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The best World finals

Postby Ander

As the World Championship approaches, I've been meaning to write an article in my blog about the best finals seen at the Crucible decade by decade. I had thought about not focusing on finals and talking about matches no matter the round, but that could be too long.

Obviously, I have my candidates, but which are your favourite? Any memories?

1977: John Spencer 25-21 Cliff Thorburn
1978: Ray Reardon 25-18 Perrie Mans
1979: Terry Griffiths 24-16 Dennis Taylor
1980: Cliff Thorburn 18-16 Alex Higgins
1981: Steve Davis 18-12 Doug Mountjoy
1982: Alex Higgins 18-15 Ray Reardon
1983: Steve Davis 18-6 Cliff Thorburn
1984: Steve Davis 18-16 Jimmy White
1985: Dennis Taylor 18-17 Steve Davis
1986: Joe Johnson 18-12 Steve Davis
1987: Steve Davis 18-14 Joe Johnson
1988: Steve Davis 18-11 Terry Griffiths
1989: Steve Davis 18-3 John Parrott
1990: Stephen Hendry 18-12 Jimmy White
1991: John Parrott 18-11 Jimmy White
1992: Stephen Hendry 18-14 Jimmy White
1993: Stephen Hendry 18-5 Jimmy White
1994: Stephen Hendry 18-17 Jimmy White
1995: Stephen Hendry 18-9 Nigel Bond
1996: Stephen Hendry 18-12 Peter Ebdon
1997: Ken Doherty 18-12 Stephen Hendry
1998: John Higgins 18-12 Ken Doherty
1999: Stephen Hendry 18-11 Mark Williams
2000: Mark Williams 18-16 Matthew Stevens
2001: Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-14 John Higgins
2002: Peter Ebdon 18-17 Stephen Hendry
2003: Mark Williams 18-16 Ken Doherty
2004: Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-8 Graeme Dott
2005: Shaun Murphy 18-16 Matthew Stevens
2006: Graeme Dott 18-14 Peter Ebdon
2007: John Higgins 18-13 Mark Selby
2008: Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-8 Ali Carter
2009: John Higgins 18-9 Shaun Murphy
2010: Neil Robertson 18-13 Graeme Dott
2011: John Higgins 18-15 Judd Trump
2012: Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-11 Ali Carter
2013: Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-12 Barry Hawkins
2014: Mark Selby 18-14 Ronnie O'Sullivan

Re: The best World finals

Postby vodkadiet

Perrie Mans had the worst positional play in the history of snooker.
Last edited by vodkadiet on 06 Apr 2015, edited 1 time in total.

Re: The best World finals

Postby vodkadiet

Davis vs Mountjoy, if only because of the re rack they had with just blue, pink and black on the table.

The final in 1981 finished on April 20, and the 1982 tournament didn't begin until April 30. Compare that with today, when every final finishes on May day.

Re: The best World finals

Postby Ander

vodkadiet wrote:Davis vs Mountjoy, if only because of the re rack they had with just blue, pink and black on the table.

Really? That's amazing.

Re: The best World finals

Postby vodkadiet

Ander wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:Davis vs Mountjoy, if only because of the re rack they had with just blue, pink and black on the table.

Really? That's amazing.


Yes. Maybe you could email/tweet The BBC and they could show it during the championship?

Re: The best World finals

Postby Ander

vodkadiet wrote:
Ander wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:Davis vs Mountjoy, if only because of the re rack they had with just blue, pink and black on the table.

Really? That's amazing.


Yes. Maybe you could email/tweet The BBC and they could show it during the championship?

Will do, I'd love to see that. The table should be very messed up and scores tied. Otherwise, I don't get it. Of course, there wasn't the miss rule at that time, so they could "parakeet" a bit.

Re: The best World finals

Postby vodkadiet

Ander

I was only 11 at the time but if memory serves the balls were lodged in a corner, and neither player could play away as it would have left the blue on. Bizarre it was!

Re: The best World finals

Postby Odrl

I have watched the last 11 World finals from start to finish, so I can only comment on those...

