World Snooker Championship: Murphy leads Bingham at Crucible

Century helps Stuart Bingham back into final
World Snooker Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 18 April-4 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, Connected TV, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app.
Shamoon Hafez, BBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre

Shaun Murphy held a narrow 9-8 lead over Stuart Bingham after a thrilling first day of the World Championship final at the Crucible.

Bingham, 38, is playing in his maiden final at the Sheffield venue, and fought back from 3-0 and 8-4 down.

Murphy, the 2005 champion, showed his class with breaks of 121 and 106, but Bingham compiled 123 to move just one frame behind overnight.

The best-of-35 frame final will resume at 14:00 BST on Monday.

Snooker's showpiece event has so far lived up to its billing, with an all-English spectacle producing four centuries plus 13 further half-centuries.

Nottingham-based Murphy, appearing in his third final, was favourite but has been made to work hard by a battling performance from Basildon's Bingham.

Steve Davis, six-time world champion
"When you see those two sessions and the way Stuart's recovered, you wonder sometimes if fate does play a part - whether it's written. It seems like he's enjoying himself so much.
"Shaun Murphy's not down in the dumps at the end of that session, he knows he's played well, but shaking a player off is tough sometimes at this level. "

He stated after his surprise semi-final victory over Judd Trump that he was "excited" and it showed, as he could not stop smiling throughout the opening exchanges.

But there was little to be happy about as 32-year-old Murphy claimed the first three frames.

Bingham settled down in the fourth with a century knock, before winning three of the next four frames to end the first session 4-4.

Murphy, nicknamed 'The Magician', came out in the second session in stunning fashion, winning four in a row, including back-to-back tons. It equalled the most century breaks (83) made at a single World Championship.

Bingham showed great character, hitting back in the next three to go 8-7 behind with runs of 76 and 89, as well as breaking the tournament centuries record.

But Murphy snatched the 16th frame to guarantee himself an advantage heading into the final day, before Bingham took the last to stay in touch.

Shaun Murphy
Murphy won four frames in a row at the start of the second session

Parrott's verdict

"That's the best session I've ever seen Stuart play," said 1991 world champion John Parrott. "It has been a fabulous match we have seen this evening.

"Judd Trump could not get rid of Stuart in the semi-final and he again shows that he just does not want to get beaten. It's a fantastic show of character from him tonight and he can be proud of what he has done.

"Both players are capable of winning three or four frames on the trot tomorrow. This match is wide open."