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John Higgins thinks top trio can chalk up successes in their 50s

John Higgins marked another milestone for the ‘Class of 92’ (Zac Goodwin/PA)
John Higgins marked another milestone for the ‘Class of 92’ (Zac Goodwin/PA)

John Higgins believes snooker’s famous ‘Class of 92’ can reign for at least another decade after joining Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams in the World Championship quarter-finals.

It marks the first time in 11 years that the trio, who began their professional careers together, have reached the last eight at the same time, and the 46-year-old Scot is convinced their sustained success is no coincidence.

After wrapping up a 13-7 win over Noppon Saengkham, Higgins said: “I think it’s incredible that it’s been 30 years and the three of us are better players than we’ve ever been.

“Mark has been playing incredibly and Ronnie is a tougher player to play against now that he’s scrapping for every frame, whereas before he’d maybe have thrown in the towel, which makes him undeniably the best player he’s ever been.”

Asked if Williams (47), O’Sullivan (46) and himself could go on to emulate Jimmy White, who is set to embark on his next season on the tour at the age of 60, Higgins added: “I don’t see any reason why not.

“Mark has already said he’s not going to retire, and Ronnie, who knows? Myself, yes, I probably could.”

Having done the damage in Sunday’s evening session when he won seven frames in a row, Higgins won the first upon the resumption to go one frame from victory before Saengkham staged a mini fightback.

The Thai player reduced the deficit to 12-6 then came agonisingly close to a maximum break, reaching 112 before hitting a tough last red into the jaws of the top pocket.

Stuart Bingham also missed out on a maximum as he stepped on the gas to sink Kyren Wilson 13-9 and join the celebrated trio in the last eight.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2022 – Day 10 – The Crucible
Stuart Bingham polished off an impressive win over Kyren Wilson (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The 45-year-old sunk 13 reds and 12 blacks in the 18th frame before snookering himself on the black and running aground on 97.

Bingham, who nevertheless emerged from an 8-8 tie at the end of the second session to claim a comfortable win, admitted: “”It’s on my bucket list to do while I’m here.

“I’ll hopefully have another couple of chances in my next match. Before I retire I want to get one here, so I’ll keep trying.”

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2022 – Day 10 – The Crucible
Kyren Wilson missed out on the quarter-finals for the first time since 2015 (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Bingham, who plays either Judd Trump or Anthony McGill in the last eight, paid tribute to the ‘Class of 92’ and explained why he believes them to be so unique.

“Steve Davis in the 1980s was all about the tactical percentages, then Stephen Hendry came along and blew everyone away,” said Bingham.

“The Class of 92 seems to be a bit of both – they can break-build and play safe. The kids who are coming through now, all they want to do is pot balls.”