Thursday, 24 March 2011

The boy is back

Matthew Stevens will play in this year's Premier League for the first time since 2002.

He sealed his place with an impressive 3-1 win over last week's PTC Grand Finals champion Shaun Murphy in tonight's final.

His performance in the final proved not only he's still got the Stevens swagger, but the guts to win the scrappy frames too.

This tops off what has been a fantastic four days for the Welshman coming through group seven to nick the final place in the the winner's group, and then storming his way past six of the world's best.

It's the third night running I've ended up writing about Stevens on this blog. It's fair to say the boy is back.

His revival hasn't happened over night. It's been coming for a long time. He's been slowly turning the wheel and cranking up his performances.

He may even tell you we've still not seen the best of him yet. But, we've definitely seen enough to know his days at the top of the game are far from over.

Stevens has been playing well for most of this season. But instead of just proving he's got the beating in the qualifiers, this week he's done it against the very best. Murphy, Mark Williams and Mark Allen are just three of the players who have felt the force of his resurgence in Essex.

Never for a moment has Stevens ever doubted his capabilities. He's too confident for that. No-one else has ever doubted ability either, but this week he proved he can more than just win a place back in the top 16. He proved he can still win titles.

Next, he's one of 32 players flying to Beijing for the China Open, which starts on Monday. But surely his recent form suggest he's also in the running to lift the world title in May as well.

Watch the space. Matthew is back.

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