04 May 2024

Heavyweight World Championship finals: 5 of the best Sheffield showdowns

04 May 2024

Snooker chiefs are considering moving the World Snooker Championship away from Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre when its existing contract expires at the end of the 2027 tournament.

On the eve of the 47th consecutive final to be held at the famous venue, the PA news agency picks out five of the best.

1982: Alex Higgins 18 Ray Reardon 15

After a classic tournament that saw defending champion Steve Davis bundled out 10-1 by Tony Knowles in round one, and one of the greatest all-time clearances by Higgins to keep alive his semi-final against Jimmy White, the volatile Belfast star reeled off three frames in succession to sink Reardon before tearfully beckoning his wife and baby daughter Lauren onto centre stage.

1985: Dennis Taylor 18 Steve Davis 17

The final that transcended snooker, as a television audience of 18.5 million stayed up after midnight to watch a thrilling black ball decider. Davis had the first chance but missed a thin cut, prompting commentator Ted Lowe to gasp: “No!”. Taylor, who had lost the first eight frames of the match, stepped up to finish the job, blowing a kiss towards the trophy and waggling his finger at those who had doubted him.

1994: Stephen Hendry 18 Jimmy White 17

White, who had lost in five previous finals, fought back from behind and finally had the title at his mercy. But with the magnitude of the occasion starting to dawn on him, White missed a black off its spot, and had to watch in agony as Hendry responded with a break of 58 to win his fourth world crown. A shattered White would never find his way to a Crucible final again.

2018: Mark Williams 18 John Higgins 16

Williams capped an extraordinary career revival by winning his third world title 15 years after his first. The 43-year-old Welshman arrived at the Crucible within a ranking title win in six years, and seemed as surprised as anyone by his resurgence. In a high-quality final, Higgins hauled back a 15-10 deficit to level at 15-15, before Williams found an extra gear to seal his improbable win.

2019: Judd Trump 18 John Higgins 9

Trump produced a devastating potting display to win his first world title, firing seven centuries in total and reeling off eight straight frames to turn the final around from 5-4 down. It was Higgins’ third straight final loss but the Scot was magnanimous in the face of such a stunning snooker assault. Five years later, the world still awaits a repeat performance from Trump.

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