When you watch a Snooker match, what are the
things that stick in your mind long term?
Is it the big breaks? Is it the safety exchanges
between two evenly matched competitors? Is it the long potting and precise cue
I think that "it is a combination of all the
above as well as a preference for one or other of the two players that are
competing to add additional edge to the spectacle".
Think of Alex Higgins matches with Steve Davis
in the 1980s, the audience was filled with people who preferred one or
the other with hardly a neutral in sight.
Look at Jimmy White and almost whomever he
plays. But in World Championship finals Stephen Hendry is the main protagonist
of recent years, again hardly a neutral could be found.
Now we are lucky enough to be blessed with the
next generation in a line of peoples champions to carry the expectation
and hopes of the viewing public either pro or con, dividing the audience
between those in favour and those who wished to see them beaten. The current
player in question is of course Ronnie OSullivan.
I watched Ronnie OSullivan in a tournament
on Sky Sports. The first frame started very much as usual but as it progressed
Ronnie stroked in a total clearance of I believe 140, the match was only best
of nine but later in the session Ronnie came to the table and majestically
completed a break of 147. This break was made with such apparent ease that the
game itself was made to look ridiculously easy. I cant remember enjoying
a session of Snooker more or being more impressed with a players
Perhaps the most compelling match ever witnessed
ended with two players so mentally spent and perhaps physically drained that
they were in no condition to demonstrate the skills that Ronnie did in the
above mentioned match even if at their best they were capable of it?
The match I refer to was the final of the World
Snooker Championship in 1985 between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis. The match
was characterised by a tremendous fight back from Dennis and a nerve jangling,
shoot out on the colours in the very last frame. This match stands out in many
peoples minds as the most epic match they have ever witnessed.
My own personal favourite of recent times was
the match between Steve Davis and Ronnie O Sullivan in the final of the
1997 Masters. Not many people gave Steve a chance of winning but in the end he
overturned the formbook to record a satisfying victory for experience versus
If you have a memory of a specific match or a
view about a given player and their particular popularity and perhaps a theory
as to the reason why, please feel free to write in with your thoughts.