Steve Davis played some sublime snooker in reaching the UK Championship final last season.
The sport leans heavily – often too heavily – on nostalgia but Davis’s run to the final captured the imagination. It was 25 years since he won the first of his six UK titles and to beat Stephen Maguire, Ken Doherty and Stephen Hendry was a sterling effort.
Against Maguire, he made a 145 total clearance, his highest break since he constructed the first televised 147 in 1982, in recovering from 8-6 down. It was incredible and set the tone for the week.
In the end, Davis came unstuck 10-6 against Ding Jun Hui – hardly a disgrace but disappointing for the grand old man of snooker and his many fans nonetheless.
“It was a thrill to play such good snooker,” the 49 year-old recalls now. “In getting to the final I played some of the best stuff of my career.
"It doesn’t surprise me when I play well. In fact I find it very frustrating when I don’t but the standard is so high these days that you need a few factors to come together to get to a final.
“I under achieved a bit against Ding. It was a great tournament for me but that was the missing piece in the jigsaw. Perhaps I wanted it a bit too much. It’s been 11 years since I won my last ranking title and I was so close to getting my hands on the trophy.
“It would be wonderful to get a tailwind behind me and have another long run in the tournament.”
Davis’s great run last year – it was his 100th final – was reminiscent of Doug Mountjoy’s heroics in the 1988 UK Championship.
Mountjoy won the title in 1978 but, ten years on, his best days were presumed to be behind him.
Down to 24th in the rankings, he wasn’t given any real chance in Preston but ended up beating Hendry 16-12 in the final. Mountjoy even knocked in three successive centuries in the process.
In case anyone mistakenly assumed this was some sort of fluke he then went and won the next ranking tournament, the Mercantile Classic.
Davis still has the class to perform at the highest level and a Mountjoy-style performance at York next month would be universally popular.