To be honest, most of them were a little underwhelming, either because of the mediocre standard of play or because they were decided way before the final session. I think the worst final in this period was 2008, when Carter seemed defeated even before it started, which meant O'Sullivan wasn't pushed to play anywhere near his best either. The repeat of the "nightmare" final in 2012 was a little better, but it still wasn't much of a contest.

The 2004 final was the first I saw in full, and it was a little too one-sided for my taste, but at least O'Sullivan played some good stuff. He went 5-0 down at the start, but then played the kind of snooker that saw him thrash Hamilton and Hendry in the previous two rounds and won 18 out of the next 21 frames. The 2009 final between Higgins and Murphy wasn't great either, but at least the standard of play was quite good. Higgins had Murphy in a lot of trouble with his safety, and he played a superb second session to pull away, and continued strongly in the third session to virtually secure the title.

The other finals did have some excitement, but I would say the 2010 final between Robertson and Dott wasn't among my favourites either. There were no fireworks in the first three sessions, and just as it was all set for a dramatic finish, neither player seemed to have anything left. They were both exhausted and played a series or really scrappy frames, and even at 18-13 it finished close to 2am my time, with the Crucible half empty. I can't imagine what the atmosphere would have been like if it went 18-17. I agree with Pink Ball about the 2006 final, the final session still remains one of my all-time favourite sessions of snooker. You could feel the tension rising as Ebdon was getting back into the match, and that 70-minute frame was probably the climax. Dott did well to hold up under pressure really, and that clearance he made to win his penultimate frame (I think) was superb. Having said that, the first three sessions of that final were really poor, in terms of standard as well as excitement, so I can't really say that final as a whole is among my favourites.

The other five finals were more enjoyable for me. The 2005 final saw a superb performance from Murphy, the kind of performance he hasn't repeated too often since. Stevens played quite well himself, so it was a good standard of play and it went right down to the penultimate possible frame. I would put the 2011 final in this category as well. For all the talk of Trump taking over O'Sullivan's mantle, I think this was the real clash of the old master and the young pretender. Trump played superbly to take control of the match early on, but a little bit of inexperience cost him on the final day, and Higgins showed why he was the best player in the world at that time. 2013 was a lovely final as well. It was probably the best Hawkins has ever played in a big match, but O'Sullivan had an answer for everything and won with quite a few frames to spare in the end. He later said that he felt almost untouchable in that match.

That just leaves the two finals Mark Selby was involved in. A lot of people say that the 2014 final was superb, and I did enjoy it, but I'm not sure I would put it ahead of some of the previously mentioned. I think what made this final great was the atmosphere that surrounded it right from the start. The fans were extremely divided, mostly because some fans of O'Sullivan tend to strongly dislike Selby, and the people who dislike O'Sullivan tend to like Selby because of his good record against him. The players are not the best of friends either, so it was a really tense affair. I think the standard of play was not the best, Selby in particular struggled to put any breaks together in the first three sessions, but despite the lack of fluency Selby hardly missed a ball throughout the final, and he took on a lot of really tricky ones along the black cushion. His safety was superb as well, as was the clearance he made in the last frame. Great final to watch at the time, but I'm not sure I would watch it again now that I know how it ends.

The final that gets my vote is 2007, between Higgins and Selby. It was before Selby had won any major titles, so he was a bit of a mystery really, and there was a chance he could have become the third really surprising World champion in a row. Higgins had only won one World title at the time, so I kind of wanted him to win, but Selby just wouldn't go down without a fight. Once again Higgins played a really strong second session to lead 12-4 and virtually win the title on the first day, but he had a nightmare third session and lost all six frames. He was lucky the session was cut short actually, because all the momentum was with Selby and it could have easily gone 12-12. Selby tried his best in the evening, holding his own in the safety exchanges and playing quite slowly, but this time Higgins had an answer and really raised his game to win the last four frames of the match. It was exactly the kind of snooker I love the most, the only thing that could have made it even better was if it went all the way. :-)

Hopefully the 2015 final is a good one. :-)

Re: The best World finals

Postby KrazeeEyezKilla

The 94 final. Hendry-White was the greatest Crucible rivalry and this was their last final and the only one to go the distance. If they deliberately scripted the whole thing they couldn't have done it much better, except White would have won that last frame. I was only eight and didn't really get it at the time but it clearly stands out a for me above the others. Of the ones I can remember fully then Higgins-Trump. 2011 could be the best World Championship ever.

