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Past Champions - Ken Doherty

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

In our final look back, we go to 1997, New Labour was in, and Katrina and the Waves won the Eurovision for the United Kingdom, the changing of the guard capped off that weekend on the baize.

KEN DOHERTY (1969-) Crucible Champion 1997
So then, Ken Doherty, the last of the former champions, the youngest of the former champions to be included in this line up, at 41 years old, younger than a few of the 32 runners and riders which will be jumping the 17 fences from 10am tomorrow. Doherty is the first Republic champion and the only one to date, in addition to being the first person to win all three single World Championships, Amateur, U-21 and the main one, the one that matters, Professional.

Ken’s career began in 1991, when he pushed Steve Davis 10-8 in the First Round on his debut, despite appearing in TV finals at the Rothmans in 1992, it would not be until Ken entered the top 16, and thus was at the Crucible without having to qualify. A quarter-final appearance in 1994 was followed by disappointing showings, ;losing 10-7 to Mark Davis in the first round in 1995, along with a 13-5 defeat against Darren Morgan in 1996. Coming to the Crucible as the number 7 seed for the 1997 tournament, few gave him hope of reaching the one table set up, given the firm belief amongst the games elder statesmen of retired players that he was a talented player who wasted his talent.

His first round match would be up against Mark Davis, the same man who’d beaten him in the first round of 95, arguably more aware of Davis’ abilities to turn him over if he didn’t show up his main game, Doherty started well, breaks of 71, 42, 49 and 94 helping him go 3-0 in front and when pegged back to 3-3, breaks of 46 and 35 would ensure that he held an overnight lead of 5-4. In Sunday’s final session a break of 84 restored Ken’s lead when Mark levelled at 5-5, going into the interval at 7-6, Davis again levelled to go 7-7 before Doherty made breaks of 92, 46 and 35 to go 9-7 in front. A 37 from Davis would make it 8-9 before Ken secured the match, with a break of 40 in the 18th frame.

In round two he would meet 10th seeded Steve Davis. Steve’s lowest ranking since the 1981 World title success when 13th. Obviously an outsider for the title but a 10-2 victory over David McLellan in round one had firmed up assurances that he was in good form, and that the Masters win in February had not been a fluke. Doherty, realising the need for good form set off immediately, breaks of 51, 104, 101 and 47 helped him take a 5-0 lead, and despite making tidy runs in the next two, only the 56 in the final frame of the session would secure a 6-2 lead when a fairer scoreline could have been 7=-1 or 8-0. Confidence high after this showing Ken punished Steve from the off again on Sunday night, Breaks of 71, 62, 65 and 96 helping him to 10-2 by the interval, and breaks of 66, 31, 54 and 68 would take him 12-2 up before Davis took the 15th frame. However a break of 41 in the final frame would send Ken through 13-3 with a session to spare, Doherty in the sixteen frames had made 16 breaks of 30+.

In the quarter-finals, Doherty would meet Davis’ successor as World number two, John Higgins had com[pleted routine wins 10-6 over Graham Horne and Dominic Dale 13-5 to reach the last eight for the second time. Higgins, seeded higher went 3-0 in front early on before Crafty safety from the Dubliner helped him in making runs of 58, 33, 41 and 65 to level at 3-3, with a 42 at the end of the session to level at 4-4 at the end of Tuesday’s play. A 91 in the opening frame of the Wednesday morning helped Ken go 5-4, along with runs of 68 and 35 helping him regain the lead on his way to a 9-6 advantage, John won the final frame of the morning to go 9-7 but having won nine of the last thirteen, the momentum was with the Irishman.

A break of 72 helped John pull another back before Ken forged ahead to 11-8, and though John would take the last before the interval, breaks of 67 and 116 would give the match to Ken 13-9. Setting up a Semi-Final with Alain Robidoux who had not played a top 32 player en route to the last four, beating Brian Morgan (49th) 10-8, Stefan Mazrocis (81st) 13-9 and Lee Walker (189th) 13-8 to reach the semi-finals from a quarter of shocks. This match would be over the best of 33 frames, the longest semi-final format for 18 years.
Beginning the match on the Thursday afternoon, Ken made a 66 to go 1-0 up, and breaks of 35 and 60 to level at 2-2. Breaks of 32 and 75 would help Doherty come from behind twice more in the session to come out of it, level at 4-4. On Friday morning, Doherty upped the standard, and given Robidouxs relatively simpler run to the last four he had no answer, breaks of 43, 54, 43, 30, 34, and 33 would take Doherty to 9-4, and though Alain, the first Canadian in the last four for nine years, won the next, Doherty would make breaks of 36 and 50 to finish the session 11-5 to go into the midpoint of the match needing six of the remaining 17 to go through.

Runs of 59, 38 and 32 would help Robidoux close the gap to 12-7, however from there, Doherty pulled away, breaks of 36, 76, 49, 74 and 73 took him to 17-7 and through with a session to spare for the second time in the championships. His final opponent would be Stephen Hendry, chasing the seventh title.
Considering Stephen’s usual pedigree in his world title successes, it makes one wonder whether or not Ken’s victory was such a surprise as previous;ly suspected, Stephen eliminated Andy Hicks 10-6, Mark Williams 13-8, Darren Morgan 13-10 and James Wattana 17-13 to reach the final again.

Hendry however would open the final with two centuries after losing the first to go 2-1 up, however, Doherty, arguably much fresher considering he’d dropped 27 frames to Stephens 37 en route, plus that he’d won two matches with sessions to spare, made breaks of 40, 69, 43, 32 and 59 to go 5-2 up before Hendry made a 122, his third century to win his third frame, to trail 5-3 at the end of Sunday afternoon. A break of 43 would make the score 5-4 but from there Doherty scored the heavier, breaks of 48 and 41 making it 6-4, a respot win in the 11th making it 7-4, breaks of 38, 42 and 85 would help make the score 10-4 before Stephen won the 15th with a 44, when Ken had been first in with 47, a 52 would help Doherty finish Sunday night with an 11-5 lead. Hendry, tipped to win the title still by many, given his experience of winning from six down in 1992, would have to become the first person to win from 5-11 down the night before.

A break of 58 would make it 11-6 before a 70 from Ken made it 12-6, a 92 from Stephen in the nineteenth was succeeded by breaks of 35, 46, 52 and 33 to go 15-7 in front, Hendry would make breaks of 137, his fourth century of the final, and 43 to close the gap to 15-9, Doherty would now be favourite, but with Hendry finishing the Monday afternoon the stronger, many wondered how Doherty would respond if Hendry could get near him, given the need to ideally win the first session 4-0, 3-1 at worst to have any slight chance.

Breaks of 51 and 110 would help Stephen make it five frames on the bounce to make it 15-12, but a 61 in the final frame before the interval would ensure that Doherty, at the most vulnerable anyone had seen him in the 17 days previous;ly. However, breaks of 61, 50 and 43 would take the Dubliner home 18-12 to win the title. Famously, Dublin police station received 0 calls between 7 and 10 on the Monday night.
Ken’s defence in 1998 is the second best ever seen, following a 10-8 win over Lee Walker in round one, victories over Stephen Lee, Matthew Stevens and Mark Williams would take him into the final where he would meet John Higgins losing 18-12, his third final appearance in 2003 is arguably the most memorable, wins over Shaun Murphy 10-9, Graeme Dott 13-12, John Higgins 13-8 (from 10-0 and 10-7 up) – and Paul Hunter (from 15-9 down) 17-16 would set up a showpiece encounter with Mark Williams, who won 18-16.

Ken Doherty’s Crucible Record
1991 – (Q) Rd1 10-8 v Steve Davis
1992-1993 failed to qualify
1994 (11) QF 13-10 v Jimmy White
1995 (7) Rd1 10-7 v Mark Davis
1996 (9) Rd2 13-5 v Darren Morgan
1997 (7) WINNER 18-12 v Stephen Hendry
1998 (1) FINAL 18-12 v John Higgins
1999 (4) QF 13-9 v Mark Williams
2000 (7) Rd2 13-12 v Anthony Hamilton
2001 (7) QF 13-6 v John Higgins
2002 (4) QF 13-12 v Stephen Hendry
2003 (5) FINAL 18-16 v Mark Williams
2004 (6) Rd1 10-5 v Joe Swail
2005 (7) Rd2 13-11 v Alan McManus
2006 (12) QF 13-10 v Marco Fu
2007 (3) Rd1 10-7 v Mark Allen
2008 (4) Rd1 10-5 v Liang Wenbo
2009 failed to qualify
2010 (Q) Rd1 10-4 v Mark Selby
Last edited by PLtheRef on 15 Apr 2011, edited 14 times in total.

Re: Past Champions

Postby randam05

Well spencer wasnt very good was he.

Re: Past Champions

Postby SnookerFan

randam05 wrote:Well spencer wasnt very good was he.

Yes, these world champions are always a bit rubbish. :roll:

But, I was surprised to read he'd never got past the second round after his Crucible victory.

Re: Past Champions

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

First up, is the late John Spencer

JOHN SPENCER ENG (1935-2006) - Crucible victory 1977

Spencer as we all know was a three time champion, winning the crown in 1969 and again in the Nov. 1970 championship over in Australia. - A record not to be sniffed at as in the early years of the modern pro game, Spencer was probably the best player in the game, reaching the Final in 1972, as well as the Semi-Finals of the main 1970 and 1973 championships.

It was however, as Reardon began to dominate, winning the 1974, 75 and 76 titles, Spencer began to enter a decline in his fortunes, a last 16 appearance in 1974, a quarter-final in 1975 and again in 1976 yielded 5 world ranking points, 9 behind the new world number one, and left him ranked 8th in the world. The lowest place on the list to gain automatic entry to the tournament proper, to be held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield for the first time.

Being seeded 8th meant that his section of the draw wasnt kind, the likelihood of an exit in the quarter-finals to Reardon looming likely if he could get beyond John Virgo in the first round. An early exit to Graham Miles 4-1 in the Masters not suggesting the tournament he would have in April.

Meeting Virgo in the first round, Spencer was sluggish, slipping behind 4-1 early on, and though breaks of 61 in the seventh and 43 in the final frame of the session meant that overnight he would be level 4-4 with his fellow Greater Manchesterian. The following morning, and again starting slowly, Virgo, with runs of 30, 43, 50 and 70 was able to restore the three frame gap. However, Spencer's reply with 79 in the 13th and 40 in the 14th enabled him to win four of the remaining five frames to be level at 8-8 going into the final session that evening. Having been behind, and recovered three frame deficits twice - Spencer had the momentum, and was able to pull away to win 13-9 and to win through to a quarter-final meeting on the Friday with old rival Reardon, who'd predictably won 13-7 over Irishman Patsy Fagan.

In the quarter-final, Spencer looking more confident was able to put the reigning champion under pressure, and from 2-2 at the interval, Spencer won the second half of the session 3-1, with breaks of 40, 49x2 and 50 to lead 5-3. Growing in confidence, Spencer won the three of the opening for frames, and with a 56 in the 11th, possibly could have led 9-3 at the interval, instead of 8-4. However, bouyed by the confidence of having his old rival on the ropes, Spencer made 36 in the 14th, 51 in the 15th and 85 in the 16th to lead 11-5 before Reardon took the final frame of the session, to trail by five. - A winning lead confirmed with runs of 42 and 66 winning the match 13-6.

In his semi-final, Spencer faced the man who he beat in the first round in the first year he won it. John Pulman had surprised Fred Davis 13-12 and Graham Miles 13-10 to reach the last four in eight years. Seeking a 'ninth' title, Pulman started well taking a three frame lead, before Spencer hit back to level the match at 3-3, a 135, the highest break of the tournament, winning him the fifth frame. Pulman responded by taking the final frame of the first of five 7 frame sessions to lead 4-3 before going ahead 7-3 early in the second session. Spencer replied with runs of 39 in frame 11, 67 in the 12th, 39 again in the 13th and 72 in the final frame of the day to finish the first day at 7-7.

Despite Pulman forging ahead at 9-7, Spencer took the remaining five frames with runs of 34, 37, 38, 43 and 93 to finish Monday's play leading 12-9 and requiring 6 of the final 14 frames. Now in the driving seat, Spencer won the opening two of the fourth session to move on to 14-9, and though Pulman replied to 14-10, Spencer would enter the final, evening session 16-12 in front, and needing two of the final seven. However, Pulman, now back with nothing to lose, took the opening three frames to narrow the gap to 16-15, before a 59 calmed Spencer's nerves to go 2 up with three to play. Pulman took frame 33 and required Spencer needing a snooker to avoid going to a decider. Spencer got it and won the frame by a point, to go through to his fourth world final.

In that final he would face another qualifier who'd surprisingly reached the final stages. Cliff Thorburn, 29 years old from Canada had defeated Rex Williams 13-6, Eddie Charlton 13-12 and Dennis Taylor 18-16 to reach his first world final. The match, to be played over best of 49 frames, played in eight sessions to allow the final to conclude on Grandstand on Saturday afternoon.

