Incredibly, Fred Davis reached the 1978 World Championship semi-finals at the age of 64.
The Derbyshire born cueman didn’t quite make it to the final-beaten by South African Perrie Mans- but it was still a remarkable performance by a man who first played at the championship just over half a century earlier.
He made his farewell appearance at the Crucible in 1984 but carried on playing on the professional circuit until 1992.
When he finally hung up his cue Fred, younger brother of ‘Sultan of Snooker’ Joe Davis, was 78. Unsurprisingly, he was the oldest professional sportsman in the world at the time.
It brought an end to a remarkable career that yielded an OBE and the affection of the snooker watching public everywhere.
For long periods overshadowed by the exploits of Joe, he was in fact the only player to beat his older brother on level terms.
Born on August 14, 1913 Fred made his name initially as a billiards player, becoming National Under-16 champion followed by World Junior title winner.
His world snooker debut saw him lose to Welshman Bill Withers though Joe avenged the defeat with a 30-1 trouncing in the very next round. Long before Dennis Taylor became famous for his upside down specs, Fred cured his short-sightedness with a pair of swivel-lens glasses.
Three semi-final appearances followed before the outbreak of World War Two when Fred served in the army.
On being de-mobbed and with Joe now retired, Fred’s world jinx struck once more against Walter Donaldson. He reached the final this time but lost 82-63! Davis avenged his defeat in 1948 and added another seven titles between then and 1956.
The demise of the game saw Fred retire to his wife’s hotel in Llandudno and he lost in three world challenges against John Pulman. Despite a heart attack and the emergence of a new breed of player, Fred more than held his own. He twice captained England’s World Cup side and also won the World Billiards title in 1981 and 1982.
Only himself and Joe have ever done the double.
After a life dominated by cue sport he died on April 16, 1998 just a couple of days before the start of that year’s world championship.