John Higgins believes snooker’s famed ‘Class of 92’ can reign supreme for at least another decade after joining Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams in the quarter-finals of the World Championship.
It is the first time in 11 years that the trio, who started their professional careers together, have finished in the last eight at the same time, and the 46-year-old Scot believes their continued success is no coincidence.
After a 13-7 win over Noppon Saengkham, Higgins said: “I find it incredible that it’s been 30 years and the three of us are better players than ever.
“Mark played amazingly and Ronnie is a tougher player to play against now that he’s fighting for every frame where before he might have thrown in the towel making him undeniably the best player he’s ever been.”
Asked if Williams, 47, O’Sullivan, 46, and himself could emulate Jimmy White, who will be starting 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 won’t retire and Ronnie, who knows?
After causing damage in Sunday night’s session when he won seven straight frames, Higgins won the first after the resumption to be a frame away from victory before Saengkham staged a mini-fightback.
The Thai player reduced the deficit to 12-6, then came tantalizingly close to a maximum break to reach 112 before hitting a hard final red in the top pocket jaws.
Stuart Bingham also missed a maximum as he blasted to sink Kyren Wilson 13-9 to join the celebrated trio in the last eight.
The 45-year-old sank 13 reds and 12 blacks in the 18th frame before snooking his way to black and grounding on 97.
Bingham, who nonetheless emerged from an 8-8 draw at the end of the second session to claim a comfortable win, admitted: “It’s on my bucket list what I have to do while I’m here.
“Hopefully I’ll have a few more chances in my next game. Before I quit, I want to get one here, so I’ll keep trying.”
Bingham, who plays either Judd Trump or Anthony McGill in the final eight, paid tribute to the “Class of 92” and explained why he thinks they are so unique.
“Steve Davis was just tactical percentages in the 1980s, then Stephen Hendry came along and blew everyone away,” Bingham said.
“The Class of 92 seems to be a bit of both – they can break and they can play it safe. The kids coming through now just want potballs.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/snooker/30-years-and-the-three-of-us-are-better-than-ever-higgins-hails-class-of-92-after-joining-osullivan-and-williams-in-quarters-41586440.html “30 years and the three of us are better than ever” – Higgins praises the “class of ’92s” after joining O’Sullivan and Williams in the quarterfinals