7 of the Best Snooker Matches of the 80's & 90's

Updated: 25703 Snooker

Here I take a look at some of the very best snooker matches tohave taken place during the 1980's and 1990's.It is not an exhaustive list, rather, I would very much invitereaders to suggest other classic snooker matches they recall

7 of the Best Snooker Matches of the 80's & 90's
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

Here I take a look at some of the very best snooker matches to have taken place during the 1980s and 1990s.

It is not an exhaustive list, rather, I would very much invite readers to suggest other classic snooker matches they recall over the years, even those that predate this list or indeed some from this century!

Since being a snooker nut during my formative years and spending many a night sleeping under the tables in the Commercial Road snooker club in Commercial Road in Portsmouth or the Cranes Water club closer to the beach.

The 1980s were awash with dreams of playing snooker like my heroes of the time, Ray Reardon, Alex Higgins, Steve Davis, and Jimmy White.

I have selected here seven matches which I feel were the best of the 20 years or so I played seriously and they feature, on more than one occasion in an instance, the latter three named of my then hero's

There will be disagreement I am sure.

There were many more games in the period, such as Cliff Thorburn's first televised 147 to consider, Joe Johnson's amazing win in the '80s, and the emergence of Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan who shaped the game in turn to what it is today.

And many players through the period that don't get a mention at all.

I shall leave it to you, to perhaps highlight some of these, and perhaps from a list, I could create further similar blogs

I hope you can find the time, albeit surely not in a single sitting to enjoy the games, frames, and highlights I have found to accompany and show just why I rate them so highly.

Please bookmark and come back, again and again, to ensure if you've not watched these matches before, you do so at some point 

I am sure, like me, even if you have seen them previously, or even live at the time, you'll find some fond memories re-living the amazing matches contained herein. 

They are in chronological order of no preference.

1982 World Championship Semi-Final Alex Higgins v Jimmy White

If you only take the time to watch one video in this article make this the one. 

The 1982 Semi-Final between Alex Higgins and Jimmy White was quite extraordinary for its time, 

The attacking flair shown by the young Jimmy White who was bringing a new style of potting play to the snooker scene.

Alex Higgins with his never say die attitude and own flair produced a quite stunning snooker match from which Higgins triumphed and progressed to the final to beat one of the legends of the game Ray Reardon.

Whilst the lasting memory of the tournament was Higgins celebrating in tears with his family after the final, the semi-final and in particular, Higgins 69 break in the penultimate frame go down as the best single frame of snooker I can ever remember being played. 


1983 UK Championship, Steve Davis v Alex Higgins

Alex Higgins features again already in possibly his most notable major tournament win; one of 20 he collected throughout his career. It was the 1983 UK Championship.

Higgins had beaten Tony Knowles (QF) and Terry Griffiths (SF) in fairly comfortable fashion to reach the final and face a young Steve Davis who had Tony Meo (QF) and Jimmy White (SF) on his way.

Davis was to storm to a 7-0 lead against Higgins who could only muster the highest break of 34 in the session and the match looked like being a walkover - but Higgins had other ideas.

Higgins came out fighting and won seven of the eight frames in the session to leave Davis only 8-7 up, by the time the final night began the match was squared 11-11 and we had a match on our hands.

Higgins went on to lead 14-12 at a stage only to lose 3 consecutive frames to trail 14-15 but dominated the last two frames to record a 16-15 win and a fitting end to an incredible final between two players of totally different personalities and styles.   

1984 B&H Masters Semi-Final - Jimmy White v Kirk Stevens

This game goes down in my snooker history despite being only a semi-final of the UK masters and a best of 11 matches.

What makes this one special is the three-century breaks contained therein. In a time when they weren't ten a penny. White had taken a 3-0 lead before Stevens took two back.

White then hit the first of the centuries with 113 before going on to lead the match 5-3 needing just one to get to the final.

Kirk Stevens then potted a 147 including a very difficult final pink (around 32mins on Vid) , played to perfection to set himself up to pot the black and the perfect break to rapturous celebration in the auditorium and a £10,000 cheque for the maximum.

25-year-old Stevens had given himself a chance in the game again but White at just 21 then produced an equally wonderful, if not maximum 113 breaks with some sublime potting to win the game 6-4. Incidentally White went on to beat Welshman Terry Griffiths in the final 9-5

If you want to watch the 147 and final break from White, visit youtube.   

1985 World Snooker Final Steve Davis v Dennis Taylor

No list of great snooker matches would be complete without this amazing final from 1985 when the nation stayed up past midnight to watch Dennis Taylor take the great Champion Steve Davis all the way to 35 frames for the World Snooker Championship title

The final frame remains one of the tensest and nerve-racking frames of snooker

Davis led 62-44 with just the Brown, Blue, Pink, and black left on the table.

If Taylor were to take the coveted trophy he would need all four balls.