Spencer with the experience, forged ahead in a quiet start, 3-0 up before Thorburn would fightback to 4-2 at the end of the opening session. That afternoon, Thorburn would level the match up at 5-5, and though a 75 from Spencer would give him a 6-5 lead, Thorburn would be level at 6-6. In the evening session, Thorburn would lead for the first time, going 8-6 before Spencer hit a 54 and 97 in successive frames, to level the match up, closing the day with a break of 105 to finish the first day level with Thorburn at 9-9.

On the Friday morning, Spencer slipped back, losing the final three frames to trail 13-11 at the halfway mark. From 3-0 up, he'd lost 13 of the 21 frames following on. However, runs of 32, 39 and 41x3, helped set up a four frame winning burst from Spencer, who levelled the match at 15-15 after the fifth of the eight sessions. Winning three of the opening frames, Spencer would go 18-16 up, and be guaranteed to be at worst level at 18-18 entering the final day. Which indeed was the score.

With runs of 35 and 37, Spencer moved 21-18 in front, and with a 67 in the last frame of the morning would lead 22-20 going into the final session. 43 in the 44th and 51 in the 46th frame giving Spencer his third and final world championship 25-21, in the first one to be held at the Crucible.

Strangely enough Spencer seemed to decline at the Crucible after that, first round exits in 1978 13-8 to Perrie Mans (which led to the coin the Crucible Curse) - 13-11 to Bill Werbiniuk in 79 and 13-8 to Kirk Stevens in 1980 saw him slip down the rankings, and by the time he won another game at the Crucible, he was down to 15th in the rankings, and had to play the opening round before the top eight competed. His last appearance coming with a 10-7 loss to Alex Higgins, recovering from 7-2 down. By which time he was 20th in the rankings. Elimination in qualifying came in 1987 losing 10-5 to Barry West. Had he qualified, by quirk of fate, he'd have drawn Reardon, by then 15th in the list.

John Spencer's Crucible Record
1977 - (8) WINNER 25-21 v Cliff Thorburn
1978 - (1) Rd1 13-8 v Perrie Mans
1979 - (4) Rd1 13-11 v Bill Werbeniuk
1980 - (4) Rd2 13-8 v Kirk Stevens
1981 - (15) Rd2 13-11 v Ray Reardon
1982 - (14) Rd2 13-5 v Willie Thorne
1983 - (12) Rd2 13-11 v Eddie Charlton
1984 - (16) Rd2 13-5 v Steve Davis
1985 - (13) Rd1 10-3 v John Parrott
1986 - (Q) Rd1 10-7 v Alex Higgins

Tomorrow - Reardon

Re: Past Champions

Postby Wildey

SnookerFan wrote:
randam05 wrote:Well spencer wasnt very good was he.

Yes, these world champions are always a bit rubbish. :roll:

But, I was surprised to read he'd never got past the second round after his Crucible victory.

Spencer's best years was before the crucible same with Alex Higgins really

Re: Past Champions - Ray Reardon

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

Today's champion is Ray Reardon

RAY REARDON WAL (1932-) - Crucible victory 1978

The longtime holder of the modern day record, Ray Reardon was already a 5 time World Champion having won the title in 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976 - the last of which being the first Embassy sponsored event. With the advent of the world ranking list to seed the entries for the 1977 event, Reardon with a maximum 15 points was comfortably number one seed.

The 77 championship however, was not to be Reardons, and despite a relatively comfortable 13-7 victory over new professional Patsy Fagan in the first round, Readon would go out 13-6 to old rival John Spencer who would take the title. Reardon's position in the quarter-finals meant his ranking points dropped to 12, but he remained comfortably top. However, not being defending champion, he'd be seeded 2nd for the 1978 event at the Crucible.

Reardon's form going into the 1978 world championship was not overly encouraging, a 12-8 defeat of Doug Mountjoy gave him the Welsh Professional title, a title he would again win in 1981 and 1983, however, a first match loss 5-4 to Jim Meadowcroft in the new Super Crystalate United Kingdom Championship, followed by a 5-1 loss to Alex Higgins at the Masters in London meant that though he would remain one of the favourites, he would not be 'the' favourite to take the title.

Reardon's draw for the World Championship was not considered overly difficult however, with Cliff Thorburn and Eddie Charlton likely to be the two challengers to him in reaching the final.

He began his campaign slowly, on the opening Monday morning session, against Doug Mountjoy, who he'd beaten to take the Welsh title. And although Reardon was scoring, he was unable to generally finish off frames, as Mountjoy raced into a 3-0 lead, converted to a 6-2 lead at the end of the morning session. However, given Reardon had scored 7 30+ breaks in the session, compared to 4 for Mountjoy. On the Monday evening however, though without scoring as heavily, Reardon was able to take control, and despite slipping to 7-2 behind, won the next five to level the match at 7-7. And though Mountjoy won the 15th with a 56, Reardon took the remaining frames of the evening to win the session 7-2, and therefore have a 9-8 lead going into Tuesday evening's final session.

From there Reardon didnt look back, winning the opening three frames with a 61 in frame 19 and 38 in frame 20 to lead 12-8, and though Mountjoy pulled one back, Reardon sealed victory with a 56 in the final frame, to win 13-9, and 11 of 13 frames from 7-2 behind.

Reardon entered the quarter-finals on the Friday morning knowing that with Spencer out in the first round, he was the highest seed remaining in the draw. For the quarter-final, he would be meeting Bill Werbeniuk, who'd managed an impressive 13-4 victory over John Pulman in the opening round. Reardon, knowing this however begun the match well, 55 in the first, 33 in the second and 53 in the third, helping the Welshman to a 4-0 lead at the first interval, and sharing the next four, with runs of 36, 30 and 57, would hold a 6-2 lead entering the afternoon session. This time, Werbeniuk was the quicker starter, taking the first two frames to reduce the lead to 6-4, but 60 in frame 11, 30 in frame 12, and 37 in frame 13, helped extend Reardon's advantage to 9-4, which was converted into a 10-6 lead, entering the final session to be played on the Saturday morning.

Reardon quickly wrapped up the match with runs of 36 in frame 17 and 119 in frame 18, to go 12-6 up, winning the match 13-6.

The strange scheduling of the one table format meant that Reardon, who was up against number 3 seed Australian Eddie Charlton played three sessions of his match, before the other semi-final between Spencer's qualifier Pierre (Perrie) Mans, and Fred Davis had broken off. As in 77, the Semi-Finals were played over the best of 35 frames over five sessions. Unlike Reardon, who'd comfortably won through to the last four, Charlton had been extended to final frame decider's in both matches, winning his first round match from 12-9 down and his quarter from 12-8 behind.

The opening day - Sunday would see the opening two sessions played, and similarly to his match with Mountjoy, Reardon started slowly, and allowed the Australian to build up a 2-0 lead, before recovering with runs of 34, 34 and 32 to win the next four frames, to lead 4-2, before ending the afternoon with a 4-3 lead. The evening session started with runs of 51 and 36 to extend Reardon's lead to 6-3. Before Charlton leveled the match with runs of 46, 37, 30 and 35. Reardon however made runs of 46, 60 and 34 to end the day leading 8-6, and taking an early night to be ready for the following morning's session.

On the Monday morning, despite 5 30+ breaks (same as Charlton) he lost the session 6-1 and so entering the final two sessions trailed Charlton by 12-9, needing to win the final day at worst by 9 frames to 5.

Entering Tuesday afternoon, Reardon performed well, 38 in frame 22, 48 in 23, 31 in 24 and 45 in frame 25 taking back the lead at 13-12. Followed up by 32 in 26, 43 and 51 in 27, and 53 in frame 28 to wrap the session up 7-0 to go 16-12 and within two of a place in his sixth world final. Despite a strong recovery in the opening frames of the final session, Reardon would win the semi 18-14, to go through to the best of 49 frame final to be held over three days.

His opponent in the final would be Perrie Mans. Mans had been impressive with wins over Spencer 13-8 and Miles 13-7, and from 5-2 behind, forged a 13-8 lead over Fred Davis in his semi-final, before holding off a revival from the 64 year old to win 18-16. In the opening session, after sharing the initial exchanges, Reardon won the final three frames of the session to lead 5-2. But when Mans equalized at 5-5, Reardon found himself in a challenge to hold of the South African qualifier, despite this, Mans won the Thursday night session to be level at 8-8 entering the second day of the 3 day, 6 session final.

Mans opened the second day, by going 10-9 in front, before runs of 41 and 49 helped Reardon to go 12-10 ahead, leading 12-11 at the half way stage. Reardon, now growing used to the African's style made runs of 64, 42 and 66 in successive frames to move 15-11 in front, a lead extended to 17-12 with a 47 in the 29th. Readon closing out the day with a 49 to go 18-14 in front, and within seven of winning the title for the sixth time.

Entering the last day, Mans won the first three frames, to ensure the match went to the final session, but a century in frame 36, followed by 35 and 41, restored the four frame advantage at 21-17, and with the final two frames of the session shared meaning Reardon required three frames in the final session. With runs of 81, 36 and 35, he took the title by 25-18. Winning his sixth and last title.

Post his success, at which he became the oldest ever World Champion, Reardon remained a force on the circuit for a long time, appearing in the later stages most times, only three times did he not make the quarter-finals of the tournament when he appeared at Sheffield, famously reaching the final in 1982, and defeating a young Liverpudlian by the name of Parrott in the 1985 quarter-finals, losing to Steve Davis 16-5 in the last four that year. His final appearance at the Crucible came in 1987, which following a 10-5 win over Barry West, - who'd put out his old sparring partner John Spencer in qualifying, he was defeated 13-4 by Davis, who went on to equal his modern day record.

Ray Reardon's Crucible Record
1977 (1) QF 13-11 v John Spencer
1978 (2) WINNER 25-18 v Perrie Mans
1979 (1) QF 13-8 v Dennis Taylor
1980 (2) QF 13-11 v David Taylor
1981 (2) SF 16-10 v Doug Mountjoy
1982 (4) FINAL 18-15 v Alex Higgins
1983 (2) Rd2 13-12 v Tony Knowles
1984 (2) QF 13-2 v Kirk Stevens
1985 (5) SF 16-5 v Steve Davis
1986 (6) Rd1 10-8 v John Campbell
1987 (15) Rd2 13-4 v Steve Davis

Tomorrow - Terry Griffiths

Re: Past Champions - Ray Reardon

Postby randam05

I love watching old reardon clips on youtube. Very much enjoy his style and wish he was around on the tour today!

Re: Past Champions - Terry Griffiths

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

Today's champion is Terry Griffiths

Terry Griffiths WAL - Crucible victory 1979

In comparison to Reardon, who was among the most well known of the top snooker players at the time of his Crucible win, Terry Griffiths, was a complete unknown to almost all of the public prior to April 1979. Though he’ had competed at the Welsh Amateur game for a while, he’ never won the crown, and after missing out on a place at the World Amateur Championships, applied to become professional, and to surprise was accepted.

Making his debut in the qualifying for the UK Championships, Griffiths showed that he knew the trade well, racing into an 8-2 lead over Rex Williams, before seeing the lead evaporate into a 9-8 defeat. However, in the qualifiers for the Crucible in early 1979,wins over Bernard Bennett 9-2 and Jim Meadowcroft 9-6 would send him to the finals, at which he drew the Masters champion and number 2 seed, the 1978 runner-up Perrie Mans.

Starting the match on the opening day, Griffiths opened his Crucible account well, from 2-2 at the interval, he forged ahead with runs of 35, 87, 32 and 33 to finish the first day of the match with a comfortable 6-2 overnight lead. The following morning, growing in confidence, Terry made runs of 40 in the ninth and 46 in the tenth to go 8-2 in front, holding a 9-3 lead at the interval. However, as has been seen in the game many times, the interval can be an interesting role-reversal and despite holding a six-frame led at that point, Mans halved the deficit to three frames, with the Welshman leading 10-7 at the end of the middle session.

The final session concluded on the Tuesday evening, and despite a run of 39 from Griffiths, the South African responded in kind, winning a fourth frame on the bounce to close the gap to two frames. However, regaining his composure, and form Griffiths would make runs of 56, 46 and 38 in the next three frames to win 13-8 and send out the 2nd seed in the first round.

For his quarter-final, Griffiths would face the 1972 champion Alex Higgins over the morning and afternoon sessions on the Friday and the Saturday morning session. Higgins, seeded number 7 had eliminated David Taylor 13-5 in round 1 and for the first time at the Crucible had survived beyond the opening round. Griffiths opened the match with a 61 break only to see runs from 105 and 112 from the Hurricane take a 2-1 lead, and despite a run of 45 in the next, Griffiths would be able to hold him to 2-2 at the interval.

However, as we all knew Alex could, the Irishman cut himself clear, with runs of 37, 44, 39, 44, 45 and 40 in the four frames after the interval to finish the first morning with a 6-2 advantage over the man few had ever heard of before. Instead of holding a massive advantage as he had done in previous matches, Griffiths would now have to try and close a massive deficit. Entering the afternoon session, Griffiths made 52 in the opening frame and 35 in the second, winning the third frame cut the gap to just one frame, and although Higgins forged ahead with runs of 81 and 37, Griffiths was seen as the player making the charging, taking the remaining frames, including a 121 in the 15th frame, ensured that Terry won the session 6-2 to level the scores at 8-8 going into the final session.

