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Top 5 World Snooker Finals of all-time

With the 2020 World Snooker Championship final set to take place across this weekend, OTB AM rank...

Top 5 World Snooker Finals of...
Other Sports

Top 5 World Snooker Finals of all-time

With the 2020 World Snooker Championship final set to take place across this weekend, OTB AM ranked the greatest snooker finals in history.

Scanning through the archives, OTB Sport's snooker expert Shane Hannon took us through his top five greatest finals of all-time. Do you agree with our list?


5. 1994 - Jimmy White loses to Stephen Hendry (again)

This is hard for all the Jimmy White fans. This is the year Jimmy White lost to Stephen Hendry…. again.

The King of the Crucible against perhaps the greatest player to never win a World title. It was White’s sixth and last world final and he never came closer than in 1994.

“The background to this is he suffered five final defeats, to Steve Davis in ’84, John Parrott in ’91 and Stephen Hendry in ‘92 and ‘93.

“White came very close in 1992 when he was leading 14-8 on Saturday. That night though he decided to go partying and he ended up losing 18-14 the next day. He didn’t win a single frame the next day.”

In 1994 on the final day, White fought back from 16-14 and 17-16 down. He had the title almost in his grasp when his nerves intruded, and he missed a black off the spot to lose 18-17.

For White on his 32nd birthday, it was a case of another year. Unfortunately, it was not to be for the ‘Peoples Champion.’


4. 1982 - Alex Higgins in tears

"If we were talking the best snooker matches of all time, it would’ve been the semi-final in ’82 between Higgins and Jimmy White. Higgins was 59 points down on the 30th frame to make a memorable clearance for a spot in the final."

Ten years on from his first World Championship title, Higgins made an emotional return to the top after beating Ray Reardon 18-15 in a spectacular final.

It was a repeat of the 1976 final. At 15-15 in the final session, Higgins went on to win the next three frames, sealing the victory with a 135 break to claim his second world title.

“This is probably remembered for the scenes afterwards when Higgins was left in tears. His new-born child and wife were waiting in the wings.

"What's memorable is that there’s a famous photos of Higgins with his wife and baby daughter from the crowd after the victory."

Should Higgins have made the Antrim Mount Rushmore? Were mistakes made in him missing out?

Alex Higgins


3. 1997 - Ken Doherty wins his world title

The Darlin’ of Dublin, Ken Doherty won his only World title by defeating defending champion Stephen Hendry 18–12 in the final.

In doing so, Doherty also became the first snooker player to win the World Championship at junior, amateur and professional level.

“Coming up against Stephen Hendry who won the title in ’92, ’93 ’94, '95 and ’96. So, that puts into context how scary Hendry was in that era.

“Doherty came into the championship in horrific form with nobody expecting him to do any damage.

“Ken beat the Canadian Alain Robidoux 17-7 in the semi-final with a session to spare, so Ken had an extra long break over Stephen Hendry which could’ve played a part.

“It was an extraordinary final. 18-12 was the final score. There was a bit of a comeback from Hendry that could’ve left Doherty thinking 'this may not be my day.'

“For this final it was the case where a lot of people remember where they were. RTÉ for the first time ever picked up the coverage so Irish people could watch it. A lot of people in Ireland got to see the final balls being potted for that reason.

“It’s scenes you can only compare to Shane Lowry in Clara after winning the Open Championship. Unfortunately, it was his only Championship win losing the following year in the final”

ken doherty


2. 2013 - Ronnie wins after a year out

“I’ll take away the 'perhaps,' Ronnie is the greatest player to play the game.”

2013 saw Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Barry Hawkins 18-12 in the final to clinch his fifth world title. Despite having only played a single competitive match all season, O’Sullivan also did not lose a session throughout that World Championship.

“After winning the title in 2012, Ronnie decided to stop playing snooker. He hung up the cue and worked part-time on a pig farm in the English countryside. He removed himself completely from the sport.

“Before the 2013 championship, he decided to start playing again and see how he gets on. This is the equivalent of Tiger Woods dropping the sport for one more Masters and winning it.”

“He credits a lot of his win to the psychologist Steve Peters. This is a guy who worked with Liverpool in 2012. He doesn’t have much interest in sport, but he talked to Ronnie about the Chimp Paradox.

“This is a psychological term, where Ronnie has a chimp on his shoulder that he must get rid of. Ronnie took this very seriously and I’d be very surprised if he’s not in contact with Peters to this day.”

The victory also meant O’Sullivan joins Steve Davis, Mark Shelby and Stephen Hendry as the only players to successfully defend their titles at the Crucible.


1. 1985 - black ball final (Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis)

We couldn’t possibly leave this out, could we? Finals don’t come better than this.

"People of a certain vintage will remember where they were on Monday April 29th, 1985."

Dennis Taylor won his only World Championship after beating the strong favourite Steve Davis 18-17 on the last black in a final that would become one of the most famous sporting moments in history.

“Davis went 8-0 up in this final, what is a race to 18. The final was not of great quality, there weren’t that many centuries, but you have Davies missing the final black to win the World Championship.

“He was the villain. He was boring Steve Davis.”

The county Tyrone man was able to crawl back on day two to tie the score at 11-11 and again at 15-15.

Taylor then won a closely fought 33rd frame, followed by a 50+ break in frame 34, to level the match at 17–17 and force a deciding frame.

Davis led 62–59 in the decider, with only the black left on the table. After repeated attempts to pot the black for the victory, Taylor eventually did it to win his only World Championship.

The final attracted 18.5 million viewers on the BBC, finishing at 12:25am with the 35th and final frame lasting 68 minutes. The final is the longest match ever held over the length of 35 frames at 14 hours and 50 minutes.

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Read more about

Dennis Taylor Jimmy White Ken Doherty Ronnie O'Sullivan Snooker Stephen Hendry Steve Davis World Snooker World Snooker Championship