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DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby badtemperedcyril

I'm not a fan of comparing era's, mainly because you can only be the best in your respective era and of course, players who come about later have a big advantage of being able to learn from those who've gone before them.

Nevertheless, I do wonder what the level of Joe Davis' play was, compared to say, the 1980's.

Joe spent the 1930's developing snooker into the game as we know it. The technique and break building strategy was pretty much invented by him and hasn't changed very much since. Maybe, where the game has changed is more to do with the conditions (faster cloths, lighter balls, undercut pockets etc...), than the actual exponents themselves.

It is probably fair to say, Joe played his best snooker AFTER he'd retired from the World Championship play. Certainly his century strike rate would support that. He made 687 career centuries in public play, but reached the 200 mark during the 1946 WC final, meaning that he made a further 487 between then and his retirement in 1963. We should make allowance for the fact that he played predominantly billiards until 1934, when he lost the billiards title to Walter Lindrum and promptly turned his attentions to Snooker.

I have drew up a comparison between Joe's 1946 World Championship Final break building form and a combined record from Steve Davis' EIGHT World Championship finals between 1981 and 1989. Here are the results...

JOE DAVIS
Frames: P 145, W 78, L67
Breaks between 50 and 69 = 19
Breaks between 70 and 99 = 11
Century breaks = 6

So, Joe made a 50 break every 4 frames; a 70 break every 8½ frames; a century break every 24 frames.

STEVE DAVIS
Frames: P 235, W 137, L98
Breaks between 50 and 69 = 43
Breaks between 70 and 99 = 16
Century breaks = 9

So, Steve made a 50 break every 3½ frames; a 70 break every 9½ frames; a century break every 26 frames.

Interesting, or what!

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby Johnny Bravo

badtemperedcyril wrote:I'm not a fan of comparing era's, mainly because you can only be the best in your respective era and of course, players who come about later have a big advantage of being able to learn from those who've gone before them.

Nevertheless, I do wonder what the level of Joe Davis' play was, compared to say, the 1980's.

Joe spent the 1930's developing snooker into the game as we know it. The technique and break building strategy was pretty much invented by him and hasn't changed very much since. Maybe, where the game has changed is more to do with the conditions (faster cloths, lighter balls, undercut pockets etc...), than the actual exponents themselves.

It is probably fair to say, Joe played his best snooker AFTER he'd retired from the World Championship play. Certainly his century strike rate would support that. He made 687 career centuries in public play, but reached the 200 mark during the 1946 WC final, meaning that he made a further 487 between then and his retirement in 1963. We should make allowance for the fact that he played predominantly billiards until 1934, when he lost the billiards title to Walter Lindrum and promptly turned his attentions to Snooker.

I have drew up a comparison between Joe's 1946 World Championship Final break building form and a combined record from Steve Davis' EIGHT World Championship finals between 1981 and 1989. Here are the results...

JOE DAVIS
Frames: P 145, W 78, L67
Breaks between 50 and 69 = 19
Breaks between 70 and 99 = 11
Century breaks = 6

So, Joe made a 50 break every 4 frames; a 70 break every 8½ frames; a century break every 24 frames.

STEVE DAVIS
Frames: P 235, W 137, L98
Breaks between 50 and 69 = 43
Breaks between 70 and 99 = 16
Century breaks = 9

So, Steve made a 50 break every 3½ frames; a 70 break every 9½ frames; a century break every 26 frames.

Interesting, or what!

Interesting read, but you also have to factor in the opposition they faced.
Many think that is irrelevant, but actually it's very relevant. You get far more chances to score and many open tables against weak players.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby badtemperedcyril

Fair point.

Lindrum, by all accounts, played an attractive open game. Some of Steve’s opponents were obviously more attacking than others. Against Taylor and Griffiths for instance, there were long bouts of thin safeties, no risk snooker. The affect of this is the balls go awkward and unfavourable for break building. Maybe Steve had more opportunities to score against White, Johnson and Parrott. He was more attacking himself in 81 against Mountjoy.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby acesinc