With the momentum now with the Welshman, he moved into the lead for the first time since the first frame with a run of 35, before Higgins made 63 and 32 in the next two frames to move back in front at 10-9. 68 and 51 from Griffiths meant that he went back into the lead at 11-10 before Higgins levelled with 61 and 32 in the 22nd frame at 11-11. A 67 would take Griffiths to the brink of the last four before a 60 and 33 from Higgins would level the scores once again and send the match to a deciding 25th frame. In this frame Griffiths would make a 107 to secure the match after an enthralling final session which had seen 14 30 plus breaks, 7 50 plus breaks and a century to settle it.

By the time the semi-finals arrived, interest in the tournament had been raised, with Charlton, who’ would be Terry’s semi-final opponent defeating Fred Davis 13-4, and Dennis Taylor ending the defence of Ray Reardon, none of the four in the semi-finals had ever won the title before. The Matches now were extended to the best of 37 frames, as previously, over five sessions.

On the Sunday afternoon, Griffiths took the opening frame and made a century in the next to lead 2-0. A 50 in the fourth cancelled out runs of 30 and 33 in the third by the Australian, seeded third once again. With a 3-1 lead at the interval, Terry would hold on by taking the sixth frame to lead 4-2, and finished Sunday with a 4-3 lead.

The match continued on Monday morning, and after Charlton had made the scores even, Griffiths began to show some of the form from his final session with Higgins, 69 in frame 9, 37 in frame 10, runs of 35 and 32 in frame 12, 31 in frame 13 and 64 in the final session of the morning all formed part of the a 6-frame winning streak which gave Griffiths a large 10-4 lead at the end of the second session. The interval coming at the perfect time to galvanize Charlton, who won the first six frames of the evening session, to level the scores at 10-10. Crucially though, Griffiths, who’’ had been outscored 489-124 in the session so far, made a nervy 38, to take the final frame of the session 66=-=51 and crucially led 11-10 going into the fourth session of the match, which would resume at 3.15 on Tuesday afternoon.

Fresher from the disappointment of Monday night, Griffiths extended his lead to 12-10 before finally being caught at 12-12 by the Australian, the first time he had been level since 4-4 and had won 8 of the last ten frames since Griffiths went 10-4 in front. However, runs of 68, 52, 35 and 50 meant that he had a 15-12 lead, which would be 15-13 entering the final session. Charlton again responded, winning the first three frames to move 16-15 in front, and in the lead for the first time in the match, a 35 from Griffiths would make the scores even at the interval, but a 33 from Charlton in frame 33 would reinstate his lead at 17-16. However, once Terry had got level with him at 17-17, he took control, a 69 in frame 35, and 97 in frame 36 sending him through to the final. To his obvious delight when it dawned on him during the interview.

His opponent would be number 8 seed from Coalisland, Dennis Taylor had some Crucible pedigree, a Semi-Final appearance in 1977. Taylor had been in impressive form, having eliminated a surprise 21 year old qualifier from Plumstead, who’ had beaten Ian Anderson 9-1 and Pasty Fagan 9-3 in the qualifying. Steve Davis’ would dominate the game in the years ahead. Having sent him out 13-11, Taylor faced the top seed, Ray Reardon, and despite trailing 5-4 at the end of the first session, won nine of the last 12 frames to win 13-8. His semi-final opponent was against the qualifier John Virgo, winning each session set Dennis up for a comfortable win, which he achieved 19-12.

In the Best of 47 frame final, Griffiths would start the stronger, aided by a day off the previous day, runs of 56, 120 and 41 would give him a 5-1 lead, before Taylor took the last of the afternoon to reduce the scores to three frames. Taking the first two of the evening to put the [pressure on Griffiths at 5-4. Runs of 33 and 34 in frame 10, restored a two frame gap before Taylor responded. Griffiths would make a 43 in the 15th and final frame of the day, to finish the first day of his first professional final with an 8-7 advantage.

Friday began with Taylor moving in front for the first time, before Griffiths levelled the match at 9-9, and despite Taylor making it 11-9 with runs of 35 and 92, Griffiths would make runs of 38, 34, 36 and 45 to level the match at 11-11 entering Friday evening. Taylor, again looking the stronger, having recovered the four frame gap at the start of the match, began to motor, runs of 84 and 47 helping him to take a 14-12 lead in the match at the interval. Runs of 49 and 37, helping Terry to level the scores at 14-14 before the day finished at 15-15, making the final day, effectively best of 17.

The Saturday afternoon session remains one of the strongest seen at the Crucible, as despite Taylor winning frame 33, Griffiths made runs of, 64 and 44 in frame 32, 31 in the 34th. 71 in the 35th, 48x2 in the 36th, 35 and 42 in the 37th, and 38 and 37 in the final frame of the session to take it 7-1 and to enter the Saturday evening session, with a 22-16 lead, requiring just 2 of the 9 remaining frames for victory.

In the final session, Griffiths made runs of 37, 31, 49 and 56 to quickly take the two needed frames to wrap up the match 24-16, and to become the last qualifier until 2005 to take the World Championship. A feat more impressive given Terry had never qualified for a TV venue before the Crucible in 1979.

After his success, Griffiths began to set himself up as one of the elite players winning the Irish Masters three times, the World Cup in 1979 and 1980, the UK Championship in 1982 and the Welsh professional title in 1985, 1986, and 1988. His defence of the World title ended in his opening match of the 1980 event where after slipping 7-0 down against Steve Davis, he lost 13-10.

Rather surprisingly, that remained Terry’s only World title, and he only reached the one table set up twice more at the Crucible, in 1988 where he lost 18-11 in the final to Steve Davis and the 1992 semi-finals, where having slipped 10-0, 12-1 and 14-2 behind, lost 16-4 to Stephen Hendry in a then record Semi-Final victory. He bowed out at the Crucible in 1997, his second appearance as a qualifier, losing 10-9 to new Welsh star, Mark Williams. He remains one of three players never to lose a World Championship qualifier since the Crucible started staging the tournament.

Terry Griffiths Crucible Record
1979 (Q): WINNER 24-16 v Dennis Taylor
1980 (1): Rd2 13-10 v Steve Davis
1981 (5): QF 13-9 v Steve Davis
1982 (3): Rd1 10-6 v Willie Thorne
1983 (14): Rd2 13-12 v Cliff Thorburn
1984 (9): QF 13-10 v Steve Davis
1985 (8): QF 13-6 v Steve Davis
1986 (8): QF 13-12 v Joe Johnson
1987 (10): QF 13-5 v Steve Davis
1988 (6): FINAL 18-11 v Steve Davis
1989 (5);: QF 13-5 v Stephen Hendry
1990 (5): QF 13-5 v Jimmy White
1991 (6): QF 13-10 v John Parrott
1992 (11): SF 16-4 v Stephen Hendry
1993 (6): Rd2 13-11 v Dennis Taylor
1994 (8): Rd2 13-8 v Nigel Bond
1995 (14): Rd2 13-9 v Gary Wilkinson
1996 (15): Rd2 13-8 v Steve Davis
1997 (Q): Rd1 10-9 v Mark Williams

Tomorrow - Cliff Thorburn

Re: Past Champions - Terry Griffiths

Postby PLtheRef

SnookerFan wrote:He got beaten plenty by people that went on to win the title the same year.

Indeed, those who beat him did well, - only 4 times did he not meet his minimum seeding position, i.e. going out in the last 16 when seeded 6th

Re: Past Champions - Terry Griffiths

Postby SnookerFan

PLtheRef wrote:
SnookerFan wrote:He got beaten plenty by people that went on to win the title the same year.

Indeed, those who beat him did well, - only 4 times did he not meet his minimum seeding position, i.e. going out in the last 16 when seeded 6th

You're doing well with these PL, keep them up. :hatoff:

Re: Past Champions - Cliff Thorburn

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

Today's champion is Grinder Cliff Thorburn

CLIFF THORBURN CAN (1948-) Crucible Victory 1980

Champion in 1980, the first overseas winner to take the title (Horace Lindrum excepted) Thorburn had already gained considerable Crucible pedigree in the opening three years in which the championship had been staged in Sheffield. Finalist in 1977 after wins over Rex Williams 13-6, Eddie Charlton 13-12 and Dennis Taylor 18-16. He followed that up with a run to the quarter-finals in 1978, before losing from 12-8 in front against Charlton. His only blemish at the Crucible going into 1980 was the first round defeat in 1979 to John Virgo.

The build up to the 1980 championship had been controversial, with many different systems of deciding the 16 finalists for the Crucible. One system was to limit voting rights to the top 20 players, but with more than 20 professionals, it was outvoted. The heart of the problem lied at that the top 8 in the world rankings were exempt for the qualifiers, and that having 27 players battling for eight spots was unfair. – The system the lower ranked players wanted was that in the case of 1980, Terry Griffiths as champion would be number 1 seed, Dennis Taylor as runner-up the number 2 seed, with the remaining 14 spaces filled up by the qualifying competition. Meaning that Reardon, still top of the rankings, would be expected to qualify.

A compromise in the system was found, the top 16 would get automatic places at the Crucible, but to combat this the entries would be increased to 24, with the top eight coming in at the second round, as number 3 seed, Thorburn would enjoy that privilege, and only entered the draw on Friday evening of the first week. On the table Thorburn arrived in a positive frame, having defeated Griffiths 17-10 to win the Canadian open for the fourth time, with 23 matches rather than 16, the later rounds were shortened, with the semi-finals reduced to 31, and the final to 35 frames.

Having the luxury of his place secure in the second round, Thorburn waited for the result of the fifth match of the first round to come through, a 10-6 victory for Doug Mountjoy over Cliff Wilson. Mountjoy would meet Thorburn over best of 25 for a place in the last eight. In the opening session, Thorburn started well with a 39 in the opening frame to take a 1-0 lead before Mountjoy replied, with 32, and 61 in the 3rd to go 2-1 up, and from the interval, Thorburn found it difficult to keep with the Welshman, who made 61 and 48 in the final two frames to move 5-3 up at the end of the session.

Following a day off, Thorburn arrived for the second session of the match much sharper, 66 in frame 9, 47 in the 10th and 70 in the 11th, stealing the lead back from Mountjoy. Taking the next two as well, Thorburn had taken five in a row, and despite a Mountjoy recovery to 8-7, Cliff would have a 9-7 lead entering the final session. Having restored a three frame cushion, Thorburn was forced to sit back and watch as breaks of 123 in frame 19, and 59 in frame 20 levelled the scores for Mountjoy, at 10-10.

The interval however served to galvanize Cliff, who took the first three after the interval to win 13-10 and book a place in the quarter-finals against Jim Wych, another Canadian who had eliminated Dennis Taylor 13-10 in the last 16, after a 10-5 win over John Pulman in round one.

The match began on Monday afternoon, and Wych was the quicker starter, taking the first two frames before breaks of 53, 66, 35 and 68 helped Thorburn turn the screw in a four frame burst to go 4-2 up, breaks of 36 and 46 in the final frame of the afternoon securing a 5-3 margin overnight for the elder statesman of Canadian snooker.

At the start of the second session, Thorburn pressed on with his advantage stretching, runs of 64,98,86 and 39 in successive frames helped Thorburn move to 9-3 up at the interval. And despite a brief revival from Wych, Cliff maintained a commanding 10-6 lead at the end of the middle session, leaving Wych requiring seven of the final nine frames to turn the match around. It couldn’t be done, breaks of 40 and 56 helping Thorburn to settle the match in the first three frames of the last session, to go through by 13-6.

In his Semi-Final, Thorburn would face another player who’d come through the first round. David Taylor had been in good form with wins over Ray Edmonds 10-3, Fred Davis 13-5 and an impressive 13-11 victory over Ray Reardon to reach the last four. Beginning the match on the Wednesday evening, Thorburn made a cagey start, winning the opener, and the third with a 67. However, either side of the interval Taylor recovered, to go 3-2 up, and made a 40 in the sixth. However Cliff responded, with a 72 in the 6th, 41 in the 7th and 32 and 31 in the final frame of the session to finish the first evening’s play with a 5-3 lead.

Coming out for the second evening, Thorburn put on a spurt as he’d done against Mountjoy. Breaks of 43 and 75 set the tone right from the off, As Cliff made successive runs of 30, 35, 31, 48 and 90 to move away from the Englishman, and to open up a seven frame difference between the two at 10-3. With the next two frames shared, Thorburn entered the final day needing just 5 of the remaining 16 frames.

A 51 in frame 16 extended the lead to 12-4, and despite runs of 32, 30 and 36, taking the match back to 12-6, Thorburn steered clear again, 39, 50, 32, 32, 30 and 74 taking him to a 15-6 lead, and it took a 40 from Taylor to send the match into a final session at 15-7, Winning the first frame quickly with a 114, Cliff was through to his second world final a 16-7 winner.

