4) STEPHEN HENDRY 18, JIMMY WHITE 14 (Final, 1992)
It’s hard to explain to younger readers or those who have only just discovered snooker the huge wave of goodwill there was towards Jimmy White as he sought the game’s ultimate prize.
It wasn’t through dislike of any of his opponents or any other factor than the public’s genuine love for Jimmy, who had put them through so many trials and tribulations over the years.
By 1992 he was appearing in his fourth world final and third in succession. He’d had a good season but was up against the all conquering king in Stephen Hendry.
Their final began closely but White built a 10-6 overnight lead and at 12-6 looked like he would canter to victory. At 14-8 he still looked a certainty but Hendry won the next and, crucially, the last of the afternoon session, potting a brown that remains one of the best shots of his, or anyone else’s, career.
In the couple of hours before play resumed, White had to countenance thoughts that his likely victory may yet turn into another disappointing defeat.
He lost the first frame on the black and Hendry flew from that point, finishing the match with back to back centuries, two of three he made in the final session.
White was, as ever, gracious in defeat. He had lost to a Hendry who was, at the time, a force of nature.
White’s fans consoled themselves with the thought that there was always next year, but they and the Whirlwind himself were well aware that Hendry would be there as well. As he would the year after that and the year after that and...