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The Top Five Uk Championship Moments

Five top moments in UK Championship history

Crunch Sports Staff
in Snooker 25 Nov 2020

Ronnie O’Sullivan (credit: Getty Images)
The UK Championship is one of the most historic and prestigious events on the snooker calendar, and we’ve picked out our top five memorable moments over the last four decades…

1. Selby makes the 100th max (2013)

Mark Selby etched his name into snooker folk-law with a magical maximum in his Semi-Final clash with Ricky Walden.

The Leicester ace was in the midst of an impressive title defence in York when he achieved snooker’s holy grail in frame seven against an in-form Walden.

After coasting to 15 reds and 15 blacks, he played a superb shot on the brown to go around the angles and finish on the blue, but after potting the blue, looked to have over-struck the cue ball as the adrenaline began to flow.

Selby, however made light work of a tricky pink using his cue extension, but could only leave the cue ball on the top cushion, seemingly running out of position on the final black.

Nicknamed ‘The Jester’, Selby lived up to the name as he let out a silent scream to relieve the tension in the sell-out arena, and completed the sensational maximum by rolling the black into the narrow middle pocket.

The conclusion provided one of the sport’s most memorable and dramatic moments, and on a personal note for Selby, quashed his miss on the last black on 140 at the China Open a season earlier.

The break was his second career maximum and the 100th in snooker history, pocketing him a cool £59,000 bonus.

2. The Rocket arrives (1993)

In 1993, Ronnie O’Sullivan became the youngest-ever winner of the tournament (and any ranking tournament) aged just 17 years and 358 days.

O’Sullivan had been much talked about on the amateur scene in the preceding years and headed to Preston full of confidence having beaten Alain Robidoux on debut the year before.

Alan McManus and Nigel Gilbert were the first to fall to the quick-fire youngster, before legends Ken Doherty and Steve Davis were brushed aside as he stormed into the Semi-Finals.

There, he defeated Welshman Darren Morgan 9-5, before announcing himself as a star in the making with a 9-6 win over Stephen Hendry in the final.

An emotional O’Sullivan took the trophy to HM Gartree prison in the following days when visiting his father – who had been sentenced to 18 years for murder.

3. Davis rolls back the years (2005)

The 2005 tournament saw Davis, aged 48, reach his first ranking tournament final for almost two years and make his highest break in tournament play for 23 years.

BBC pundit Davis had seen off Mark Allen, Stephen Maguire, Ken Doherty and Stephen Hendy en route to the final.

In a match that featured the widest age gap between finalists in professional tournament history, he lost 1-60 to 18-year-old Ding Junhui – a man who would spearhead the Chinese snooker revolution in the years that followed.

That remains Davis’ last appearance in a world ranking event final before he eventually lost his place as a tour professional in 2014.

4. The one that got away (1985)

In the 1985 final, Willie Thorne, then on the brink of emerging as a major force to be reckoned with in the game, led Steve Davis 13–8 at the start of the evening session.

The defining moment in the match, however, saw Thorne miss a simple straight blue off its spot to squander a chance at a 14-8 advantage.

Davis didn’t need a second invitation and swung the pendulum by taking eight of the last nine frames for glory.

The victory regenerated Davis’s confidence after his devastating World Championship loss to Dennis Taylor; Thorne, on the other hand, never won another ranking title.

5. Hurricane battles back (1983)

Fresh from his second world title win a year earlier, Alex Higgins remained snooker’s man of the moment, but could not have wished for a more disastrous start to his final show-down with Steve Davis.

In the ultimate battle of introvert versus extrovert, Davis coasted to the opening seven frames to stun the people’s champion at the first interval.

Roared on by his partisan fans, however, Higgins rallied in the evening and battled back with a series of stunning breaks to eventually force a decider at 15-15.

The captivated crowd and onlooking nation stayed up late into the night to watch ‘The Hurricane’ complete his greatest fightback by winning the decider 77-0 to take the crown.

David is Crunch Sport's baseball guru. He's a walking, talking almanac when it comes to stats and facts. His elementary school dreams of playing professionally were scuppered by terrible co-ordination, but luckily his writing skills kept him in touch with his beloved sport through high school and beyond.

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