In the final he would meet Alex Higgins, himself in a third world final. Higgins had been forced to come through the first round, and had had a close run thing on the first day, winning the last two frames against Tony Meo to win 10-9. In the second round, Higgins comfortably disposed of Perrie Mans 13-6 and defeated Meo’’s friend Steve Davis 13-9 in the quarter-finals. In the semis, Higgins recovered from 5-2 behind to secure a 16-13 victory over Kirk Stevens to avoid the all-Canadian final.

The final, as best of 35 frames would be played over the weekend, two sessions on both Saturday and Sunday. Despite his exploits of finishing his semi-final with eight frames to spare, Thorburn was a slower starter, and Higgins moved 5-1 in front fairly quickly, before removing his tie and playing to the crowd. Breaks of 68 in frame 7 and 62 in the last giving Thorburn two more frames, but he still trailed Higgins 6-3 at the end of the first session.

A run of 43 wasn’t enough for Thorburn to avoid slipping 7-3 behind, but breaks of 53 and 76 reduced his arrears to 7-5, before Higgins, moved back to a 4 frame lead at 9-5. However, Thorburn responded, in ‘Grinder’ fashion, runs of 45, 32, 57, 31, and 64 giving him the final four frames of the day, meaning that overnight the final was level 9-9 going into Sunday.

Thorburn would begin Sunday by taking frames 19 and 20 to move 11-9 up on Higgins, who had now won just four of the last 14 frames. Despite Higgins levelling the match at 11-11 Thorburn moved to 12-11 in front before Higgins began to respond. Runs of 58 and 35 however gave Thorburn the 25th frame, and secured that he would be at worst level with Higgins when the final session began, with Higgins taking the last frame 13-13 the score indeed would be going into the final session. Which was briefly interrupted by the Iranian Embassy Siege.

Thorburn would share the opening frames of the evening with Higgins, making it 15-15 at the interval, and then 16-16 after 32 frames, turning the match into a best of three contest. From here Thorburn turned on the gas, breaks of 119 in frame 33 and 51 in frame 34 giving him the title 18-16. In one notable gesture, Thorburn paid tribute to Higgins, unexpected given their dislike of each other.

Thorburn made probably the first real challenge to the new Curse that had been alleged, given that none of the previous champions had made any impact in defending the title. Thorburn beat Graham Miles 13-2 in the last 16 in 1981, and followed up that with a 13-6 win over David Taylor in the quarter-finals. His run would be ended by Steve Davis 16-10 in the Semi-Finals. Most years at the Crucible, Cliff would do well, Semi-Finals in 1986 and 1988 going with the appearance in the 1983 final, following a Maximum Break in the earlier rounds, emotional heartache and determination saw him reach the final, before losing 18-6 to Davis. His final appearance came as a qualifier, where from 9-2 in front against Nigel Bond, lost 10-9.

Cliff Thorburn's Crucible record
1977 (Q): FINAL 25-21 v John Spencer
1978 (6): QF 13-12 v Eddie Charlton
1979 (5): Rd1 13-10 v John Virgo
1980 (3): WINNER 18-16 v Alex Higgins
1981 (1): SF 16-10 v Steve Davis
1982 (2);: Rd1 10-4 v Jimmy White
1983 (3): FINAL 18-6 v Steve Davis
1984 (3): QF 13-8 v Jimmy White
1985 (3): QF 13-5 v Dennis Taylor
1986 (3): SF 16-12 v Steve Davis
1987 (3): Rd1 10-5 v Dene O’Kane
1988 (4): SF 16-8 v Steve Davis
1989 (6): Rd1 10-9 v Eddie Charlton
1990 (7): QF 13-6 v John Parrott
1991-93 Failed to Qualify
1994 (Q);: Rd1 10-9 v Nigel Bond

Tomorrow's champion - Steve Davis

Re: Past Champions - Cliff Thorburn

Postby PLtheRef

SnookerFan wrote:Good one PL. :mex:

Steve's one tomorrow will be interesting.

Its longer than the others

Re: Past Champions - Cliff Thorburn

Postby PLtheRef

PLtheRef wrote:
SnookerFan wrote:Good one PL. :mex:

Steve's one tomorrow will be interesting.

Its longer than the others

given his effect, it'll be in three parts

Re: Past Champions - Cliff Thorburn

Postby SnookerFan

PLtheRef wrote:
SnookerFan wrote:Good one PL. :mex:

Steve's one tomorrow will be interesting.

Its longer than the others

I'll bet it is. <laugh> The Alex Higgins one should be interesting also. :D

Re: Past Champions - Steve Davis Pt1/3

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

Today we take a look back at Steve Davis' early championships

STEVE DAVIS ENG (1957-) Crucible Victories 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989

Part One
The King of the Crucible for 8 years, Steve Davis has one of the greatest records in the history of the game, 100 career finals, 73 tournament victories, and is the only player to appear at the Crucible in five different decades. Yet he’s not regarded as a natural player, but a man who’d practise his way to the top, making himself a winning machine. An example of his dominance coming at the 1980 UK Championship, where he’d beaten Mike Hallett 9-1, Bill Werbeniuk 9-3, Tony Meo 9-5 and Terry Griffiths 9-0 to reach the final, where he comfortably beat Alex Higgins 16-6 to take the title. The only blip in the season being the Masters where he had lost 5-2 in the first round.

Due to the world rankings being based on the World Championships alone, Steve had just three points to his name, following a first round exit in 1979 and a quarter-finals in 1980 when it came to the 1981 championship. As a result this seeded him 13th, and resulted in the likelihood of matches against Higgins, Griffiths and defending champion Thorburn in his half of the draw. Coupled with this, Davis drew the 1980 World Amateur Champion, Jimmy White, who at 18 would be making his debut at the Crucible.

The match was one of the two first round matches scheduled over three sessions, and with runs of 32, 37 and 119, Davis was able to take the first session 4-2, and from 5-4 in the second, runs of 32, 106, 85 and 55 sent him to an 8-4 advantage entering Thursday’s final session, at which he could lose 5-2 or better. It was only at this stage that the nerves showed, as White with runs of 42, and 50x2 reduced the gap to a single frame before a 56 from Davis moved him back to 2 up at 9-7. And despite a 49 from White in the next, Davis closed the match out with a 71 in the 18th, to secure his first round win, 10-8.

In the second round, Davis faced Higgins, who’d ended his hopes at the Crucible last year, with the knowledge of how to beat Higgins fresh in the memory after the 16-6 bruising at the UK Championships, Davis set into Higgins with relish, 78 in the opener, 42 in the second, 61 in the 4th, 69 in the 5th and 63 in the 6th giving him an early 5-1 lead, had it not been for a 40 in the 3rd from Higgins, it could have been 6-0 at this point. However A 6-2 overnight lead was a positive start for the Londoner, who’s record as youngest champion he’d now not beat. In the middle session, Davis watched Higgins fight back as Griffiths had in 1980, however, probably more experienced to cope with such a situation, Steve kept his nerve to move 9-5 up, and 9-7 at the end of the session.

In the final session, a 45 moved Davis 10-7 in front, with a 52 in response, Higgins moved to 10-8, but that would be the final contribution, as Davis with runs of 73 and 51 closed out the match 13-8 to move through to the quarter-finals. In the last eight he would meet Terry Griffiths, who’d he beaten 13-10 here last year, and 9-0 in the UK Championships in November. With runs of 44,38, 43, and 41, Davis would take a 4-2 lead before Griffiths, eager to regain his crown, took the last two frames to level the scores at 4-4.

The Tuesday afternoon session was slow, with the players only able to complete six of the eight scheduled frames, Davis, took the first two with breaks of 41 and 67, but from there couldn’t contribute more than 30, however, growing in confidence in his safety play, Steve took 5 of the six frames, to move 9-5 up entering the now 11 frame final session. A century from Griffiths here was countered by 58 from Davis in the next, and a 45 from Griffiths in frame 17 was countered by runs of 31x2 and 71 to ensure Davis went to the interval with the 4 frame lead at 11-7. Griffiths twice reduced the gap to three frames at 11-8 and 12-9 but Davis’ 52 would be enough to give him the match 13-9 and to set up a match with defending champion Thorburn.

Thorburn’s run had been impressive, dropping eight frames en-route to the last four, but Davis scored heavier earlier on, taking a 3-1 lead thanks to breaks of 45 and 51. However Cliff responded by making the scores 3-3 before Davis took the final frame of the day with breaks of 31 and 30. The following morning, Thorburn played a Grinding session, keeping in touch with Davis until the interval at 6-5, before making runs of 91, 47 and 31 to finish the session 8-6 up. Davis, now demoralized, hadn’t scored a pot since frame 10.

Entering the third session, Barry Hearn had draped the Union Jack over Davis’ balcony, and with the recognition that he would have to play safety to get back with Thorburn, Davis steadily recovered, a run of 47 in the 16th frame levelled the scores at 8-8 before a controversial moment in the 18th frame, where Thorburn addressed a shot three times, before being distracted by someone in Davis’ corner. Whether the Romford Mafia were out in force remains unknown but it certainly effected Thorburn, who angrily declared at the end of the last session that he would See Davis Tomorrow. For once Cliff had lost the mind-games battle and with runs of 44, 50 and 51, Davis was able to wrap the match up by the last interval, winning through to the final a 16-10 winner.

In the final, his first, he would meet Doug Mountjoy. Like Davis, Mountjoy had come through from round 1, with wins over Willie Thorne 10-6, Eddie Charlton 13-7, Dennis Taylor 13-8 and Ray Reardon 16-10 to reach the final. Like 1980 this would be played in 9989 format.

The final opened like a dream for Davis, runs of 59, 52, 49, 34, 30, 57, 40 and 33 hel[ping him take the opening six frames against Mountjoy, who could manage little resistance early on, taking just 100 points in the first six frames to Davis’ 491. However, runs of 39 and 76 helped Mountjoy close the gap to 6-3 at the end of the session. In the first evening, Davis again scored quietly, taking runs of 34, and 30, in the two frames he won to move 8-5 in front at the interval, however, after the interval, Mounjoy responded, with a run of 129 in frame 14, 31 in frame 16 and 33 in frame 18, to close the gap to two frames, and having led 6-0, Davis would be 10-8 in front overnight.

On the Monday afternoon, Davis took the first two frames, to go 12-8, before Mountjoy replied in kind, again closing the gap to two frames. However runs of 54 in frame 23, and 55 in frame 25, gave Davis a 14-12 lead entering the final session. In the final session, runs of 84, 119, 44 and 49 in the opening four frames gave him the title 18-12.

Steve’s success continued after his 1981 victory, winning the World Cup with England over Wales, and emphatically defending his UK Crown with a 16-3 win over Griffiths in the final. Winning 8 trophies between November 1980 and April 1982, certainly drained him, as worn out by the efforts of the long season, Davis met Tony Knowles in the first round of the 1982 championships, slipped 4-0 down, and though he won the fifth, lost the next 6 to lose 10-1. Considering his achievements at the Crucible, it remains and is likely to remain the worst ever defence of the title.

Losing his title in 1982, as well as the UK Crown and the Masters title in 1983, saw him seeded 4th for the World Championships, where he’d meet Rex Williams in the first round. With all of the seeded players who’d concluded their matches – had won their matches so far, Davis’ half of the draw, with 6 players who’d been to the last four beside himself, would be keenly contest, with runs of 30, 48x2, 70, and 33, he comfortably eased into his quest to recapture the crown, going 6-0 up on Williams, who recovered to 6-3 by the end of the Monday afternoon session.

Despite losing the final frames of the Monday afternoon, Davis entered Tuesday evening with a great deal of confidence, frame 10 was won with an 89, 11, with a 43, and only a brief response from Williams prevented Davis from winning by the interval, a 10-4 win sending him through to a meeting with Irishman Dennis Taylor, who’s world ranking had dropped to number 13, after the four ranking points for the 1979 final had been removed. Taking an early 2-1 lead with a 33 and 32, Davis went quiet, letting Taylor move much more in command, a 42 in the sixth would level the scores, but Taylor would hold the overnight advantage.

Responding quicker on the Saturday morning, A run of 52 in the ninth helped Davis retake the lead at 5-4 before taking a quieter role a run of 38 would give him a 6-5 lead at the interval; but it would be Taylor who would respond much better, moving 8-7 up going into the final session. Entering the arena, the Crucible was on a high, with Cliff Thorburn’s 147 maximum break still the main news story. Knowing that an early exit would leave him needing a good 83/84 to remain in the top 16, Davis responded, runs of 37,31,76,32,46 and 74 giving him a 10-9 interval advantage, with runs of 38 and 54 extending his advantage to 12-9. Taylor, to be known for a recovery of some sort in the future fought back with runs of 83 and 39 to go within one frame of Davis before the 1981 champion closed out the match.

Steve’s quarter-final would be against 5th seeded Aussie, Eddie Charlton, who’d notched up impressive form in wins over Les Dodd 10-7 and John Spencer 13-11, in a match which final session overrun to 8:55, meaning that the evening session players on the same table, Thorburn and Griffiths wouldn’t finish until 3:51am Monday morning. Steve was in good form in the opening session, runs of 31, 48 30 and 31 giving a healthy 3-1 lead at the interval, with runs of 34, 47 and 30 in the last two frames restoring the two frame cushion after the Australian, who at 54 would be the oldest quarter-finalist at the Crucible – the next one would be 52 year old Steve Davis, 27 years later.

