Northern Ireland Open Snooker 2023 Final – Chris Wakelin vs Judd Trump Tips and Betting Preview

The final of the Northern Ireland Open takes place inside the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Sunday when the Alex Higgins Trophy is up for grabs as the former winner Judd Trump takes on the Shootout champion Chris Wakelin.

Both men have won titles in 2023 so they know they will be heading to the Champion of Champions next month so they can knuckle down and focus on getting the nine frames they need to walk out of Belfast with a significant trophy.

Chris Wakelin

Even though he won the Shootout earlier in the year, I think we can safely call Chris Wakelin a surprise finalist in this tournament. This will only be the second time he has competed in a ranking event final and the first one under what would be considered normal rules so it will be interesting to see how he performs over the course of the day. His semi-final victory and how comfortable he looked during that contest will bode well.

There is plenty of reason to think that Wakelin will go fine. He looked at ease in the final of the Shootout and hasn’t really underperformed when he has played at The Crucible so that all bodes well. Wakelin has improved the longer the week has gone on and arrives into this final off the back of his best showing of the event so far. That is never a bad thing and he is a clear outsider here so he might genuinely feel that he has nothing to lose.

Judd Trump

Judd Trump goes into this final looking to win a third successive ranking event a complete a dream month having previously won the English Open and the Wuhan Open in the last few weeks. There is no longer a bonus for winning all of the Home Nations events like there was when they came onto the scene but Trump would be halfway there if he can get the better of Wakelin in this final, and given the shocks we regularly see in these tournaments that is a decent achievement.

Although he has made the final here, I’m not convinced Trump has played that well. He found his best stuff when he needed it from behind in the third round, the quarter final and the semi-final but the errors he was making to get himself into trouble in the first place are those of a man who might just be beginning to run on fumes. He will be looking for a more complete performance here but as long as he wins the final and picks up this trophy for a fourth time I don’t think he will care.

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These two men have met on 11 previous occasions and I don’t think Chris Wakelin will want reminding that Judd Trump has won the whole lot. Trump leads 56-25 in frames which would suggest that he has won most of those matches quite comfortably too which would be a real concern for Wakelin fans. This will obviously be the first time they will have met in a final of any kind but they have met over two sessions before having faced each other in the 2018 World Championship when Trump won a first round clash in a deciding frame. Worse still for Wakelin, in their most recent meeting he led 4-0 at the European Masters earlier this season, only to lose 5-4.


Clearly Chris Wakelin will wish he was playing someone he doesn’t have a 0-11 record against but his recent meetings with Judd Trump have been closer than the earlier ones. The last four matches between the two have been 10-9, 6-3, 5-3 and 5-4 so there is reason to believe that even if he doesn’t get the better of his man that he can run him close in this final, especially as he is likely to be the fresher man going into it both in terms of having not gone deep in the last two tournaments and having much the smoother semi-final.

Trump has made the final of this tournament but he has only really played his best snooker when his back has been against the wall and I would imagine in the early stages of this final Wakelin will feel like he doesn’t have much to lose. He has made plenty of dough this week and there’s more to come at the Champion of Champions so he can just attack the balls and see where it gets him. I’m not convinced Wakelin gets over the line here, clearly beating Trump is a sizeable task for him, but I do think he’ll run him close enough to cover a 3.5 frame handicap before he goes down, if he does go down. Wakelin to win six frames feels about right to me.


Back C.Wakelin (+3.5 frames) to beat J.Trump for a 3/10 stake at 1.95 with William Hill

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