1982 - ALEX HIGGINS WINS SECOND WORLD TITLE
The 1982 World Championship was expected to conclude with a Steve Davis-Terry Griffiths final.
These two players had dominated the season, contesting four finals, but neither survived the first round. Griffiths fell 10-6 to Willie Thorne while Davis fell victim to arguably the biggest Crucible shock of all time, a 10-1 defeat to Tony Knowles.
With Cliff Thorburn also a first fence faller it left the championship wide open.
Step forward one Alexander Gordon Higgins.
He had won the title for the first time a decade earlier. This had had a huge impact on snooker, bringing in fans excited by his lightning fast style of play and combustible personality.
A litany of disciplinary transgressions did nothing to dilute his popularity. He was known as the people’s champion and, for a second time, he was about to become world champion.
A routine 10-5 win against Jim Meadowcroft was followed by a nerve-wracking struggle with Doug Mountjoy in the second round which he finally won 13-12 before Thorne was dispatched 13-10 in the quarter-finals.
The 69 break Higgins made to stay in his semi-final against Jimmy White has been repeated endlessly since.
Quite right too. It is an extraordinary break. As John Spencer said on commentary, it could be argued to be one of the worst breaks ever made because Higgins is hardly ever in position, but the balls he knocks in under pressure make it one of the best ever seen.
It brought the match to 15-15 and Higgins comfortably won the decider to reach the final.
He was up against Ray Reardon, an authority figure in the same way Higgins was anti-establishment.
Reardon was 5-3 up after the first session but Higgins pulled 10-7 clear after the first day.
He failed to pull away further during a tense final day and, at 15-15, Reardon was still well placed to win a seventh world title.
However, Higgins, roared on by his vociferous supporters, powered through the last three frames, limiting Reardon to only nine points.
His 135 total clearance in the last frame was his highest ever break at the Crucible.
It is the scenes that followed, though, that live longest in the memory: Higgins in floods of tears as he beckoned his then wife, Lynn, and baby daughter, Lauren, on to the Crucible stage.
The image of the three locked in a tearful embrace with the World Championship trophy is one of the most iconic in snooker history.
It represented an all too brief moment of contentment for this most troubled of stars.