trump and Higgins finished locked at 4-4 after the opening session yesterday afternoon. Trump led 2-0 thanks to breaks of 46 and 42, but Higgins won the next three frames to lead for the first time with breaks of 61, 51 and 64. A century of 102 helped Trump level and he should have gone 4-3 ahead, only to falter on a break of 64 as Higgins pinched the frame on the final black. But it was honours even after Trump won the final frame of the session thanks to a break of 47.

White remains upbeat over Trump's chances. He said. "He can win the World Championship – if he doesn't find the nightclubs like I did he'll definitely win it one year.

Meanwhile, former snooker commentator Ted Lowe died yesterday, aged 90, on the morning of the first session of this year's final. Lowe's unmistakable hushed tones earned him the popular nickname "Whispering Ted" and he was the BBC's lead commentator on many occasions.

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