In the evening session, Davis took control, runs of 74, 57 and 64 helped increase the lead to 8-3 before a 31 response from Charlton meant an 8-4 interval scoreline. A 54 in the thirteenth sending Steve 9-4 up, and a concluding break of 46 sending him into Wednesday’s final session with a 11-5 margin, and needing just two frames for victory. The following afternoon, runs of 46, 32, 31 and 30 were enough to quickly take the necessary frames to win the match 13-5 and to book a place in a semi-final against the reigning champion.
Higgins had reached the later stages with not too much trouble, a 10-4 win over Dean Reynolds in the first round followed up with a 13-8 win over Willie Thorne in round two. However in the quarter-finals, the Peoples Champion had needed to recover from 7-9 behind to defeat Bill Werbeniuk.

In the Thursday afternoon session, Davis was the faster starter, runs of 56 and 47 helping him take a 3-0 lead early on, before Higgins got on the board. A 33 in the sixth frame helped increase the lead to 5-1 before Higgins made a 71 to close out the first day trailing 5-2. On the Friday morning, Steve got into his rhythm and sought to pull away, runs of 10=3, 38, 35, 37 and 74 giving him the first four frames to move 9-2 in front at the interval. Though Higgins replied with a 50 and 33 in the two successive frames , runs of 67 and 33 would help Davis lead 10-4 entering the third session to be played that evening.

A 90 in the opener helped increase the lead to 11-4 before Higgins won the next with a 74, but Davis gradually pulled further away, 75 and 49 giving him a 13-5 interval lead, with 47 and 76 increasing this lead to 15-5, before closing out the match with a session to spare 16-5.

In the final, Davis would meet Cliff Thorburn, himself appearing in the showpiece match for the third time. But this year, things were different, with the crowd urging the match to be close after the emotional heartache of a miscarriage in the family during the event, Thorburn had gone through a rough ride to reach the final, a 13-12 win over Griffiths, a 13-12 win over Kirk Stevens and a 16-15 win over surprising seed Tony Knowles meaning that he had played in total 14 hours more snooker than Davis, and with the Englishman having had Saturday off, he would start favourite.

And so it proved, runs of 48, 60 and 33 giving Davis a comfortable 6-2 lead in the Sunday afternoon session, without playing the best of his competition so far, runs of 33, 30 and 59, would help increase this lead to 9-2 before Thorburn hit back with runs of 33 and 35 to close the gap to 9-4. Davis made 92 in the next to go 10-4 in front and despite a 54 in the fifteenth from Thorburn, Davis would go overnight leading 12-5, and needing 6 of 18 frames to take the title.

The Monday afternoon saw a cagey start with a crucial close opening frame going to Davis 58-53, and the next, followed by runs of 59 and 43, sent Davis into the interval with a 16-5 lead, needing two for victory. A 131 in the first frame after the interval made it 17-5 before Thorburn bravely took the 23rd. However the tiredness was shown in leaving the respotted black close to a pocket, Davis duly dispatched to win the match 18-6, with a session to spare.
Part two which includes Steve’s 1984 and 1987 wins will follow.

Steve Davis’ initial Crucible record
1979: (Q) Rd1 13-11 v Dennis Taylor
1980: (Q) QF 13-9 v Alex Higgins
1981: (13) WINNER 18-12 v Doug Mountjoy
1982: (1) Rd1 10-1 v Tony Knowles
1983: (4) WINNER 18-6 v Cl;iff Thorburn

Tomorrow's champion - Alex Higgins

Re: Past Champions - Alex Higgins

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

Today we take a look back at a certain Hurricane which blew up at the Crucible in 1982.

ALEX HIGGINS NI (1949-2010) Crucible Victory 1982
The People’s champion, the Hurricane, one of the few players who could make even the quietest tournament come to life with the spurt of genius, Alexander Gordon Higgins from Belfast, was one of those players, who despite being just 33 years old in 1982, had been on the circuit for years.

Higgins’ Crucible form was fairly poor compared to other players, despite reaching the final in 1980, he’d only ever won a single match there, and came to the competition in 1982, seeded 11th. A quarter-final of the UK Championships in 1981 followed by a defeat in the Semi-Final against Terry Griffiths hardly suggested that he would go as far as he did come the May 16th conclusion, the latest a World Championship has finished.

His first round draw was against the experienced Jim Meadowcroft, who for all of that had only appeared once at the Crucible before, with a tough quarter including Terry Griffiths, John Spencer and Doug Mountjoy, all players who had done very well at the Crucible in the past, little money was taken beyond Higgins getting to the quarter-finals, still by the time Higgins came to play, the draw had been shaken, Steve Davis, reigning champion and number one seed, was out, 10-1 in the first round. Dennis Taylor 1979 runner up was out 10-7 to an unknown qualifier from South Africa, Silvino Francisco. Fred Davis, 8 time champion of the older era, was gone, 10-7 to Dean Reynolds. And with Griffiths in trouble against Thorne, the prospect of several of the top bracket seeds crashing made the draw seem much more open.

Higgins started losing the opening frame before taking control, from 1-0 down, runs of 36, 58, 67, 45, 42 and 32 helped Higgins win six of the next seven to move 6=-2 infront, and though Meadowcroft took the last, Higgins would hold an overnight lead of three frames. A 66 in the opening frame of the final session increased the lead to 7-3 before Meadowcroft made a brave return to take the next two with runs of 75 and 36. A 31 from Higgins ensured that he would be leading 8-5 at the interval, and victory was wrapped up with a 70 in the last frame.

The draw continued to open up with the demise of Griffiths 10-6 to Thorne and Thorburn 10-4 to White, with six of the 16 seeds out including five of the top 8 in the rankings, the competition now was much more open, considering that Davis and Griffiths had contested nearly every single final going. For Higgins however, a second round match against Mountjoy reminded him of the task still ahead for the 11th seed.
The opening session on the Friday morning was comfortable, with Higgins, not at Hurricane form initially going 3-0 ahead, before runs of 66, 35 and 32 helped increase his lead to 6-2 overnight. With several qualifiers still in the mix, by the time of the second session, Three were already in the quarter-finals, including Thorne, who would be meeting the winner of this match.

Mountjoy, similarly to the 1981 final seemed to find his form only having slipped behind, runs of 34 and 38 helping him take the opening three frames of the session to reduce the score to 6-5, before Higgins responded with a 31 to go two clear at the interval, with both players beginning to score when in, the remaining frames were shared, leaving Higgins to go into Sundays final session with a 9-7 lead. Again, as he had yesterday, Mountjoy responded, taking the first three frames to go in front 10-9, for the first time in the match. Higgins replied with runs of 35, 53 and 57 to go 12-10 in front and within one frame of the match. Back fought Mountjoy, levelling the scores before a 35 from Higgins took him through to the quarter-finals a 13-12 winner.

In the quarter-final with Thorne, attention was now moving towards the Hurricane as the likely finalist from the bottom half of the draw, only he had been to the final, and Stevens who’d been on the one table setup before was beaten by Higgins in the 1980 semi-finals. Thorne opened up with an 86, before 37, 40, 98 and 43 gave Higgins a 3-1 lead at the interval, 61 and 44 from Thorne levelled again, but 42 and 46 meant Higgins led 5-3 at the end of Monday’s session. On Tuesday morning, Thorne hit the second highest break in championship history, a 143, to close the gap to 5-4, and with runs of 37, 34 and 35 was able to level the match at 6-6 by the midsession interval. Runs of 74 and 41 from Higgins would take him 9-6 up, finishing the morning with a 9-7 advantage.

A 45 and 64 would get Higgins flying in the final session, 10-7, with crucial breaks of 30 and 38, keeping the lead, at 11-9 when Thorne had won the previous two. Thorne responded by winning the 21st on the black, but runs of 64 and 68 would take Higgins over the line 13-10, and through to the semi-finals again.
In the semi-final he would meet James Warren White from London, Jimmy as he was known and loved had been in blistering form taking a 6-0 lead against the world number one in winning 10-4, taking out the 1978 finalist 13-6 and then Stevens 13-9. In Higgins, a player more suited to Jimmy’s style, the scene was set for an all-time Crucible classic.

In one of the shortest eight frame sessions ever, taking under two hours as the players entertained the audience on the Wednesday evening, Higgins forged ahead, runs of 40, 31 and 40 giving him a 4-1 lead, before runs of 63, 69 and 44 helping White to level the match at 4-4. The 19 year old, chasing Alex’s record as the youngest World professional champion raced on on Thursday afternoon, 69, 52, 32,33 and 40 giving him an 8-4 lead as Higgins was unable to keep tabs on the scoring. However after the interval, runs of 61 and 40 would help Alex move into Friday’s final two sessions trailing by just one frame.

Again Jimmy moved ahead, a run of 89 in the last frame before the interval giving him an 11-8 ;lead at the interval, commanding given the way he was playing, before runs of 40 and 66 would allow the Hurricane to level at 11-11, setting the final session up nicely. Nip and tuck through the first half of the session, the players went to the interval level at 13-13 before White responded quickest, going 15-13 up, and despite a 72 in the 29th from Higgins, went 59-0 in front before missing a red, with the black at his mercy, effectively match ball.

Then came the genius.

Hardly ever in position, pulling out many shots that a miss would end the campaign for another year, including a blue in to a blind pocket, Higgins somehow roared back, producing the best 69 break ever seen. Shaken and level at 15-15, Jimmy had no answer, a 59 in the decider proving enough for Higgins to win 16-15.

His final opponent would be old sparring partner Ray Reardon. Reardon appearing in his seventh final, seeking a 7th title, had beaten Higgins 27-16 to win the title last time they’d met in the final, and despite runs of 118 and 45 from the Irishman, would take early control here, going 5-3 up at the end of Saturday afternoon. Now under the cosh, Higgins responded as only he could, 39 in the ninth, 33 in the 11th, 39 and 51 in the 12th, 30 and 66 in the 14th, 58 in the 15th and 37 in the 16th, all helping the people’s champion win the session 7-2 to go 10-7 up on Reardon overnight.

Reardon replied well, 95 and 32 in the first two frames of Sunday closed the gap to 10-9 before Higgins, moved back to three up with 35 and 30 in the next two, Reardon responded in taking the next two, before the last two were shared, going into the final session 13-12 up, Higgins was five shy of the title again.
48 and 46 in the opening frame, plus victory in the next moved him to within three of the title at 15-12 before Reardon moved back to 15-15 with 53 in frame 28 and 30 in frame 29. However from 15-15, Higgins sprinted home, 38 and 73 in frame 32 took him 17-15 before 135 total clearance gave him the title 18-15, and with Lynn and Lauren, one of the most enduring climaxes to any World Championship at the Crucible.

Higgins would make a strong defence, reaching the semis in 1983 before losing to Davis, however after that his game began to decline and he never went beyond the second round in Sheffield again. His final appearance, terrificly achieved as a qualifier placed at the bottom of the rankings, would come in 1994, a 10-6 loss to Ken Doherty.

It can now be said, after his death last year, that there will never be another player like the one and only Hurricane – the People’s champion!

Alex Higgins’ Crucible record
1977 (2): Rd1 – 13-12 v Doug Mountjoy
1978 (5): Rd1 13=-12 v Patsy Fagan
1979 (7): QF 13-12 v Terry Griffiths
1980 (9): FINAL 18-16 v Cliff Thorburn
1981 (4): Rd2 13-8 v Steve Davis
1982 (11): WINNER 18-15 v Ray Reardon
1983 (1): SF 16-5 v Steve Davis
1984 (5): Rd1 10-9 v Neal Foulds
1985 (9): Rd2 13-7 v Terry Griffiths
1986 (9): Rd2 13-12 v Terry Griffiths
1987 (7): Rd2 13-10 v Terry Griffiths
1988 (9): Rd1 10-2 v Tony Drago
1989 failed to qualifiy
1990 (Q): Rd1 10-5 v Steve James
1991 Banned
1992-93 failed to qualify
1994 (Q): Rd1 10-6 v Ken Doherty

Tomorrow we look at Steve Davis' triumphs from 1984 and 1987

Re: Past Champions - Alex Higgins

Postby Wildey

god Terry Griffiths was the rubbish in the fan of Alex Higgins in the 80s.

the biggest pity about Alex was it took him to come along to transform the game that we never really got to see his true capabilities on the TV.

Taking nothing away from Terry he was a great player 10 years after his last win against Alex at the Crucible he came close to beat Mark Williams thats how great a player he was but Alex in the mid 80s had so much self inflicted persanal problems and was a shaddow of the man that only 3 years before was World Champion.

Alex did have a mini revival late 80s with 2 Ranking Finals and of course the Irish Masters win but at a much slower pace than his best.