Would he take them in one visit? Not on your Nelly!

Taylor took a long brown and the video picks up from the Blue. 

Feel the tension and enjoy those final three balls and the Taylor celebration once again.

The greatest Black Ball match in the most important tournaments of them all. 

1992 World Snooker Final Stephen Hendry v Jimmy White

By the time 1992 had come around there was only one snooker player I wished to win the final and that was Jimmy White. 

He had lost to Steve Davis back in 1984, Lost to Stephen Hendry in 1990 and again the following year to John Parrot.

The 1992 Final was just one of four finals in five years the pair were to fight out, and Jimmy was out for revenge.

He had sailed through the semi-final versus Alan McManus by a 16-7 score to face and possibly revenge the 1990 defeat to Stephen Hendry but the Scotsman has come through his semi in even more emphatic fashion by beating Terry Griffiths 16-4

With a 14-8 lead, White must have been thinking the possibility of lifting the trophy against 23-year-old Hendry a huge possibility but what was to come I would argue anyone could have envisaged

Hendry came to the table for frame 23 and White never won another frame in the game; Hendry taking all ten to win the title once again by a 14-18 scoreline.

This has to be one of the greatest Crucible comebacks of all time, and poor Jimmy went on to reach the final and meet Hendry again 1993 and 1994, to record five losses in the World Snooker Championship final in consecutive years. 

Possibly one of the greatest snooker players never to lift the trophy.

1994 World Snooker Final Stephen Hendry v Jimmy White

I have already covered the 1992 final between the pair, and the amazing comeback from Hendry but this match was possibly the greatest final since the featured, 1985 contest between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor.

Things looked like going the way of the previous finals three finals between the pair with Hendry storming to a 5-1 lead. As a White fan, I was feeling disillusioned, I've no idea how Jimmy was feeling, perhaps already staring defeat in the face after 6 frames.

White found early resolve and brought the match back into his favour leading 10-9 and perhaps finally, this was the time for the "whirlwind".

The tension built during the remainder of the match as no player could get further than 2 frames in front of the other until finally we arrived at 17-17 and everything resting on a  final frame decider. Which way would it go? And how?

Hendry got first run on the frame but couldn't do the job in one visit and Jimmy was able to counter. 

In a match and rivalry, by now resembling that of Eubank and Benn in the boxing ring, neither was giving up and at a point when Jimmy White needed just a few more points to finally get his hands on the trophy he missed a straight black.

Hendry went in for the kill and Jimmy never returned to the table and faced picking up the runner-up cheque for the fifth consecutive year! 

1997 Liverpool Victoria Charity Challenge Trophy Final, Stephen Hendry v Ronnie O'Sullivan

This one may have gone under the radar being a non-ranking charity match in a short-lived series but might actually be one of the greatest snooker matches ever

Stephen Hendry remained at the peak of his snooker powers and Ronnie O'Sullivan was a sublime talent about to take over.

A best of 17 final where there was no personal prize money or ranking points on offer but we were to witness the greatest televised snooker match ever!

Arguably the two best snooker players ever and the very best of their form

Being the best of 17 matches, just 9 frames were required to take the charity prize money and when Hendry shot into a 6-2 lead in the first session it looked like it wouldn't take long for him to finish of the Rocket.

It looked even more certain when at the start of the second session Hendry won the opening two to lead 8-2 and require just one more for the trophy.

Someone lit the Rockets fuse for he came out and won the next 6 frames to bring the score to 8-8 and leave a deciding frame to be played. 

O'Sullivan had the momentum and perhaps he was favoured to complete an incredible comeback and win

What was to happen next had never happened before, and will probably never happen again - 

Not only did Hendry win the final frame after losing the previous six, he did so with a maximum 147, to record the seventh-century break in the final alone.

Snooker Conclusion

So completes my list of greatest snooker matches in the '80s and '90s

Others that were short-listed were the

1992 B&H Masters match between Hendry (again) and Mike Hallet, where Hendry found himself 0-7 and 2-8 down only to level to 8-8 and go on and win. Another great comeback

1986 Crucible Final between Joe Johnson and Terry Griffiths, when the Welshman led 12-9 and need a single frame for the World Title only for Johnson to come out and win four on the bounce in under an hour to snatch the trophy from under Griffiths's nose.

and perhaps sadly the 2003 final between Ken Doherty and Paul Hunter, when hunter led 15-9 and need just 2 frames to secure the title. 

Doherty fought back as he had done time and time again in that year's final rounds. 

Hunter got to within a frame, leading 16-14 but Doherty just kept coming and won 17-16.

The saddest part of this match was that Hunter would surely become world champion one day but alas fate dealt a cruel blow and prevented him from ever doing so. 

Again I know there are games I have left out, but please do suggest any you think of, and perhaps I can complete another blog at some point in the future. 

I welcome your comments and look forward to reading your Snooker Tips. 

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