Very interesting information Cyril, thanks. Joe Davis is my personal GOAT although I really know very little about him. I just see Joe as the foundation upon which the entire enterprise has been built for nearly a century now. Had there been no Joe Davis, there may have been no Snooker at all today, at least not in the form that we know it. Joe's efforts to popularize the game has ultimately produced far more interest and wealth than any other cuesport has done in the history of humankind. Personally, I have two of his instructional books and they are the starting point for my journey to improvement and have brought me to the point that I am now researching the finer nuances of things that have been discovered and proven to be beneficial since Joe's day. For instance, in many of the "playing the game" threads on SI here, we have discussed the "pause". I think the pause is not a natural instinct, and most players have a difficult time converting their game to use it. But if you look at the professional circuit, possibly without exception (anyone who watches the pro game more than I is welcome to correct me), all the pro players utilize the pause in their technique. I read something once from Joe Davis that near the end of his career he said something like, "I have discovered a new method to deliver the cue, a definite pause at the backswing, and I think it could prove to be very useful." I am just paraphrasing because I read it ages ago, so something like that. And it took decades, but eventually, everyone caught on and realized that this is the best way to proceed. Joe never had that foreknowledge of those going before him. He was the pioneer.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby badtemperedcyril

I don't think Joe Davis gets the recognition he should get nowadays. In fact, if you listen to most of the writers and pundits you'd think the game only started when colour television came along. Pre-television snooker is fantastic to learn about but for whatever reason, the governing body down plays its history whereas other sports such as golf and tennis embrace it. It wasn't always a bunch of roses, of course, but history is history.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby Holden Chinaski

badtemperedcyril wrote:I don't think Joe Davis gets the recognition he should get nowadays. In fact, if you listen to most of the writers and pundits you'd think the game only started when colour television came along. Pre-television snooker is fantastic to learn about but for whatever reason, the governing body down plays its history whereas other sports such as golf and tennis embrace it. It wasn't always a bunch of roses, of course, but history is history.

Ronnie mentioned Joe Davis a couple of times during the World Championship and he showed a lot of respect for Joe.


Ronnie said he owes his 6th World Title to Joe and his book "How I play Snooker".

https://www.expressandstar.com/sport/uk ... e-victory/

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby badtemperedcyril

Holden Chinaski wrote:
badtemperedcyril wrote:I don't think Joe Davis gets the recognition he should get nowadays. In fact, if you listen to most of the writers and pundits you'd think the game only started when colour television came along. Pre-television snooker is fantastic to learn about but for whatever reason, the governing body down plays its history whereas other sports such as golf and tennis embrace it. It wasn't always a bunch of roses, of course, but history is history.

Ronnie mentioned Joe Davis a couple of times during the World Championship and he showed a lot of respect for Joe.


Ronnie said he owes his 6th World Title to Joe and his book "How I play Snooker".

https://www.expressandstar.com/sport/uk ... e-victory/

He did but was it all a bit tongue in cheek? In all honesty, how much does Ronnie really know about Joe Davis and the history of the game? Does it interest him?

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby Holden Chinaski

badtemperedcyril wrote:
Holden Chinaski wrote:
badtemperedcyril wrote:I don't think Joe Davis gets the recognition he should get nowadays. In fact, if you listen to most of the writers and pundits you'd think the game only started when colour television came along. Pre-television snooker is fantastic to learn about but for whatever reason, the governing body down plays its history whereas other sports such as golf and tennis embrace it. It wasn't always a bunch of roses, of course, but history is history.

Ronnie mentioned Joe Davis a couple of times during the World Championship and he showed a lot of respect for Joe.


Ronnie said he owes his 6th World Title to Joe and his book "How I play Snooker".

https://www.expressandstar.com/sport/uk ... e-victory/

He did but was it all a bit tongue in cheek? In all honesty, how much does Ronnie really know about Joe Davis and the history of the game? Does it interest him?

I think you would be surprised. Ronnie has studied the game and it's history obsessively. He used to watch many hours of Steve Davis footage when he was a kid and he copied everything Steve did.

When you read his autobiography you can see he knows a lot about snooker. When he had the Ronnie O'Sullivan Show on Eurosport he appeared to be very knowledgable as well. He also worked with Ray Reardon and he said he talked with Reardon about snooker a lot. I think he was serious about Joe Davis. He once said on Twitter that he would put Hendry just above Joe Davis in the GOAT discussion.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby Iranu

I think Ronnie was serious about Joe Davis but because he likes to sausage about with the BBC he didn’t necessarily sound as serious as he was.

He’s always studying the game and looking for ways to find an edge. As Holden says, studying Davis as a youngster and working with Reardon, and also when he looked at Judd and Robbo’s actions on long pots and improved his own, working with Sight Right recently etc.

He’s no Alan McManus when it comes to the technical and historical aspects of snooker but he seems to know a lot about it.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby mick745

It is a great question. It would be fantastic to put great players from history in any sport against each other.

Roger Bannister v Seb Coe in the olympic final
Sampras v Federer at wimbledon

I am sure there was a programme on when i was a child, where they did compare great sportsman and people would make the case for both to be the greatest. A panel would vote at the end depending on the persuasiveness of the arguments.