Re: Past Champions - Steve Davis Pt2/3

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

Today we take a look back at the Nugget's 1984 and 1987 triumphs

STEVE DAVIS ENG (1957-) Crucible Victories 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989

Part Two

Steve came to Sheffield in 1984 top of the ranking list and set to remain there for a considerable amount of time. For the first time ever, the rankings would be calculated on four different tournaments, with the World Championships being granted most weight given the nature of the number of frames required to win. However, attempts to regain the UK Championship had failed, losing 16-15 against Higgins from 7-0 up, Davis declared he’d never lose another game like that for the rest of his career (prophetic indeed) – and the Masters campaign had come to an end in the quarter-finals. Despite this, wins at the Classic, the International Masters and the International open meant that going to Sheffield despite there being three other world champions in the same quarter, he would be number one seed, and firm favourite to take the title if he could defend it.

Opening up on Saturday morning, Davis had the benefit of a kinder draw against Warren King, a young Australian, making his debut at the Crucible. Considerably more nervous than he had been against Knowles, Davis comfortably won the match early on, runs of 58, 33, 30, 37 and 46 a;ll coming in winning frames to give the champion a 6-2 first session lead, runs of 38 and 33 in the ninth making the lead 7-2, and the run of seven on the bounce continued to 9=-2 by which time a 67 from King proved a mere consolation, Davis hit a 36 to close the match in the first frame after the interval to win 10-3.

Steve’s next match would be up against 16th seed, and the first man to win the title here at the Crucible. John Spencer’s form in round 1 had been impressive, taking an early 6-0 lead, and wrapping up the match with Graham Miles 10-3. Facing Steve for the first time in Sheffield, Davis was up against someone with a better World Championship record than his, but not a greater Crucible record, considering Spencer was in his 16th year as a professional, to Davis’ 7th.

Davis made the immediate running on the Thursday evening, runs of 41 and 31 giving him a 3-0 lead, followed by a 67 to increase the lead to 4-1, a 51 in the final frame being enough to give him a considerable four frame lead, entering Friday morning’s session at 6-2 in front. On that Friday morning Spencer was the quicker to settle, runs of 31 and 67 reducing the arrears to two frames before Davis moved into one of those runs which made him so difficult to play in his prime, runs of 49, 60, 31, 100 and 95 giving him 10-4 advantage and despite a revival from Spencer with a 78, Davis would go into the Friday evening session with an 11-5 margin.

Davis wasted little time in winning through, a 39 in the opening frame of the evening increasing the lead to 12-5, responding to a Spencer 41. In the 18th frame a 92 would secure his place in the quarter-finals, a 13-5 winner over Spencer. Setting up a quarter-final with Terry Griffiths in what was becoming a tight championship, all eight players in the last eight had played in the one table set up before.
Similarly to his performance against Spencer, Davis set off in great form, 94 in the first, 31 in the second and 45 in the third to go 3-0 up. However, against a former world champion, and one who’d dropped less frames than Davis in reaching the quarter-finals, Davis had to settle for the bit part role as Griffiths made runs of 34, 82, 41, 81, 30 and 35 to go 5-3 in front at the end of the Tuesday morning session. Having seen the lead extended to 6-3, Davis responded with 74, 53 and 36 in four frames to lead once again at 7-6, after Griffiths won the 14th frame, the last two were shared leaving the scores at 8-8 entering the Wednesday morning final session.

Griffiths took the opening frame, but Davis recovered, with breaks of 31 and 41 being the high-notes to go 12-9 in front, and despite Terry winning the next frame, Davis was through 13-10 and in the semi-finals once again.

For the third time in his Crucible career, Steve Davis would meet Dennis Taylor. The change in the ranking rules had coincided with a better season for the Irishman who otherwise was on the verge of going out of the top 16 before the Crucible. Wins over Joe Johnson 10-1, John Parrott, a young 19 year old from Liverpool 13-11 and Doug Mountjoy 13-8 had taken Taylor to the last four once again. On Thursday, Davis made breaks of 36, 61, 48 and 52 in the opening 4 frames but went to the interval level with Taylor at 2-2. Despite taking the next two, and a 43 in the last, Davis would finish the day 4-3 in front, given the way Davis had played 5-2 may have been a fairer scoreline.

Beginning Friday with a frame advantage Davis increased his lead to 7-3 with runs of 70, 38 and 91 before Taylor got the ;last frame before the interval to reduce the gap to three frames, a 38 in the next frame made it 7-5, before runs of 65, 76 and 32 helped Davis restore the initial four frame cushion he’d opened up at the start of this session, a lead of 9-5 entering Friday night. A 47 in the opening frame of the third session increased the lead to 10-5 before a 66 from Taylor made it 10-6, a 98 in the next, followed by winning the last frame before the interval increased Davis’’ lead to 12-6 at the interval, a 56 in frame 19 making the scoreline 13-6 before Taylor made runs of 36, 30 and 32 to ensure that the match would go to a fourth session. Two breaks of 41 would give Davis a 14-8 overnight lead, requiring just two frames for a place in his third final.

A 48 in the opening frame on Saturday afternoon took the score to 15-8 before Taylor made a 30 to close the gap to six frames, despite a 44 in the next from Taylor, Davis would win the 25th frame 70-50 to win 16-9 and book a place against Jimmy White in the final.

White’s run as 11th seed started with a 10-6 win over Rex Williams before a 13-7 win over Eddie Charlton in round two. Dispatching Thorburn 13-8 in the quarter-finals and Kirk Stevens 16-14 in the semi-finals, this would be Jimmy’s first (and most definitely not last) final at the Crucible, chasing the record, White knew this was his last chance.

Given White had never made it to the final, the nerves were his and Davis with runs of 44, 50 and 37 confidently made a 3-0 lead, and other than White taking the fourth, Runs of 32, 62 and 51 wrapped up the afternoon for Davis with a 6-1 lead, considering that last years’ final had been won with a session to spare, White would need to recover quickly to avoid the ignominy of a second final on the trot finished by Monday teatime.

The evening session was just as problematic, as Davis with runs of 47 and 44 in the opening two frames quickly increased his lead to 8-1, before Jimmy responded to take two of the next three, but Davis would sill be 9-3 at the interval. Runs of 36 and 84 in the thirteenth took Davis beyond the halfway mark to 10-3 and a 33 in the final frame cancelled out White’s reply in frame 14. For the second final in a row, Davis would be 2/3 of the way home, against somebody who though he’d been better in the evening session, was still 8 frames behind at 4-12, and unfancied to take the match much beyond the afternoon session.

White though, sensing that he now had very little to lose in having to win 14-5 or better on the day, got going, a 119 started the day off by closing the gap to 12-5, 37, 36 and 30 helped put another two on the board, to now go 12-7, and ensure the final session. A 51 from Davis would restore the gap to 13-7, but runs of 48, 32 and 35 would see White take the remaining frames after the interval to win the session 7-1, and to now trail 13-=11 going into the final session. The 51 from Davis had been his only contribution of 30 or more, compared to 11 on day one.

The final session began with Davis, with the chance to take stock of the new situation won the first frame to go 14-11, a 63 in the next helped Steve go 15-11, and despite a 41 winning the 27th for White, victory in the 28th frame meant he would reach the interval with a 16-12 lead, needing two of the final 7 frames.

White responded however, 64 in the 29th, 72 in the 30th and 53 in the 31st narrowing the gap, but despite making a 35 in the 32nd, Davis held on to take the frame by four points, going to 17-15. A 65 in the 33rd frame helped White close the gap to one frame but Davis would make a 32 in the last frame, to cling on for a hard, a determined 18-16 victory, becoming the first man to defend his crown at the Crucible.

After final defeats in 1985 and 1986, Davis came to the Crucible in 1987 still yet to add to the 1984 title, despite being part of a successful Doubles team, and accumulating a 5th UK Championship with a 16-7 win over Neal Foulds the potential successors once again lined up in 1987, ready to go for the title he wanted so desperately back. If in 1985, it had been a major surprise that he could lose a final from 8-0 and 9-1 up, 1986 had proven that he was beatable, Johnson pulling away from 8-8 to beat Davis 18-12. However, Johnson’s year as champion had been a poor one, and few expected him to beat Eugene Hughes in round 1 the following year. Davis, playing on the other side of the curtain had drawn Warren King, making his second appearance at Sheffield, meeting Davis once again.

After taking the first frame by a point, Davis got into the rhythm that had won him three World titles, runs of 30 and 61 helping contribute to a 4-0 interval lead for the former champion, a 38 in the fifth however was not enough to prevent King from getting onto the scoreboards, however runs of 70 and 68 helped Davis increase his lead to 7-1 before King took the last of the morning’s play to trail 7-2. A 59 in the opening frame narrowed the gap to 7-3, before Davis restored the lead with a 47. However, runs of 52, 42, 36, 65, 47, and 37 in the four frames either side of the interval reduced the lead to 8-7, and with King now holding the momentum, the question now was whether King could pull off the shock, especially from five frames behind.

The answer would be no, as despite having opportunities in the next two frames, Davis’ runs of 63 and 33 would be enough to secure a 10-7 win, I hate the first round would be the former champions declaration.
In the second round, Davis would meet Ray Reardon who had slipped to 15th in the rankings and provisionally would have to win the title to ensure a return for the 1987-88 season. Provisionally ranked 38th in the list, Reardon had suffered a dreadful season, but a 10-5 win over Barry West in the first round had taken him through the first round, for what would prove to be the final time. Up against the ‘young pretender’ Reardon knew that he would relish the match, even if he wasn’t going to win. A positive start for the six time champion saw him go 3-1 up at the interval, however breaks of 54, 30, 40 and 78 gave Davis a 5-3 lead at the end of Thursday’s play.

Friday afternoon would see Davis at his best as Reardon was unable to score, breaks of 40, 76, 74, 41, 55, 32, 54 and 32 would give Davis the opening seven frames to move 12-3 in front, having only scored 92 points to Davis’ 601, Reardon would make his final Crucible century, a 100, to take the last frame of the day, to avoid ending his career at Sheffield with a session to spare. But, on Saturday morning a 49 break from Davis was enough to quickly close the match out, 13-4, and Davis was now one of three champions to reach the last eight.

In the quarter-finals he would be meeting one of those two former champions, Terry Griffths had been in good form en route, wins over Jim Wych 10-4 and Alex Higgins 13-10 had taken him to the last eight for the sixth time in nine World championship campaigns. Davis, beginning favourite against the 10th seed, took the opening three frames without needing to extend himself too far, a run of 35 giving the lead, however, Griffiths from 0-3 got to 3-3 with strong form, 33, 31, 71 and 38 levelling the match before a 65 from Davis would make the score 4-3 overnight.

On Wednesday morning, Davis moved to 6-3 with breaks of 46 and 69, and after a 47 in the next from Griffiths made 38 and 32 in the next two to increase his lead to 8-4. With a 54 from Griffiths reducing the gap to three breaks of 56, 30 and 62 from Davis would take the final two frames to go into the Wednesday night session 10-5 up with ten to play. From this position Davis would not be stopped, breaks of 62, 86 and 51 taking the three frames needed to go through 13-5, into the semi-finals for the fifth year in a row.

In the semi-finals he would meet White, who had beaten Dean Reynolds 10-8, John Parrott 13-11 and Dene O’Kane (in his first quarter-final at Sheffield, having beaten Cliff Thorburn on the way) 13-6 (having led 8-0).
In a tight opening session with little to separate the two, Davis would go in front with a 56 before White responded with breaks of 88 and 36. Breaks of 38, 65 and 32 sent Davis back in front at 3-2, before White would regain the lead with a 76. A 93 in the final session of Thursday evening being enough for Steve to level the scores and go 4-4 overnight. In the second session, runs of 32x2, 59, 36 and 98 in the opening pre interval frames would give Davis the chance to steer clear, and lead 8-4, at the break, and though White would take the 13th with a 96, breaks of 68 and 43 would give Davis a 9-6 lead at the halfway stage going into Saturday’s final sessions.

With the momentum, Davis continued, two breaks of 31 helped him nick the first frame after White had made a 73, a break of 67 in the third frame of the day gave Davis a 12-6 lead, before White fought back, breaks of 32 and 67 closing the gap to 12-8, a 65 in the 21st frame taking the score to 13-8 before White made 119 in the last, to finish the session 13-9 behind entering the nine-frame final session which he had to win at worst 7-2. A 30 gave White the necessary start before breaks of 35 and 46 would take Davis to the brink of the final at 15-10, a 68 from White delaying the victory, secured 16-11 with a 74 in the 27th frame.

The final would be against Joe Johnson, reigning champion and probably the most unlikely soul to return the 35 frame showpiece given his seasons form, losing early in each round, Johnson came to the Crucible knowing Eugene Hughes was the odds on favourite to complete the miserable year with a first round exit in Sheffield, but having won 10-9 against Hughes, Joe beat Murdo McLeod 13-7 in the last 16 before going 8-1 in front on Stephen Hendry in the last eight, however the future champion Roared back to 9-7 down and 12-12 before Johnson held on to win in the final frame. In the last four victory over friend Neal Foulds 16-9 would send him into the final, and so far, the best attempt at breaking the curse.

