Post a reply

Great Snooker rivalries

Postby TheRocket

I haven't seen a thread like that so far and I just love talking about Snooker. I think, a thread like this has been long overdue. Rivalries are one of the most important things in professional sports and you just need this to keep a sport alive. What would tennis be without the Federer-Nadal or Djokovic-Nadal rivalry?

As big Snookersupporters we all know, we had/have some great rivalries in Snooker. So I'd like to ask you which rivalry or rivalries you like/liked at most and why?

In my case: O'Sullivan-Hendry or O'Sullivan-Selby has always been special to me because of the needle but O'Sullivan-Higgins rivalry is still the best rivalry we've ever had in Snooker I think. A shame really that there has been only one World Final between them.

But as it is now, the O'Sullivan-Higgins rivalry obviously has come to an end. At least we are about to reach that stage. Maybe we'll get one more or two more big matches between these two at the highest stages in the biggest tournaments but that's it.

Robertson-Selby is getting better and better as well btw. A couple of years ago, I thought, damn, why are these guys never playing against each other. But now, since the last two years or so, the matches were coming and really great matches as well.

So what do you think?

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby Andre147

Reardon v Alex Higgins and Davis v Alex Higgins were for me such great rivarlies because of the pure contrast in styles. I wasn't born at the time I know, but despite being only 22 I've watched many videos of matches between them and for me it's one of the best rivarlies ever.

But yeah others are equally great as well, such as Hendry v White especially all of those Worlds meetings, Hendry v Ronnie, the old King v the New King to some, Ronnie v Higgins always special because when both play they seem to bring the best out of each other, and of course Selby v Ronnie rivarly, this one actually very similar to the Higgins v Davis rivarly.

Selby v Robbo no doubt a great one too, and despite haven't played that many matches, Trump v Ding is always a cracking match and a great rivarly I think.

Williams v Higgins has also had down the years something special, both also bring the best out of each other when they play.

And just to cap it off, a great classic rivarly between brothers Joe Davis and Fred Davis was also a great one me thinks.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby SnookerFan

I always enjoy Higgins vs Ronnie matches. Every time you watched that match you knew something special was going to happen. Usually a very, very close match where you couldn't tell who'd win until after the last ball was potted. But we also saw Ronnie trounce Higgins and Higgins trounce Ronnie. Both of which you could realistically call a surprise win. Higgins knew how to beat Ronnie, and wasn't scared of him like some players.

People complained that it didn't have needle, but so what? If you want to watch people arguing with each other, watch Eastenders. That bores me, but watching Higgins play Ronnie never bored me. Who remembers their match in Telford that time... :shock:

It's just a shame that Higgins' form is in the decline, so it never really feels as special as when they play as one player is a strong favourite.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby SnookerFan

I always had a soft spot for Mark Williams vs Ken Doherty as well. Mainly because I watched a lot of the 2003 World Championships when I was supposed to be revising at university. Ken-Do pulled that win over Paul Hunter. That's a bitter win now, of course. But I thought he was going to do it again against Mark Williams. And he nearly did.

Their matches have become rarer now. In 2003 they seemed to play a lot. I remember seeing them at The Masters in 2006 live. At the time I wanted Mark Williams to win, as it was just before he dropped out of the top-16 and he was the underdog. A few years later in Australia Mark Williams was back in the top-16, and Ken-Do wasn't. He was the underdog again.

There always seems to be an underdog story going on with those two, but the person who was that underdog has changed several times in their career.

They didn't like each other, of course. But I never felt it was as obvious as it was with, say, Selby vs Ronnie.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby SnookerFan

TheRocket wrote:
Robertson-Selby is getting better and better as well btw. A couple of years ago, I thought, damn, why are these guys never playing against each other. But now, since the last two years or so, the matches were coming and really great matches as well.

So what do you think?