Re: The best World finals

Postby Cloud Strife

KrazeeEyezKilla wrote:The 94 final. Hendry-White was the greatest Crucible rivalry and this was their last final and the only one to go the distance. If they deliberately scripted the whole thing they couldn't have done it much better, except White would have won that last frame. I was only eight and didn't really get it at the time but it clearly stands out a for me above the others. Of the ones I can remember fully then Higgins-Trump. 2011 could be the best World Championship ever.


I'm with you there. The 94 final was the one that got me into snooker in a big way.

Re: The best World finals

Postby Wildey

the 1982 Final when Higgins won his Second Title was the one that got me hooked on Snooker

but For Me its the 1990 Final .

i was a Alex Higgins Fan and i wanted Jimmy White to beat Hendry and win the title for the 1st time and after Jimmy beat Steve Davis i reckon he thought he was going to beat the young upstart as well.

But i loved the way Hendry beat his Boyhood Hero in his first World Final and become the youngest ever champion that is when i started supporting Hendry.

Re: The best World finals

Postby mantorok

Ander wrote:1990: Stephen Hendry 18-12 Jimmy White
1991: John Parrott 18-11 Jimmy White
1992: Stephen Hendry 18-14 Jimmy White
1993: Stephen Hendry 18-5 Jimmy White
1994: Stephen Hendry 18-17 Jimmy White
1995: Stephen Hendry 18-9 Nigel Bond
1996: Stephen Hendry 18-12 Peter Ebdon


Just looking at this here, I just think "wow", simply incredible. And to think how all that could've been reversed for Jimmy...

Re: The best World finals

Postby Roland

I just spent too long replying to this topic and lost half the post with a browser crash so I'll come back another day. What I will say is the list in the first post is the one snooker stat I know off by heart and I watched every final since 1981 missing only a handful of frames plus one entire final which I had videotaped to watch later. I could talk/write for ages about world finals. Maybe it's best I forget about replying :redneck:

Re: The best World finals

Postby Ayrshirebhoy

1985: Dennis Taylor 18-17 Steve Davis

the match that got me hooked on snooker as a 10 year old, passed out watching it but woke up during the shouting at last frame.

2011: John Higgins 18-15 Judd Trump

trumps potting in this tourney was the best iv ever seen, ever. looked so strong and i feared the worst for john but experience prevailed. a great win and one of the toughest routes to a final. the way it should be, no bunnies please :party:

Re: The best World finals

Postby SnookerEd25

vodkadiet wrote:Perrie Mans had the worst positional play in the history of snooker.


You've obviously not seen me play...

Re: The best World finals

Postby SnookerFan

I'm a bit late to the party, but can I add the 2003 one. Ken Do nearly pulled off a comeback.

Re: The best World finals

Postby Ander

Roland wrote:I just spent too long replying to this topic and lost half the post with a browser crash so I'll come back another day. What I will say is the list in the first post is the one snooker stat I know off by heart and I watched every final since 1981 missing only a handful of frames plus one entire final which I had videotaped to watch later. I could talk/write for ages about world finals. Maybe it's best I forget about replying :redneck:

Still waiting...

Re: The best World finals

Postby TheSaviour

Well I don´t know, but I think every great final needs the crowds rubbing some salt into other players wounds. If there has been a some sort of a comeback or so. Obviously it´s nothing personal or bad, but somehow a great final just needs that in order to live it up. 2004 final O´Sullivan vs Dott 18-8 was pretty good, needs to be said. Otherwise Ronnie has got his titles too easy, Carter or Hawkins i.e hasn´t quite been able to match him in terms of a solidness or grittiness. Graeme did very well back in 2004, but like he stated after the match, Ronnie just break-builded like a machine as the match went on. The same thing happened in that famous semi-final against the red-hot Hendry too, Ronnie was just playing like a machine. Even when Hendry started the match excellently.