Sportsmen from the past would have adapted their games to modern conditions.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby Holden Chinaski

This is how I look at it: some people have greatness inside them. Joe Davis was obviously one of those people. If Joe was a young man now, he would at least be a top 3 contender, he might even dominate, just because he has that greatness in him and that willpower to be the best and work the hardest.

If Ayrton Senna was a young man today he would be champion. If Muhammad Ali was a young man today he would be champ. If Elvis Presley was a young man today he would be a superstar. Greatness is timeless.

Joe Davis, Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Hendry, Ronnie... These are special people. They have that special gift to be great inside them. They work harder, they learn faster, they hate losing more than others, they have more natural ability, more charisma.... Therefore they would be great in any era, in my opinion.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby Dan-cat

badtemperedcyril wrote:He did but was it all a bit tongue in cheek? In all honesty, how much does Ronnie really know about Joe Davis and the history of the game? Does it interest him?


No he was serious. He was talking about the cue action section.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby badtemperedcyril

Holden Chinaski wrote:This is how I look at it: some people have greatness inside them. Joe Davis was obviously one of those people. If Joe was a young man now, he would at least be a top 3 contender, he might even dominate, just because he has that greatness in him and that willpower to be the best and work the hardest.

If Ayrton Senna was a young man today he would be champion. If Muhammad Ali was a young man today he would be champ. If Elvis Presley was a young man today he would be a superstar. Greatness is timeless.

Joe Davis, Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Hendry, Ronnie... These are special people. They have that special gift to be great inside them. They work harder, they learn faster, they hate losing more than others, they have more natural ability, more charisma.... Therefore they would be great in any era, in my opinion.

Great post HC. That is exactly my view on the topic of comparing players from different era's. Of course, occasionally, more than one great will come along at the same time (in the case of O'Sullivan, Higgins and Williams), so it is impossible for one to dominate to the extent that the others previously mentioned did. In such a scenario, they drive each other on in their quest for excellence.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby Holden Chinaski

badtemperedcyril wrote:
Holden Chinaski wrote:This is how I look at it: some people have greatness inside them. Joe Davis was obviously one of those people. If Joe was a young man now, he would at least be a top 3 contender, he might even dominate, just because he has that greatness in him and that willpower to be the best and work the hardest.

If Ayrton Senna was a young man today he would be champion. If Muhammad Ali was a young man today he would be champ. If Elvis Presley was a young man today he would be a superstar. Greatness is timeless.

Joe Davis, Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Hendry, Ronnie... These are special people. They have that special gift to be great inside them. They work harder, they learn faster, they hate losing more than others, they have more natural ability, more charisma.... Therefore they would be great in any era, in my opinion.

Great post HC. That is exactly my view on the topic of comparing players from different era's. Of course, occasionally, more than one great will come along at the same time (in the case of O'Sullivan, Higgins and Williams), so it is impossible for one to dominate to the extent that the others previously mentioned did. In such a scenario, they drive each other on in their quest for excellence.

Indeed. :hatoff:

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby mick745

badtemperedcyril wrote:
Holden Chinaski wrote:This is how I look at it: some people have greatness inside them. Joe Davis was obviously one of those people. If Joe was a young man now, he would at least be a top 3 contender, he might even dominate, just because he has that greatness in him and that willpower to be the best and work the hardest.

If Ayrton Senna was a young man today he would be champion. If Muhammad Ali was a young man today he would be champ. If Elvis Presley was a young man today he would be a superstar. Greatness is timeless.

Joe Davis, Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Hendry, Ronnie... These are special people. They have that special gift to be great inside them. They work harder, they learn faster, they hate losing more than others, they have more natural ability, more charisma.... Therefore they would be great in any era, in my opinion.

Great post HC. That is exactly my view on the topic of comparing players from different era's. Of course, occasionally, more than one great will come along at the same time (in the case of O'Sullivan, Higgins and Williams), so it is impossible for one to dominate to the extent that the others previously mentioned did. In such a scenario, they drive each other on in their quest for excellence.


Yes two all-time greats have been around at the same time in tennis, Federer and Nadal.

Snooker always tended to have one person mainly dominating, Reardon, then Davis then Hendry but since about 2000 the trophies have been shared around more.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby Dan-cat

Holden Chinaski wrote:
Dan-cat wrote:I've got a first edition of that book, it's brilliant :-)

:hatoff:


Just remembered I gave it to my ex's Nephew, prob gathering dust on the shelf.

Re: DAVIS v DAVIS

Postby SnookerFan

I want to see a semi final line up of;

Jak Jones vs Duane Jones

Kyren Wilson vs Gary Wilson.