Davis would start the match off with a 127 – the high break winner of 1987, before Johnson replied with breaks of 42, 40 and 50 to go 3-1 up at the interval, Davis levelled with breaks of 69 and 46 but Johnson would finish the session with a 4-3 lead, after a 36. In the evening session breaks of 60, 66, 44 and 35 would see Davis regain the lead 6-4 and despite a century from Johnson, victory followed by an 84 would see Davis go 8-5 in front, a 73 would narrow this gap but a 51 in the final frame Steve won on day 1 would ensure that he led 9-7 overnight. In contrast to the 8-8 scoreline 12 months ago. However, considering Johnson had won the final day 10-4, it couldn’t be considered that Davis had the match won.

A 44 from Johnson in the opening frame on Monday closed the gap to 9-8 before Davis began to pull away, to edge closer to his 4th world title, breaks of 69, 41, 39, 41, 39, 47, 52, 38 and 39 would help Davis take five of the next six to go 14-9 in front before Johnson took the final frame of the afternoon to be four behind going into the Monday night session. Breaks of 52, 62 and 42 would bring Johnson back from the brink, reducing Davis’ advantage to 14-13 before the Essexman made breaks of 64, 40, 30, 73, 34 and 53 to go 17-13. After breaks of 35,44 and 39, it could be argued he would have won the match by now.

The champion, seeing the trophy no one had expected him to have a prayer in defending bravely won the 31st to make the score 17-14, before a 78 in the final frame gave Davis an 18-14 victory, and a 4th world title in Diamond Jubilee year.

Steve Davis’ Crucible record 1984-87
1984: (1) WINNER 18-16 v Jimmy White
1985: (1) FINAL 18-17 v Dennis Taylor
1986: (2) FINAL 18-12 v Joe Johnson
1987: (2) WINNER 18-14 v Joe Johnson

Tomorrow, we go back to a certain champion from Coalisland

Re: Past Champions - Dennis Taylor

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

Today we take a look back 26 years at the remarkable triumph of the champion from Coalisland.

DENNIS TAYLOR NI (1949-) Crucible Victory 1985
If ever anybody would be a truly popular winner at the Crucible, then the Irishman Dennis Taylor would be that man. On the circuit for 13 years, and four times semi-finalist in the World Championships, he came to the 1985 event seeded number 11, having lately begun to improve his ranking having reached the semi-finals in 1984 to stay in the top 16, victory in the Rothmans Grand P[rix 10-2 over Cliff Thorburn in October ensured he’d stay in the 16 after the tournament. All of this coming within seven months of talking with Ted Lowe about retiring at the end of the 83/84 season, given he felt with his eye-sight further deteriorating he would fall down the rankings quickly once the four, later six tournaments were ranked by the WPBSA.

The achievement of winning his first tournament after 13 years as a professional enhanced by personal sadness. Having reached the quarter-finals of the Jamesons International in September, Taylor received word that Annie, his mother had died suddenly in Coalisland. A proud Catholic and proud family man, Dennis immediately conceded his quarter-final to go back to Coalisland and decided that he wouldn’t play snooker for a while. It was only his father to insisted he kept his commitment to play at Reading, and the title brought an emotional celebration with Brendan.

The closeness of Annie and Dennis was clear, - as the final in 1985 reached its conclusion his four sisters would pray to their late mother, one confidently saying about Davis ‘He wont get it because Mammy wont let it'

Despite winning the Rothmans, Taylor’s form dipped as maiden professional winners do, however wins in the Irish Championship and the World Cup for Ireland certainly meant that he would go to Sheffield in form. And when on the day of the match a scandal involving opponent Silvino Francisco was printed in the press involving comments about Kirk Stevens in the British Open final, Taylor’s difficult match would prove considerably easier than it would appear on paper. Taylor in good form, made breaks of 54, 31, 35, 67, 40, 50 and 92 in taking the opening six frames of the match, and with a 128 clearance ensured he finished the first session 8-1 in front of the South African. A 50 in the tenth frame increased the lead to 9-1 before a 66 from Francisco put a frame on the board. Taylor finishing the match a 10-2 victor and setting out a mark against the rest of the field, including Davis who chasing the hattrick had been taken to 8-8 against Neal Foulds before winning 10-8.

In the second round, Dennis' opponent would be Eddie Charlton. Charlton had been in similarly decent form, a 10-3 winner over John Campbell to reach the last 16 once again. Breaks of 31 and 36 helped Taylor go 4-1 up on the Australian before Eddie replied to go 4-3, a 39 from Taylor in the final frame of the session giving him a 5-3 margin going into Saturday morning. Runs of 32 and 36 would make it 6-3 before Charlton managed to close the gap to 6-5. However runs of 65, 35 and 49 punctuated by 34 and 33 from Charlton would help Taylor steer clear of the Australian and go 10-6 heading into the final session.

In the final session Taylor would be as clinical as he had been all throughout the tournament so far, breaks of 94 in frame 17, 36 in frame 18 and 30 in frame 19 brought him the frames necessary to wrap up the victory by 13-6, and to take a place in the quarter-finals for the second year running.

His quarter-final opponent Cliff Thorburn had been in similar form in round two, Having trailed 6-1 against Mike Hallett in the first round, Thorburn roared back to win 10-8. In the second round a 13-3 drubbing of Bill Werbeniuk sent the man set to become world number 2 after the tournament into the last eight once again. Playing on Monday morning, Taylor hit runs of 35 and 32 in a slow paced session to 4-0 up before Thorburn managed to get back to 4-2 with a break of 49. In the extended evening session which would play 9 frames, Thorburn reduced the score to 4-3 before Taylor went to 6-3. Despite Thorburn winning the tenth, Taylor made breaks of 37 in both frames 11 and 12 to go 8-4, finishing the session leading 10-5.
On Tuesday afternoon there would be no way back for the Grinder, Breaks of 33 and 70 giving Taylor the match 13-5. In the final run of five frames in a row to win the match, Taylor conceded 82 points to Thorburns 313.

In the semi-final he would meet Tony Knowles, at this stage of the tournament for the second time, and needing a good run to prevent slipping down the world rankings. Having defeated Tony Jones 10-8, Doug Mountjoy 13-6 and Jimmy White 13-10, Knowles had scored heavily and responded when in trouble.
The Wednesday evening would see Knowles make the better start, a break of 61 giving him a 2-0 lead before Taylor responded with breaks of 45, 83, 117 and 45 to take the next five frames to go 5-2, before Knowles would win the last of the session to trail 5-3. Thursday’s play began with the knowledge that Davis at 9-5 in a commanding lead over Ray Reardon would be the likely final opponent for the winner. Taylor, now confident made runs of 31, 32, 43 and 47 to take the first four frames to go 9-3. Having now lost 9 of the last ten frames, Knowles responded by taking the 13th frame before Taylor took the 14th to go 10-4. With Knowles winning the 15th and final frame of the session, Taylor would have a five frame lead going into Friday’s scheduled two sessions.

With Steve Davis now a 16-5 winner, the onus on both players was to try and win the match quickly enough to be able to face the champion. Breaks of 48 and 31 in the first two along with a break of 39 in the fourth frame would take the lead to 14-5 in Taylor’s favour. Now almost certainly the winner, Taylor made breaks of 58 and 85 in the final two frames to take the session wipeout to win 16-5, meaning both Semi-Finalists had played 21 frames to win their matches.

With Davis chasing the title, and Taylor, one of the season’s best players, back in the final after six years, the crowd waited for 2pm on the Saturday ahead of the final.

Dennis would make the early running with a break of 50 in the first frame, however, Davis, having made comfortable starts in both 1983 and 1984 made breaks of 45, 35, 87, 33, 55, 66 and 58 to finish the session with a 7-0 lead. The first time in the World Championships at the Crucible that a player had won the first session of the final 7-0. Taylor had made 117 points in the session, with 50 of those coming in the first frame.

Being a Catholic, Taylor according to folklore went over to St. Marie’s Cathedral for Saturday evening Mass before heading back to the Crucible over the road for the second session. Taylor, aware that Thoburn had lost 18-6 two years ago and that Davis had won 16-5 on Thursday now had a molehill to climb. Breaks of 64 and 57 for Davis in frame eight quickly made the score 8-0 and when Davis was in the balls in the ninth, missed the green to go 9-0, had he won that, as he won the 10th a 10-0 lead could have told a different story of a different final. Taylor won win the frame on the pink, and having lost the tenth took a close run 11th to trail 9-2, where he could have been 10-1 or 11-0 behind.

The interval at the Crucible has been said to change a match, as well as a final, and Taylor came out for the second half of the session with the knowledge that he had to win it to have any remote chance of getting back into the match. He said years later that he felt that unless he could get to 10-6 that he would have to make the match a respectable spectacle and that if he went 12-4 or 13-3 down, he would have to fight to make it go to Sunday evening. Breaks of 61, 98, 70, 56, 44 and 40 certainly helped him win the half-session, taking it 5-0 and the session 7-2, meant that he was now back in the final at 9-7 behind, having won six in a row, the momentum would be firmly with Dennis entering the final day.

A 53 in the opening frame closed the gap to 9-8 before Davis recovered with breaks of 46 and 32, to go 11-8 despite Taylor making runs of 38 and 40. Breaks of 48, 57 and 55 levelled the score at 11-11 and from 8-0 down, Taylor was now on equal terms. Having made breaks of at least 38 in each of the last eleven frames. A 44 in the 23rd frame would not be enough to go 12-11 as Davis took the frame on the pink, taking the last to share the session to go 13-11 in front entering the last session due to start in 40 minutes time.

An 86 from Davis made it 14-11 before a 61 from Taylor made it 14-12. A 66 in the third frame of the session made it 15-12 and gave Davis a commanding cushion given that there was now eight frame to play.

Taylor responded with breaks of 70, 57 and 79 to get level once again at 15-15, but Davis as a champion does ensures that he wouldn’t roll over, breaks of 46, 48 and 35 giving him the next two before breaks of 42 and 57 would give Taylor the 33rd and 34th frames to go level at 17-17 and send the title to a final frame.
Taylor would start by going 29-19 infront before Davis replied, a break of 25 sending him 15 in front, he extended the lead on the colours to go 62-44 with the final four colours remaining. Having responded so magnificently throughout the tournament, could Dennis, now back again firmly against the wall responded. A magnificent brown, followed by a difficult blue, plus the pink of the cushion sent the match to the black. Which he missed by a fraction, fortunately getting it safe. In arguably the best pressure safety ever played, Davis doubles the black up and down the spots.

Taylor now tried to double the black to the top pocket, missed, saw the black miss the baulk pocket and watched the black slowly roll past the middle pocket to go safe once again. A doublekiss from Davis gave Taylor the first chance to pot the black but with the biggest twitch ever seen at the Crucible, he left Davis a chance to sink the black to win the title again.

The next shot has never been forgotten since, not least by Davis who overcut the black and left Taylor with the simplest of pots for frame, match and championship. Cue the raising the cue and the wagging of the finger.

'To beat Cliff Thorburn who’s one of the best players in the world, and to beat Steve Davis who is the best player in the world there’s not much you can say really.... but I’m the best this year’

Taylor’s run to the final saw him drop 18 frames, a record which has never been broken, Davis dropped 20 in 1989, Hendry 20 in 1993 and Williams 19 in 2003, but nobody has beaten Dennis’ record. His defence ended in losing the first seven frames against Mike Hallett and though he recovered from 8-1 down to 8-6 he went 10-6. Though he didn’t really threaten the big tournaments (other the 1987 Masters) again, he remains a the most popular champion at the Crucible. His final appearance came in 1994 and a 10-6 loss to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round. Becoming the last person of the original top 16 to lose that status.

Dennis Taylor’s Crucible Record
1977: (Q) SF 18-16 v Cliff Thorburn
1978: (4) Rd1 13-9 v Fred Davis
1979: (8) FINAL 24-16 v Terry Griffiths
1980: (6) Rd2 13-10 v Jim Wych
1981: (6) QF 13-8 v Doug Mountjoy
1982: (5) Rd1 10-7 v Silvino Francisco
1983: (13) Rd2 13-11 v Steve Davis
1984: (13) SF 16-9 v Steve Davis
1985: (11) WINNER 18-17 v Steve Davis
1986: (1) Rd1 10-6 v Mike Hallett
1987: (4) Rd2 13-10 v Neal Foulds
1988: (8) Rd2 13-5 v Tony Drago
1989: (10) Rd2 13-10 v John Parrott
1990: (8) Rd1 10-8 v Neal Foulds
1991: (10) QF 13-7 v Steve Davis
1992: (9) Rd1 10-6 v Mick Price
1993: (11) QF 13-8 v Jimmy White
1994: (15) Rd1 10-6 v Ronnie O’Sullivan

Tomorrow, we go back to look at Steve Davis' wins from 1988 and 1989

Re: Past Champions - Steve Davis

Postby PLtheRef

2011 will see ten past Crucible champions not competing at the Crucible this year; Spencer, Reardon, Griffths, Thorburn, Davis, Higgins, Taylor, Johnson, Parrott and Doherty.

Over the final days before the World Championship begins, I take a look back at each of them, in turn of their title.

