Stuart Bingham 18 - 15 Shaun Murphy

A new name was added to the illustrious list of Snooker world champions last night, as the likeable Stuart Bingham joined the likes of Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ray Reardon and the other green baize maestros. His titanic 18-15 victory over Shaun Murphy in the final was the affirmation that nice guys can indeed come through. The popular Essex player's success was testament to the rewards that hard graft and diligence can bring.

The match was close throughout

Despite seeming totally at home under the bright lights of the final, there were nerves before the end for Bingham.

After a tremendous effort to amass a break of 102 in frame 27, establishing a three frame advantage at 15-12, his momentum seemed unstoppable. Yet the finishing line is never quite as near as you think and Murphy capitalised on mistakes to draw level once again at 15 frames apiece.

Vital 31st frame

'Cue' the crucial 31st frame that probably shaped the final result. A scrappy and lengthy frame developed as both players sensed its importance. Murphy gave away penalty after penalty in an attempt to avoid leaving his opponent an easy opportunity for a pot. Bingham dug in and eventually took it to edge one frame ahead again. It seemed to relax the well-travelled Englishman and he took the next two frames to clinch the title.

A pleasing break of 88 finishing the match off in true champion's style.

No easy passage

After a tournament where he had beaten back the challenges of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Judd Trump and then Murphy in the final, it was no easy passage to the summit. With previous victories in Australia and Shanghai figuring highly on his CV, he was not expected to feature in the later stages in Sheffield.

Yet he seemed to grown in stature and belief as the successes continued.

Barry Hearn's new vision for snooker

It has been a long journey for Bingham, living out of a suitcase in the far flung snooker venues of the world. Asia has featured prominently during his recent career. He is a shining example of Barry Hearn's new meritocracy in snooker.

Put in the effort, no cutting of corners, everyone is equal. Others have also benefited from the 'open door' policy in effect, such as Anthony McGill. It may not suit some of the well-established players who have struggled to maintain their ranking position. Yet, it has brought some fresh life to the game and with it some new stars.

Too old to win again?

In a world where it had seemed that the younger players were about to rise to the very top, 38-year-old Bingham is a stark reminder that sometimes an older head can pay dividends. He will hope that he has several more years of Crucible success to come. Perhaps he needs to look to the example of the six-time champion Reardon, who won the title when he was the grand (old) age of 45 in 1978. In the meantime, he can bask in the knowledge that he has achieved his sporting dreams. There can be little more satisfying feeling than that.