Top Ten Snooker Celebrations
After Liang Wenbo’s high jinks upon winning the Coral English Open, let’s take a look back at some memorable snooker celebrations from years gone by.
Liang’s delight was plain for all to see as he potted the winning balls in Manchester last Sunday to win his first ranking title:
This is what it means to win a maiden ranking title. Congratulations Liang Wenbo!#CoralEnglishOpen https://t.co/UZDm9Q55HE
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker1) October 16, 2016
And here are ten more memorable celebrations….
10. McCulloch’s Jig
At the 2005 World Championship, Ian McCulloch faced Graeme Dott in the first round, and it was a real nail-biter which went to the deciding frame at 9-9. McCulloch trailed 38-0 when he potted a brilliant long red, then fashioned an extraordinary 63 clearance to win the match. The Preston Potter could not contain himself as he danced a jig around the table which might have been more familiar at the Highland Games. He was not asked to audition for Strictly Come Dancing.
9. Davis Tackled
In 1981, Steve Davis took the first step towards fulfilling his potential by winning his maiden world title, beating Doug Mountjoy in the final at the Crucible. Davis looked calm as the enormity of his achievement began to sink in, but within seconds of the last balls going down he was hit with a flying bear-hug by his manager Barry Hearn who had dashed on to the stage to celebrate. Hearn later described his lunge as “a rugby tackle that would have taken most people out.”
8. Robertson Duke Of York
Neil Robertson’s victory at the Betway UK Championship last year was particularly notable for his brilliant 147 in the sixth frame of the final against Liang Wenbo. It was the first ever maximum break in the final of a Triple Crown event and it was clear how much that piece of history meant to the Australian as he potted a tricky black to complete the break before punching the air in delight. Watch the video here. Robertson will be defending the crown in York next month – for ticket details click here.
7. Kirk’s Magic Max
Back in 1984, Kirk Stevens made the first 147 in the Masters – and it remained the only maximum until Ding Junhui’s in 2007. After executing brilliant pots on the pink and black, Stevens rushed straight into a clinch with unsuspecting referee John Smyth. The charismatic Canadian then embraced his opponent Jimmy White, before returning to his seat and roaring with laughter as he realised the significance of his accomplishment.
6. Ebdon Ecstatic
Peter Ebdon has a reputation for wearing his heart on his sleeve, not least in 2006 when tears of relief rolled down his face as he potted the winning balls of a dramatic World Championship victory over Marco Fu. But it was at the Crucible in 2001, during a second round defeat of Stephen Lee, that Ebdon’s explosion into raptures caught the public attention. After potting a long black in the deciding frame of a 13-12 success, Ebdon roared “Come on!” several times while clenching his fists, in a remarkable outpouring of emotion.
5. Fangs For The Memories
In 2004, Ronnie O’Sullivan won his second world title with an 18-8 defeat of Graeme Dott in the Crucible final. As he collected the trophy and raised it aloft to his fans, O’Sullivan fixed a set of giant false teeth into his mouth. Any viewers unfamiliar with the Rocket’s appearance must have thought he had serious dental issues, until it became obvious that this was a practical joke. It was mistakenly reported that this was a tribute to O’Sullivan’s mentor Ray ‘Dracula’ Reardon, when in fact the Chigwell cueman was dared to wear the dentures by a friend.
4. Cliff Goes Over The Edge
Steve Davis made the first televised 147 in 1982, but undoubtedly a more famous maximum is Cliff Thorburn’s the following year as it was the first made in the World Championship. The break, which started with a fluked red, culminated in Thorburn potting the final black then sinking to his knees and raising his arms in sheer joy. Fellow Canadian Bill Werbeniuk and Terry Griffiths had peered around the dividing partition to watch the end of the break, then embraced Thorburn in the mother of all bear hugs.
3. The Swing Of Things
It was obvious from the very early stages of Judd Trump’s snooker career that he was something special. In 2003, he became the youngest ever winner of the Pontin’s Open, beating experienced Mike Hallett, a former ranking event winner and Masters runner-up, in the final. Trump was aged just 13 at the time, but was already so accustomed to winning trophies that he celebrated with nothing more than a turn on the swings.
2. Hurricane’s Baby Bliss
Alex Higgins, one of snooker’s greatest ever talents, won his first world title in 1972, but ten years later, at the age of 33, must have wondered whether he would ever lift the famous trophy again. Until, that is, he captured the Crucible crown after a dramatic 16-15 defeat of Jimmy White in the semi-finals and an 18-15 triumph over Ray Reardon in the final. The scenes that followed were unforgettable. Marecurial Higgins had tears streaming down his face as he anxiously beckoned wife Lynn and baby daughter Lauren on to the stage, before taking Lauren in one arm as he held the trophy in the other.
1. Taylor’s Triumph
Dennis Taylor against Steve Davis, 1985, the Crucible, 18.5 million viewers, the final black…it’s one of the most famous events in sporting history. Among the most iconic images to emerge from this incredible night, alongside Davis’ missed black and Taylor’s final pot, were those of the jovial Ulsterman with the huge glasses shaking his cue above his head, stamping his feet, kissing the trophy and wagging his finger in the air with a huge grin on his face, as if to say “I told you I could do it.” Those moments are forever etched on the memories of those who witnessed the occasion.