The Maplin UK Championship is one of snooker’s oldest and most prestigious tournaments.
It began in 1977 as an event for British and Irish players only and became a ranking tournament in 1984.
There have been many memorable moments over the years:
- Steve Davis winning in 1980, his first major title
- Alex Higgins’s comeback from 7-0 down to beat Davis 16-15 in 1983
- Doug Mountjoy’s remarkable victory at the age of 46 in 1988
- The Hendry-Davis final of 1990, the game’s two all time greats at the peak of their powers with Hendry winning 16-15
- Jimmy White’s 1992 triumph
- Ronnie O’Sullivan winning the 1993 title a week before his 18th birthday
- Hendry making seven centuries in the 1994 final – possibly the best anyone has ever played
- Marcus Campbell stunning Hendry 9-0 in the first round in 1998
- O’Sullivan’s 10-1 destruction of Ken Doherty in the 2001 final
- Jamie Burnett’s 148 in the 2004 qualifiers
- Davis reaching the final – his 100th as a pro – in 2005
Doubtless snooker fans will have many more memories. The tournament was particularly high profile when it was held at Preston Guild Hall from 1978 to 1997.
I used to enjoy the two day, best of 31 frame finals but these were discontinued in 1993.
The first round line up this year is one of the strongest I can remember.
It’s worth remembering that for all the issues affecting snooker off the table, on the table it is as fascinating as ever.