30.1.09

THE GREATS OF WELSH SNOOKER...CONTINUED (AGAIN)

So, we're down to numbers 4 to 3 of the countdown of Welsh greats and this could be where the arguments start...


4) DOUG MOUNTJOY
Years on tour: 1976-1997
Highest ranking: 5

Mountjoy was a miner who played snooker in the evenings and became twice Welsh amateur champion before, in 1976, he won the World amateur crown and was accepted into the pro ranks.

He made an immediate impact, winning the Masters at his first attempt. In 1978 he won the UK title. Three years later he reached the world final at the Crucible where Steve Davis beat him 18-12. He spent 11 successive years in the elite top 16 and was one of snooker’s best known figures of the 1980s boom.

But Mountjoy earns his place so highly in this list for his extraordinary resurgence when it looked as if he had entered terminal decline. He won the 1988 UK Championship – ten years after first winning it – at the age of 46. He made three successive centuries in the final, where he beat the boy king of snooker, Stephen Hendry, 16-12.

Even more remarkably, he also won the next ranking event, the Mercantile Classic, rose to fifth in the world and was runner-up in the 1991 Dubai Classic at the age of 49.

Sadly, Mountjoy suffered from cancer and had a lung removed. He was also the victim of serious mismanagement but he still plays snooker from time to time for his working men’s club in Abertysswg.


3) TERRY GRIFFITHS
Years on tour: 1978-1997
Highest ranking: 3

Griffiths was an unassuming newcomer to the ranks when, in 1979, he won the world title at his first attempt and ushered in a new era for snooker.

He had worked as a bus conductor, insurance salesman and postman who was 25 before he started playing snooker at a serious competitive level. Twice English amateur champion, he took the plunge into the professional ranks. He won an exhausting semi-final at the Crucible against Eddie Charlton and proclaimed, live on TV, “I’m in the final now, you know.”

This was typical of Griffiths’s humility but he was a fierce competitor, although not just a tactician as is often now believed, and is one of only seven players to have won the game’s big three titles. In addition to his Crucible success, Griffiths won the 1980 Masters and the UK Championship in 1982 as well as 13 other professional titles.

Griffiths lost all seven of his Crucible meetings with Steve Davis, who beat him 18-11 in the 1988 world final. Perhaps he should have won more titles but the 1980s was more competitive than many remember and Davis was invariably his downfall.

When Griffiths dropped out of the elite top 16 in 1996 after 17 years he decided to retire but entered the World Championship one last time where he lost 10-9 in the first round to Mark Williams. The result symbolised the passing of the baton from a great Welsh player of the past to one of the future.

Griffiths, who runs a snooker club in Llanelli, went on to become the game’s most respected coach and also commentates for the BBC.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep, it's Roscoe all the way.

I remember a period in the 80's where for what seemed like a couple of years, every final was Davis v Griffiths. If Steve hadn't been around I think Terry would have been a prolific winner back then.

Anonymous said...

so, only ray and mark j to go

Anonymous said...

give that man a gold star!

Anonymous said...

Can we have a top ten Maltese version of this next Dave?

Anonymous said...

1981-2. Every major final contested by TG and SD. Apart from worlds in which they both got knocked out in the first round.

Sparky said...

I'd personally rank Matt Stevens higher than Doug Mountjoy, although Mountjoy is of course one of my all-time favourites (then again, so is Stevens). They've both won the UK and the Masters, but I beleive Stevens was a more feared player at his prime, and he also had more and better opponents than Mountjoy.

I hope Ray beats Mark for the No.1 spot!

Janie - GSC said...

so it's Reardon and Williams for 1 and 2 then.

Reardon must be no. 1.

sorry for Colin Roscoe - er and PEte Roscoe for that matter!!

Anonymous said...

The Williams v. Reardon debate's really interesting. I hope you're not going to make them tied first to avoid picking a winner! It reminds me of an ITV show from years back called "Who's the Greatest". Anyone remember it? Two people debated on behalf of two great sporting stars and the jury had to decide who was better. Steve Davis beat Joe Davis in the snooker one (this was back in the late 1980s before the field widened)

Anonymous said...

If this is about standard of player then Stevens should definitely be ahead of Mountjoy. But the title is 'Greats' of Welsh snooker, if Dave is consistent then Reardon must surely be the winner, 6 world titles & bags of character, to many the face of snooker in Wales. On standard of play alone MJW is clearly the best with Matthew Stevens second, so I think Dracula has it in the bag.

Hang on, I'm not even Welsh.

Tim Sandle said...

When people say that Stevens was a beter layer than Mountjoy it musn't be overlooked that Mountjoy beat Hendry at his peak to win the UK; and Mountjoy's earlir win in '78 in the UK was froma field which included Higgins, Spencer and Reardon.