Today we take a look back at Steve Davis' fifth and sixth wins at the Crucible

STEVE DAVIS ENG (1957-) Crucible Victories 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989

Part Three

With a 6th United Kingdom Championship in the eleven years the tournament had been staged, coupled with a 9-0 whitewash of Mike Hallett to win his second Masters title, Davis came to the Crucible in 1988 with not the easiest opening tie, but still remained a very warm favourite to go and take his fifth crown.
Starting with runs of 31 and 85 to take the first against John Virgo, WPBSA chairman, but Virgo recovered to go 2-1 in front. Breaks of 41 and 34 helped Davis go 4-2 in front but it would be breaks of 36 and 42 in the final frame of the session which would be the key, as Davis won the frame to go 5-4 in front at the end of the session. Breaks of 38, 47 and 43 at the start of the evening extended this lead into a comfortable 8-4 advantage and though Virgo won the next, a 75 in the 14th frame would put Davis 9-5 up. However, Davis known for being a struggler to get over the line, broke down twice in the next three frames when looking good to sew up the match, as Virgo got nearer and nearer, the possibility of the match going close occurred when a 47 helped Virgo close the gap to 9-8. However a 41 in the 18th would be enough for Steve to go through a 10-8 winner.

His last 16 opponent would be Mike Hallett, who he had beaten 9-0 to win the Masters. Hallett had been in good form with a run to the last 8 in Sheffield last year, taking him to 16th in the rankings and hence 16th seed. Davis opened up the match on the first Thursday evening with breaks of 31, 57 and 34 to go 3-0 up before Hallett made a 70 to close the gap to 3-1. However, unlike Virgo who had got to Davis early, Hallett had no answer for the rest of Thursday scoring just 52 points after the interval as Davis, helped with breaks of 62 and 42 took a 7-1 lead into Friday mornings session. With a big lead, Davis was known to run riot and with a crushing win over Hallett freshly in mind, breaks of 91, 44, 39, 57, 37, 32, 49 and 106 gave Steve the six necessary frames to win 13-1, the first ever instance of that score at the Crucible, and remains the joint record for a best of 25 frame margin at the Crucible.

In the quarter-finals, Davis would meet the young Maltese player Tony Drago. Drago was known as a danger to Steve, he had led 8-7 and been in on the colours in the 1986 UK Quarter-finals before he missed matchball, Now in only his second major TV ranking event, Drago had shocked Sheffield with a 10-2 drubbing of Alex Higgins in round one, sending the Irishman out of the top 16, as well as a 13-5 hammering of Dennis Taylor in the quarter-finals, Davis had been lethal in dropping nine frames en route to the last eight, Drago had lost seven. The more experienced of the two in relation to these conditions, Davis quickly got to work, breaks of 35, 53 and 60 helping him to a 3-1 advantage at the first interval, despite losing the fifth, breaks of 53, 79 and 70 took the final three frames of the session to end Tuesday morning with a 6-2 advantage. A break of 69 helping him to 7-2 before a 30 from the Malteser closing the gap to 7-3. With the experience of winning these distance matches before, Davis turned the screw, breaks of 86 and 49 giving him a 9-3 advantage at the interval. Winning a frame he should have lost took the match to 10-3 and affected the temperament of the younger player. Breaks of 53 and 66 took the match to 12-3 before Drago, responding bravely to a 61 which would put him under pressure made breaks of 33 to win the final frame of the day and to close the match to 12-4.

Wednesday morning quickly settled the match, a break of 60 giving Davis the 17th to win the match 13-4.
His semi-final opponent would be Cliff Thorburn, Thorburn down at 4th in the rankings after a lean showing at Sheffield in 1987 had come through a tricky second section of the draw with victories over Kirk Stevens 10-6, John Parrott 13-10 and Steve James 13-11 to reach the last four for the sixth time. Arguably the only player who could compete with Davis in terms of experience, Cliff won an edgy first frame. However, with the confidence of winning his previous games with much to spare, took command breaks of 55 and 104 giving him a 4-1 lead before Thorburn took the last two frames of Thursday’s session.

Davis won the eighth frame before a 69 in frame 10 helped Thorburn get level at 5-5, breaks of 31 and 30 helped Steve go to 6-5 before a 32 from Cliff levelled the scores once again, Davis making breaks of 65 and 36 would take the final two frames of the session to go 8-6 up entering Friday evening’s third session. Breaks here of 47, 69 and 40 would take the Nuggets lead to 11-6 before Thorburn took the next two with breaks of 77 and 49. From 11-8 however Davis would pull away again, winning frame 20 by a point, and the remaining two to go 14-8 overnight and needing just 2 of the remaining nine frames.
Davis quickly ended proceedings on the Saturday, breaks of 65 and 37 gave him a 15-8 lead, which without much difficulty in the 24th frame was converted into a 16-8 win.

His final opponent would be Terry Griffiths. Champion in 1979 and having dominated the early 80s alongside Davis, 1988 would be surprisingly Terry’s first appearance on the one-table set up at the Crucible since. Having defeated Steve Longworth 10-1, Willie Thorne 13-9, Neal Foulds 13-9 and Jimmy White 16-11, all with relative comfort, this had been Griffiths first real run towards the title in years, and most reckoned that though Davis would be favourite, Griffiths would be one of those likely to run him close.

A break of 41 would not be enough for Steve to take the first frame, breaks of 33, 30 and 61 however would see him take early command, a 5-1 advantage which was settled for 5-2 at the end of the afternoon. Griffiths fighting back took the first of the evening to make it 5-3 before Steve made breaks of 83 and 81 to go 7-3 in front. Terry responded magnificently, breaks of 30, 49, 63, 55 and 57 helping him to level the scores at 7-7 and though a 67 from Davis would make it 8-7, Griffiths would be level thanks to a 42 and 65 in the final frame of the evening.
Griffiths said that he would have happily played the full 35 frames on the Sunday evening, given the way he had played, he knew that the break in play would allow plenty of time for Davis to refocus ahead of the effectively best of 19 showdown now ahead. Davis went out for an early walk on Monday morning to clear his head, with the first frames going to Davis, an 11-8 lead showing that it had worked. Terry won the next, but breaks of 33 and 36 allowed Davis to create the clear daylight which he had held early on Sunday evening, a lead of 13-9 becoming a 14=-10 end of session advantage entering the final Monday evening. Breaks of 46 and 118 would give him a 16-10 lead, and though a 37 from Griffiths would make it 16-11, it would prove futile response to Davis, who won the match with breaks of 123 and 66 to take the title for the fifth time 18-11.

Compared to 1988, Davis headed for Sheffield in 1989 'in the worst form of my life', having been hammered 9-3 by young Scot Stephen Hendry in the UK Championship, as well as the ‘Wee Bairn’ taking his Masters crown, Davis’ main initial interest going into the 17 day marathon would be the relatively comfortable draw with he being the only one of the initial mini-section of four to have ever won a single game at the Crucible.
Steve’s campaign began with a shaky opening, taking two frames to find his feet before breaks of 54, 56, 41, 106, 36, 124 and 83 would give the defending champion a 7-2 lead over Welsh debutante Steve Newbury.

Newbury surprised the Crucible once again in the evening with breaks of 30, 53 and 30 closing the gap to 7-5, and even though he made a 47 in the last frame before the interval, Davis would sneak it, and after the interval, breaks of 70 and 84 would give him a 10-5 win and a place in round two. His opponent in the last 16 would be another Debutante. Steve Duggan had shocked the Crucible with a 10-1 drubbing of Cliff Wilson, seeded 16th in the first round. However in facing the champion, Duggan had little response, Davis making breaks of 34, 38, 48, 47 and 36 to go 6-0 up before a 59 break ensured that again he would go 7-1 overnight in the second round. Breaks of 65 and 30 on Friday morning would see Davis go to 9-1 up, and despite losing the 11th, Breaks of 46, 45, 49 and 59 would take the champion to the brink at 12-2, before an 84 from Duggan would allow him to sign off his only appearance at the Crucible with a little class. Davis wrapped up the match with a session to spare with a 13-3 win.

In the quarter-finals, Davis would meet Mike Hallett again, having enjoyed a good 1987-88 season Mike would be seeded 9th. And facing the man who’d given him two drubbings in the previous season, he was determined to show 'Steve what I can really do this time'.

On the Tuesday morning Davis would produce a superb session of near perfect snooker. Breaks of 44, 128, 56, 34, 59 and 44 would give him a 7-0 lead, before Hallett finally responded with breaks of 33, and 91 to finish the session 7-1 behind. In the Tuesday evening, breaks of 33 and 62 would take Davis’ lead to 11-1 before Hallett took the 13th frame. Steve made 87 to go 12-2 before Hallett made a brilliant 133 to close the gap to only nine frames. Davis again winning the match with a session to spare, to earn a day off on the Wednesday 13-3.

In the semi-finals, Davis would meet Stephen Hendry, who’s promise had finally rose to fruition with a 4th place in the world rankings. Appearing in the World semi-finals for the first time however he would show himself to be nervous as Davis went 2-0 early on and thanks to breaks of 55, 31, 32 and 68 would increase this lead to 5-2 by the end of the session.

On Friday, Davis would pull away to go out of sight of the Former British Open champion, breaks of 30, 48, 62 and 33 would take Steve to a 10-2 lead before breaks of 42 and 64 would avoid the whitewash for Hendry, who now trailed 10-4 going into the third session. A revival from the Scot took place at the start of the Friday evening session, breaks of 34 and 32 closed the gap to 10-6, and though he lost the next on a respotted black a 30 in frame 18 woul;d close the gap to 11-7 at the interval. Davis made runs of 30 and 33 to go 12-7 before Hendry made breaks of 139 and 69 to close the gap to three frames. Davis stealing the final frame to finish the day with a four frame cushion, greater than when he had started it, but Hendry winning the session 5-3, had shown Davis that he would have to remain en guarde if he was to win through to the final.

Feeling fresher, Davis quickly sealed the match, breaks of 63, 71, 54 and 40 giving him the three frames needed for victory 16-9 and a place in the final against John Parrott. Parrott's run to the final had been an emotional one, with the tragic news of the Hillsborough disaster overshadowing his mental state to play the 17 day marathon, Parrott was determined to win the title for the people of Liverpool. A Nervy 10-9 win over Steve James got the ball rolling before former champion Dennis Taylor would be despatched 13-10. Impressive wins 13-7 over Jimmy White and a 16-7 win over Tony Meo would take him through to the final.

In the final, rarely has one player dominated a match as much, Davis now one match away from equalling the modern day record of Reardon dominated the scoring in the opening session with breaks of 34, 51, 36, 32, 42, 35, 61 and 36 helping him to a 5-2 lead over Parrott, for whom breaks of 49 and 46 would only help him keep up. In the evening, as he had done in his early matches, Davis pulled away, breaks of 42, 55, 112, 60, and 59 increasing the lead to 11-2 before a break of 68 from John stopped the rot. With breaks of 31, 80 and 68 in the final two frames, Davis would seal the session 8-1 to go 13-3 up on the 24 year old, and needing 5 of 19 to win the match.

Mondays play would take barely an hour as Davis took the title, with breaks of 33, 34, 59, 38 and 42 giving him the match by an astonishing 18-3 scoreline. The heaviest margin in a match at the Crucible. The only time in the final a player has not scored at least one frame on the final day, the scoring doing the business, Davis made 22 breaks of 30 and above in the 21 frames, Parrott made four. He would have his revenge in the 1991 event which he won, but Davis would be incomparable, born to be champion as he took the title for the 6th time. So much for being in the worst form of his life. Surprisingly he would never make the final again as the new generation took over and he slipped down the rankings. Ever the battler, he thrives on a competitive atmosphere and in 2010 became the oldest man to reach the quarter-finals since 1983, when he shocked John Higgins 13-11 in the Gladitorial Arena. Take this man on at the Crucible, and be sure of a fight.

Steve Davis’ remaining Crucible career
1988: (1) WINNER 18-11 v Terry Griffiths
1989: (1) WINNER 18-3 v John Parrott
1990: (1) SF 16-14 v Jimmy White
1991: (2) SF 16-10 v John Parrott
1992: (3) Rd1 10-4 v Peter Ebdon
1993: (4) Rd2 13-11 v Alan McManus
1994: (4) SF 16-9 v Stephen Hendry
1995: (2) Rd1 10-7 v Andy Hicks
1996: (2) QF 13-10 v Peter Ebdon
1997: (10) Rd2 13-3 v Ken Doherty
1998: (13) Rd2 13-6 v Mark Williams
1999;: ( 14) Rd1 10-9 v Joe Perry
2000: (15) Rd2 13-11 v John Higgins
2001 and 2002 failed to qualify
2003: (Q) Rd1 10-6 v Stephen Lee
2004: (11) Rd1 10-7 v Anthony Hamilton
2005: (13) QF 13-4 v Shaun Murphy
2006: (16) Rd2 13=-7 v Shaun Murphy
2007: (11) Rd1 10-9 v John Parrott
2008: (15) Rd1 10-8 v Stuart Bingham
2009: (Q) Rd1 10-2 v Neil Robertson
2010: (Q) QF 13-5 v Neil Robertson

tomorrow we look back 25 years to Joe Johnson