Although he never won a major ranking tournament, ‘Steady’ Eddie Charlton was one of snooker’s most consistent players in the 1970s and early 80s.
He was the only Australian to reach an event final, until Neil Robertson came along.
Charlton was born in Merewether, New South Wales in Australia and came from a sporting family. His brother Jim was also a professional snooker player but never joined the world ranks. Eddie himself was a senior grade footballer, a champion surfer, a good cricketer and boxer. One of his proudest moments was when he carried the Olympic torch on part of its journey to the 1956 Games in Melbourne.
His first career was as a coal miner so he didn’t turn professional until 1963 at the age of 34. The following season he won the Australian Professional Championship, a title bar 1968, he won for the next twenty years. In 1968 he first came to play in England and challenged John Pulman for the world title, losing 34-39.
In 1972 he reached the world semi-final losing to John Spencer, the following year he went one better and reached the world final only to lose to Ray Reardon 32-38. Charlton came even closer in the 1975 final, losing in the deciding frame to Reardon again.
The next season he reached the semis of both the Masters and the world championship but did win one title. This was the World Matchplay Championship held in Melbourne where he eventually got the better of Reardon, winning 31-24.
Also proficient at billiards, he twice, unsuccessfully, challenged Rex Williams for the world title in 1974 and 1976 and reached a third final only to lose to Mark Wildman in 1984.
Active to the last, Eddie was taken ill while on an exhibition tour in New Zealand in 2004 and died in hospital following post-operative complications.