With just days to go until the Dafabet Masters takes over London’s Alexandra Palace, we count down ten of our favourite moments from the tour’s biggest invitational event.
Limited tickets are still available for the 2018 Dafabet Masters – see full schedule and book online here.
10. Selby Schools O’Sullivan, 2010
Having already won the title on his debut in 2008 and reached the final a year later, Mark Selby was fast building an impressive record competing at snooker’s flagship invitational, and in 2010 he faced local favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan in another Wembley final. At 9-6 down, and with O’Sullivan needing just a frame for the victory, Selby dug deep under pressure and pulled off this remarkable comeback to clinch his second Masters title.
9. McManus Topples Hendry Reign, 1994
On the hunt for, and within touching distance of his sixth consecutive Masters title, a seemingly unstoppable Stephen Hendry faced fellow Scotsman Alan McManus in the 1994 final. With a 23-match unbeaten Masters run leading into the match, McManus was up against it. With an opening lead of 3-0, McManus slipped behind at 7-5 before taking it to a decider. Compiling arguably the most important break of his career, McManus sunk 76 to deny Hendry of another shot at the trophy, and seal his first major title.
8. Stevens Makes Masters History
The magic moment which put the 1984 Masters in the history books came from Canada’s Kirk Stevens, who, facing Jimmy White in the semi finals, compiled the third televised maximum break – the first in Masters history. Despite going on to lose to 6-4, Stevens picked up £10,000 for the 147, in addition to £1,000 high break, and a gold award for breaking the tournament record.
7. Saved By the Streaker – O’Sullivan v Davis, 1997
Not safe for work…
1997’s final managed to get everyone excited for all the wrong reasons in the third frame as Ronnie O’Sullivan lead Steve Davis 2-0. Play was interrupted by 22-year-old Lianne Crofts – snooker’s first ever streaker – who was swiftly removed by security. Seeing the funny side of the match developments, O’Sullivan took to covering the eyes of referee John Street, who was officiating the final match of his career. O’Sullivan went on to hold an 8-4 lead, before Davis hit back to win the next six frames on the bounce to seal the title 10-8.
6. Doherty Misses 147 on Final Black, 2000
Needs no description. Just painful, painful viewing. Sorry, Ken.
5. O’Sullivan Equals All Time Ton Record, 2015
It might not have been exactly how he’d planned it, but Ronnie O’Sullivan sunk his 775th career century break at the 2015 Dafabet Masters against Ricky Walden, equalling the all-time record set by Stephen Hendry. On 89, O’Sullivan needed to fluke the yellow, and what happened next was simply unbelievable… In the wise words of John Virgo: ‘There’s six pockets on the table you know.’
4. The Master of Comebacks, Hendry v Hallett, 1991
In one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of the sport, Stephen Hendry managed to pull off one hell of a fightback against Mike Hallett. Hallett led 7-0 and, then went on to go one away from the title at 8-2 in the 1991 final, but Hendry – already a two-time Masters champion at this point – had other plans. Winning the next seven frames, the Scot hung on and displayed nerves of steel to win 9-8 and seal his third turn with the trophy.
3. On the Hunt for the Triple, Hunter v O’Sullivan, 2004
A mouthwatering line-up of Paul Hunter and Ronnie O’Sullivan made this a final to remember in 2004, featuring yet another gripping turnaround that made it a Masters classic. Hunter quickly took the opening two frames, but it was O’Sullivan who went on to dominate the first session, rocketing to go 6-2 up.
O’Sullivan also took the next frame to lead 7-2. However it was then that Hunter found the gears and remarkably pulled it back to win eight of the last ten frames to win 10-9 and capture his third Masters title in four years.
2. Battle on the Re-Spotted Black, Williams v Hendry, 1998
A fiercely fought 1998 final saw Mark Williams and Stephen Hendry reach a decider after Williams fought back form 9-6 down, Hendry missing the chance to win 10-6. Hendry lead the deciding frame at 56-34 before missing the brown with 22 remaining – Williams cleared to force the re-spot. Watch what happens next!
The Wizard weaves his magic.
The 2006 Masters final delivered a simply epic final frame decider between Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins that took it all the way to the final black. O’Sullivan had broken down on a break of 60, only for Higgins to then miss a long red – luckily leaving nothing easy for the Rocket. O’Sullivan then missed a tricky red, and Higgins then went on to make a sensational 64 clearance to steal the final frame on the black and seal the Masters title. Watch the final few balls: