Blogs & Opinion


Neal Foulds:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Trump card

Crucible runner-up can fire in Weston-super-Mare, says Neal

Neal Foulds Posted 5th October 2011 view comments

I'm really looking forward to seeing how Judd Trump performs on Thursday.

The Bristolian has had to wait patiently over the first four rounds of this year's Premier League, but kicks-off his campaign down in his neck of the woods in Weston-super-Mare.

Judd wasn't an unknown before he got to the 2011 World Championship final; snooker followers have been aware of his talent since he was a 12-year old, but that run in Sheffield catapulted him into the minds of the wider public.

Trump: local favourite

Trump: local favourite

He knocked out the reigning champion Neil Robertson on the opening day, got all the way to the last two and very nearly beat John Higgins in the final.

But that elicits pressure, because now people are expecting him to win consistently. Judd has done brilliantly but this is the next step - performing on a regular basis.

The first thing he did after his Crucible run was to spend his hard-earned winnings on a shiny new car. That set the alarm bells ringing and I wondered how hungry he was for further success.

Trump's not the sort of character that will put undue pressure on himself, but he could find it daunting playing in front of his pals and people that will be desperate for him to win.

Neal Foulds
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Premier League Snooker

Judd Trump v Mark Williams
Matthew Stevens v John Higgins
7.30pm, Thu, Sky Sports HD2
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

But Judd has begun this season solidly. He won a PTC event in Gloucester in August, beating Ding Junhui in the final, and played some great snooker in Poland last week.

Daunting

Trump's not the sort of character that will put undue pressure on himself, but he could find it daunting playing in front of his pals and people that will be desperate for him to win.

John Higgins struggled at Motherwell a few weeks back in front of his home fans and you ask Jimmy White, over the years all that fervent support he gets has sometimes been counterproductive. I hope Judd is not overawed.

He's got a very stiff introduction on Thursday when he will play Mark Williams, who has won his only two matches so far.

They both came back in week two, though, so you wonder whether the Welshman will have lost any of his momentum?

However, he could hardly have made a better start. The table is quite congested at the minute so if Mark can win two matches in Weston-super-Mare he could almost have one foot in the semi-finals.

His contest with Trump could be a cracker as both are very attacking and gifted players. It's a hard match to call.

I think the bookies will just favour Williams and his experience, but I'm hoping all Judd's success makes him feel ten feet tall. I think the youngster might just nick the match - and the final later in the night.

Ups and downs

In the evening's other semi-final, Matthew Stevens faces John Higgins. It's hard to gauge what sort of form they're in because both have had ups and downs over the first few weeks.

Stevens won the opening night of this year's Premier League, beating Higgins in the final, but suffered a 3-0 loss to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Doncaster Dome last time out.

The Scot, meanwhile, has suffered two whitewashes since his win over Jimmy White in Skegness. Neither player has been able to generate real impetus.

Compared to Trump and Williams, Higgins and Stevens are a bit more methodical. Stevens was a tearaway junior who used to rampage around the table and knock everything in, but as he's got older he's got a bit more streetwise.

He's also fallen back in love with the game. Like his countryman Williams, Stevens lost his snookering mojo. He had other things going on, such as poker, and spiralled down the rankings - but now he's realised this is what he wants to do with his life.

He is helped by the new structure that Barry Hearn has implemented; with tournaments every week, there is no time for his mind to drift away. It has really rejuvenated his form.

However, Higgins will be on a revenge mission after losing to Stevens the last time they met and I think his steely determination could see him edge his opponent 3-2.

But if Trump starts well, the night could be all about him.

back to top

Other Snooker Experts:

Latest Posts in Snooker:

Neal Foulds

Selby steel

New world champion Mark Selby's the master of match play, says Neal Foulds - but what's next for Ronnie?...

comments

Neal Foulds

Trump tip

Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite for the Worlds - but Judd Trump could spring a shock, says Neal Foulds....

comments

Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....

comments

Latest News RSS feeds

Trump secures Goldfields Open

Judd Trump saw off home favourite Neil Robertson in the Australian Goldfields Open final on Sunday.

Robertson faces Trump test

Neil Robertson and Judd Trump will meet in the final of the Australian Goldfields Open after winning their semi-finals.

Robertson sees off Milkins

Neil Robertson continued his perfect start to the season as he sailed into the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Robertson into last eight

Neil Robertson stormed into the quarter-finals of the Australian Goldfields Open with a whitewash of Jamie Jones.

Robertson safely through

Australian Neil Robertson won his opening match at the Australian Goldfields Open in Bendigo.

Features

Aus Open results

Aus Open results

Latest results from the Goldfields Australian Open in Bendigo, Victoria.

Wuxi Classic results

Wuxi Classic results

Latest results from the Wuxi Classic at Wuxi City Sports Park Stadium, China.

Good Week/Bad Week: Sky Sports takes a look at the winners and losers from the last seven days

Good Week/Bad Week: Sky Sports takes a look at the winners and losers from the last seven days

So much can change in a week of sporting action and, sure enough, there have been numerous highs and deflating lows over the past seven days.