Every Shot Of Judd Trump's 8th Career Maximum 🔥 | 2022 BetVictor Scottish Open

Higgins Leads Cardiff Final


John Higgins holds a 5-3 lead over Ben Woollaston after the first session of the BetVictor Welsh Open final in Cardiff.

Higgins enjoyed leads of 3-1 and 4-2 but in the end was fortunate to be ahead at the end of the session, having fluked the final green in the eighth frame.

The Wizard of Wishaw started the match a strong favourite as he is vastly more experienced than his opponent. Higgins is aiming for the 26th ranking title of his glittering career and a record fourth Welsh Open crown, which would put him ahead of Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan who have each lifted the trophy three times. Scotland’s 39-year-old Higgins, ranked 14th in the world, is seeking his first ranking title since the 2012 Shanghai Masters.

Leicester’s 27-year-old Woollaston, by contrast, had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event. The world number 36 has only one professional title to his name – winning a non-televised Players Tour Championship event in 2011.

Four-time World Champion Higgins started strongly with a break of 84 to win the first frame. He led 51-7 in the next but Woollaston settled his nerves with an excellent 58 clearance. Higgins regained control with runs of 63 and 105 to lead 3-1 at the interval.

Woollaston pulled one back with a 54, then Higgins made it 4-2 with a 66. In frame seven, Woollaston missed a black off its spot on 36, but Higgins’ counter-attack ended on 15 when he jawed the pink to a centre pocket, allowing the Englishman to close the deficit.

And Woollaston looked set to make it 4-4 until he missed a tricky red on 59. Higgins might have cleared up but failed on a difficult final green with the rest. He was then trapped in a snooker, but enjoyed a huge slice of luck as he hit the green and it rolled the length of the table into a top corner. He took advantage by clearing to the black to give himself a handy advantage.

The match resumes at 7pm with first to nine frames to collect the £60,000 top prize.