Bingham’s here - right on cue!

Del Hill, his son Tom and Stuart Bingham.

Del Hill, his son Tom and Stuart Bingham.

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The esteem in which top snooker coach Del Hill is held among the game’s elite players was never more evident than when world champion Stuart Bingham made a surprise visit to see his old coach and mentor.

Bingham made the lengthy detour to Del’s Snooker Farm at Friskney on his journey from Essex to Sheffield just a couple of days before playing Saturday’s opening match of the world championship.

However, he became the latest victim of the Crucible Curse.

Like many champions before him, he went out in the first round - to a former finalist Ally Carter.

Del and his son Tom - who has played many frames with Bingham during his training visits to the farm - are pictured here with the world champion and his trophy.