I hope you've enjoyed this look back at the greatest Crucible comebacks.

For a whole host of reasons, notably being there that afternoon and watching the drama unfold and its aftermath, there was only one choice for the winner for me...

1) KEN DOHERTY 17, PAUL HUNTER 16 (Semi-finals, 2003)

Ken Doherty could have been forgiven for being exhausted before his semi-final with Paul Hunter even began. He had come through 10-9 on the black against Shaun Murphy, in a decider over Graeme Dott and 13-8 from 10-0 up to John Higgins.

Perhaps tiredness played a part as he fell 15-9 behind. The inspiration that sets great champions apart certainly played a part in him fighting back to record one of the most dramatic victories ever seen on a snooker table.

The final session was held on a Saturday afternoon. Organisers, worried the public would see just two frames, were making plans for an exhibition.

In a way the audience did see one, courtesy of the 1997 champion. Crucially, he won two close frames to shake Hunter’s resolve and himself grew in confidence as he hit back with everything he had.

Hunter did get to 16-14 but his game fell apart as Doherty got stronger, coming through in a one-sided decider.

It was fine snooker but what also set this match apart was the spirit in which it was played. Backstage, Hunter wished Doherty all the best for the final. He embraced the Irishman’s friend, Mick. He was gracious in the press conference.

Doherty too paid tribute to Hunter for his performance. It would have been hard to discern for anyone wandering into the Crucible who had won and who had lost.

Disappointment for Hunter was tempered by the widely held belief that, one day, the world title would be his. Cruelly, fate would intervene in a manner that remains both tragic and shocking.


Monique said...

It's hard to believe it's been only 6 years. Paul left us more than 2 1/2 years ago already and Ken, who back then looked as if he could win the World, hasn't qualified and is considering retirement.
This hurts.

Anonymous said...

Golden days indeed.
Ken should have won the title that year. He knows it and I don't think he ever really got over not winning.

Anonymous said...

Snooker The Fine Art Copyright method.
Dear David

You­­ asked about Ladies snooker and Mr hey­ you gave you a­­ fairly good but short article, all on­ the Ladies­ game.­ Girls are maybe afraid of a snooker­ cue action­ and the­ possible damage they may endure with­ a­ strong­ strike.

The cue action recommended by Terry Griffiths in his video BASIC SKILLS is possivively DANGEROUS and should be with drawn immediately.

Women would love to play snooker and­­ should­ be informed of the cue action that over comes­­ playing­ over and across the breasts. The Glover Safty­­ Grip­ should be advertised to set off a revolutation­ in­­ Ladies Snooker.

David had a chance to plug­ ladies­­ snooker. The game of snooker is being denied­ to­­ probable a million females in this country­ alone.­­ Snooker is not a male game to be shuned in­ these days­­ of equality.

The Glover safety Grip is­ open to all­ players to adopt. But not for commercial­ use

Claus Christensen said...

Quit spamming the comment sections. If you think you create goodwill for your junk you are way wrong. Do you even care about Dave's blog at all? Enough already.

wildJONESEYE said...

was that the greatest comeback or is it seen like that following the sad death of paul ?

i watched that match but theres others that has stayed in my mind more even the Bond v Thorburn comeback almost 10 years before.

Matt said...

I'll never forget THAT fluke from Ken during his comeback, along with Cliff's that is probably the most memorable fluke ever for me.

Anonymous said...

What fluke?

Matt said...


5:31 on this (excellent), video.

kimball said...

All credit to Doherty, but whitout
an incredible run of the balls,
a comeback like that is not possible.

Anonymous said...

kimball said...
All credit to Doherty, but whitout
an incredible run of the balls,
a comeback like that is not possible.

that is quite simply not a true statement. youre obviously entitled to your opinion but many similar comebacks in many tournaments (not just the crucible (in other tournaments especially finals) have taken place over the years and never included "incredible" run of the balls.

i dispute even run of the balls is needed, never mine "incredible run of the balls". it helps, but it doesnt make the impossible possible.

Anonymous said...

Matt - I remember it now. Jammy get! Luck of the Irish or so they claim...