China won the Snooker World Cup for the third time in a row by beating England 4-3 in the final in Wuxi.
Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo of China A came from 3-1 down to win the last three frames against English duo Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins in an exciting conclusion to the tournament, which started out with 24 teams.
Ding and Liang took the World Cup for their nation in 2011, then in 2015 the trophy went to the B team of Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao. Now it’s a hat-trick of titles as home favourites Ding and Liang claimed the $200,000 first prize to the delight of their fans.
It’s Ding’s first silverware since the 2016 Shanghai Masters and Liang’s first since the 2016 English Open.
Trump cleared from yellow to pink to win the opening frame for England, then Ding beat Hawkins with a break of 68 to level. England won the doubles frame then Hawkins beat Liang for 3-1.
Ding made a 69 to close to 3-2 then a tense 40-minute doubles frame came down to the colours, with England missing chances for victory as China made it 3-3.
Ding and Trump stepped forward to play the deciding frame and it was 12-time ranking event winner Ding who dominated, making breaks of 59 and 29 to seal victory.
Double kiss? Liang shows his affection for his team mate Ding
Ding said: “I have a pretty decent head-to-head record against Judd. In a deciding frame I don’t think I’ll lose to anyone. I was playing with great confidence, apart from the red I missed in the last frame. But we won in the end.
“I’m so glad to have won this in front of my home crowd, especially as it’s the World Cup title. Both of today’s matches were tough. Liang played well even when we where 2-0 down this afternoon (against Thailand). We hope this tough win can leave everyone a great memory.
“Anywhere in China the fans give me massive courage. I used to worry about performing here but I’m enjoying my people’s passion now, and they give me the motivation to play every shot well.”
Liang said: “Tonight I didn’t play well so I think I put a lot of pressure on Ding. But what he did was reassuring. It’s a comfortable partnership between us and there was good chemistry.”
Hawkins said: “It was tough, we both had chances, especially me at 3-2. My timing disappeared and under pressure it’s hard to get it back. But we’ve had a great week and enjoyed it.”
Trump added: “The whole World Cup has been very enjoyable for everyone with a lot of close games. We could have gone out in the semi-finals. I’m happy to have been involved and hopefully I’ll be back next time.”
Earlier in the semi-finals, China A saw off Thailand 4-2, while England edged out China B 4-3, with Hawkins beating Zhou Yuelong in the decider.
Victory for Ding and Liang could also earn them a place in the Champion of Champions in November – for the criteria click here