Good shout. :hatoff:

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby Wildey

Ray Reardon v John Spencer was a classic rivalry that nobody really saw much of but they were fierce competitors that disliked each other and in head to heads as shown on Cue Tracker it was 22-22 with 1 draw over 20 years.

Another rivalry was Cliff Thorburn v Alex Higgins they really hated each other but had respect well as much respect as Alex could get for anyone lol. Alex had the better of their head to head again according to cue tracker with Alex leading 17-6 but Cliff winning their most high profile meating in the 1980 World Championship Final.

and if you want a take on Old rivalry from the past read this 2010 Interview Sonny did with Cliff Thorburn

Part 1 http://www.snookerisland.com/blog/cliff ... view-1of3/
Part 2 http://www.snookerisland.com/blog/cliff ... view-2of3/
Part 3 http://www.snookerisland.com/blog/cliff ... view-3of3/

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby SnookerFan

Mentioning Alex Higgins. Did you know, in two weeks it'll be 4 years since he died? Time flies.

Sorry, that's nothing to do with anything. I was just reminded with your mentioning of him.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby TheSaviour

I would mention Stephen Lee, Graeme Dott and Peter Ebdon related to the issue. Since they are someone who do posses every shot from the book, and do have the right temperament to REALLY challenge and play to win against anyone. A really disappointed that Stephen is banned.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby Ayrshirebhoy

I've heard a few times about Ken Do and mark williams not liking each other. Does anyone know the story to that?

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby TheRocket

Don't know whether Doherty and Williams can't stand each other but good point because another rivalry came into my mind. Because if there's a rivalry where two players really don't like each other, you have to mention the Murphy-Maguire rivalry.

They didn't make a secret, well at least Maguire that he doesn't like Murphy and that losing to Murphy hurts him at most and he said he thinks, Murphy feels the same about him. And yeah,the chalk thing plays a role as well obviously. Don't think, Murphy would have done the same if his opponent hadn't been Mags.

But it's still nowhere near the best rivalries we had in this game. They played 19 times against each other, but China Open final 2008 was the only classic one between these two players to be honest.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby SnookerFan

TheRocket wrote:Don't know whether Doherty and Williams can't stand each other but good point because another rivalry came into my mind. Because if there's a rivalry where two players really don't like each other, you have to mention the Murphy-Maguire rivalry.

They didn't make a secret, well at least Maguire that he doesn't like Murphy and that losing to Murphy hurts him at most and he said he thinks, Murphy feels the same about him. And yeah,the chalk thing plays a role as well obviously. Don't think, Murphy would have done the same if his opponent hadn't been Mags.

But it's still nowhere near the best rivalries we had in this game. They played 19 times against each other, but China Open final 2008 was the only classic one between these two players to be honest.



Murphy always strikes me as one of those people that takes his role as ambassador for the sport a little bit too seriously. Like he wants to be viewed as the model professional more than anything in the world. In Murphy's mind, it's his job to make sure everything happens to the exact letter of the law, and that it's his responsibility to point out any time when it doesn't happen.

The chalk incident was petty in the extreme. I mean, he'd asked the referee to dock Mags a frame, and the referee said no because he'd allowed Mags to go back and fetch his chalk. A model professional in my mind, accepts the referee's decision on matters such as this. His decision is final. But no, Smurph wants to call over the tournament and go; "Technically it's in the rules that he gets docked a frame for not being ready to start a match. Look, do you want me to get a rule book."

Maybe there was already some dislike between the pair, but I doubt that's why Murphy did it. He did the same thing against Robertson a couple of years later, when Robertson had forgot to bring something. His cue extension, I think. To be fair, it's a silly mistake for a professional to make. But the referee turned to Murphy and asked if he minded Robertson nipping back to his dressing room mid-frame. Murphy indicated he did mind. Jan Verhaas nipped out to retrieve the equipment. Robertson came over for clarification that Murphy had indeed refused him permission, and in the time it took him to do that Jan had returned with the item. It was literally a few seconds, and Murphy was making the situation take longer simply by adding the time it took for him to say no.

