Who is Stuart Bingham? The 2015 world champion who swept aside Ronnie O’Sullivan

Stuart Bingham is gunning for a second world title in Sheffield this week  (Getty Images)
Stuart Bingham is gunning for a second world title in Sheffield this week (Getty Images)

Stuart Bingham has a glorious opportunity to add to his World Snooker Championship tally in Sheffield this week, having first achieved his lifelong dream nine years ago at the Crucible.

Born in Basildon, Essex, Bingham first turned professional in 1999, having won both the English Amateur and World Amateur Championships three years previously in 1996.

But it was in 2000 that he first made headlines, knocking out all-conquering defending champion Stephen Hendry in the first round of the World Championship, with a 10-7 win.

It was described as one of the Crucible’s “biggest ever upsets”, and Bingham, who was ranked 92nd in the world at the time had battled through four qualifying rounds just to reach the iconic venue.

The Essex cueman admitted after the match that he was “really nervous” before the game but that the win was “an unbelievable feeling”. Despite his early breakthrough and moment in the spotlight, Bingham did not go on to immediately establish himself on the world stage.

It was not until 2005-06 that he managed to secure a level of consistency, reaching the Grand Prix quarter-finals, including beating reigning world champion Shaun Murphy in the process. By the end of the season, he claimed a spot inside the top 32 of the world rankings.

He claimed a first ranking event victory at the 2011 Australian Goldfields Open and added the 2014 Shanghai Masters to his trophy cabinet but the defining moment of Bingham’s career to date was his World Championship victory in 2015.

Bingham won the World Championship in 2015 (Getty Images)
Bingham won the World Championship in 2015 (Getty Images)

It was far from a straightforward run to the title as, after beating Robbie Williams in round one and 2006 world champion Graeme Dott in round two, he came up against one of the greatest players of all time in the quarter-finals, Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Bingham scored a 13-9 victory to reach the semi-finals at the Worlds for the first time in his career and, after beating Judd Trump to claim a place in the final, he downed Shaun Murphy 18-15 in the showpiece.

He memorably exclaimed “winner winner chicken dinner” during his post-final interview live on the BBC and later, semi-jokingly, credited the victory to a comment made by opponent Mark Allen back in 2011, who had stated that Bingham “had no bottle” – with the Englishman subsequently working on his mental strength to ensure he could prove Allen wrong.

The success in 2015 lifted Bingham to his highest-ever world ranking of No 2 but if that was his high point, the low was still to come. In October 2017, he was banned from snooker for six months due to betting breaches.

The father of two was found guilty of breaking regulations concerning betting on matches involving himself and other players. He was ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.

The WPBSA (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) said that his estimated betting total was £35,771, and included times he had put money on his own matches, although they stressed there was no suggestion of intent to “influence matches or engage in any corrupt activity”.

After returning from his ban, Bingham reached his first Masters final in 2020. Four years later, he brought an end to O’Sullivan’s quest for an eighth World Championship title in style, when he triumphed 13-10 in the quarter-finals at the Crucible.

Bingham won three consecutive frames to book his place in the semi-finals to play Jak Jones and send O’Sullivan out as he moved a step closer to that coveted second world title.