Whether there was any resentment between Murphy and Mags before the chalk incident, you can't blame Maguire for thinking Smurph is a bit of a tit.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby Dan-cat

I'm really enjoying the Trump - Robertson rivalry at the moment. Bit of needle: Judd should have shook his hand when he got the CoC at the Crucible, the silly sausage. Neil is just so damned lovely and reasonable though, I doubt he feels any ill will towards him.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby Dan-cat

SnookerFan wrote:Whether there was any resentment between Murphy and Mags before the chalk incident, you can't blame Maguire for thinking Smurph is a bit of a tit.


I once docked my playing partner 2 frames for taking too long at the bar. He still beat me 4 - 2.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby SnookerFan

Dan-cat wrote:I once docked my playing partner 2 frames for taking too long at the bar. He still beat me 4 - 2.


That sounds like a legitimate reason to me. When I say I want a pint, I aint expecting to wait. :grrr:

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby Dan-cat

SnookerFan wrote:
Dan-cat wrote:I once docked my playing partner 2 frames for taking too long at the bar. He still beat me 4 - 2.


That sounds like a legitimate reason to me. When I say I want a pint, I aint expecting to wait. :grrr:


Exactly. I called Mike Ganley for clarification.

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby Dan-cat

This is a wicked match from a great rivalry, with a grandstand finish, The 1985 masters round 1 Hurricane vs the Nugget

Re: Great Snooker rivalries

Postby TheRocket

As I haven't seen any Snooker in the 80's and barely in the 90's (mostly via youtube), my Top 10 rivalry list here will only consider the rivalries which start after 1990. Here we go

1. O'Sullivan-Higgins (topgame for 20 years now and played some legendary matches. Always a joy to watch these two players battling each other. Undoubtely the two greatest players of the 21st century)

2. O'Sullivan-Hendry (massive rivalry and both extremely competitive. Played great matches everywhere. If you want to learn something about breakbuilding, watch their matches. And definitely some needle in their matches as well)

3. Hendry-Davis ("Old King" vs "New King". Played some great matches in the early 90's , especially at the UK. It was a clash of styles and they played 66 times against each other (record))

4. Hendry-White (If you look at the stats, where they played each other, you'd say, this must be number 1 due to 4 world finals but unfortunately this rivalry was just too one-sided overall. Hendry was the nemesis of White. Still a very big rivalry which deserves to be in the Top 5)

5.O'Sullivan-Selby (Great rivalry and maybe the best in the 21st century. 3 Masters finals, one World final, one UK Semi and a Quarterfinal. They played each other in so many big matches and there is a massive needle as well. Both players basicially don't make a secret that they don't like each other. And the fans can't stand each other as well (lol))

6. Higgins-Williams (Not as good as O'Sullivan-Higgins but still a great rivalry. Peak Williams had shown what he was capable of in his peak years when he beat Higgins in two World semis. Higgins got his revenge in the 2010/2011 season where they played an absolutely brillant UK-Final and a World semi as well)

7. Hendry-Williams ( good rivalry, with the best match being the 1998 Masters final. Maybe the best Masters match ever. They are good friends but at the table they were very competitive.

8. Hendry-Higgins (duel of the scottish masters. Played some great matches against each other but unfortunately not at the Crucible. Their only match in 2012 was a horrible one.

9. Williams-Doherty (As both were basicially in their prime at the same time , they played great matches against each other (3 times at the crucible), including the UK Final and the World final they played in the same season).

10. Higgins-Selby (They played 17 times against each other, 4 of them at the Crucible. And two of them were very special. Not just the final in 2007 but the quarterfinal in 2009. One of the best matches I've seen in my life with Higgins being in Godmode. Great matchup as both are good allrounders. Higgins probably best allrounder of all time obviously.



Current best rivalries: O'Sullivan-Selby, Selby-Robertson, O'Sullivan-Robertson, Trump-Robertson