All sports rely on an influx of fresh, new talent but you can’t quite beat the legends rolling back the years for excitement.

Yesterday’s play at the 888.com World Championship was thrilling as first Stephen Hendry, then Steve Davis evoked memories of their respective heydays by hitting the comeback trail at the Crucible.

Hendry pulled it off, rallying from 6-3 and 9-7 down to see off Mark Allen 10-9.

Davis just came up short, losing 10-8 to Stuart Bingham after fighting from 8-3 adrift to 8-8.

Hendry’s recovery proved that the Crucible has inspired him to produce close to his best form. Although Allen slipped up, the Scot finished off in style, in one visit in the decider.

“There are a lot of good players capable of winning the title but as long as I’m still in it they’ve got a headache,” he said afterwards.

And who could possibly argue with that?

Davis lost out after messing up position from blue to pink in an extraordinary 17th frame. He had Bingham on the ropes and failed to land the knockout blow but what a great performance it was.

Gone are the days 50 year-old Davis is booed at venues. The support he enjoyed from the crowd last night was amazing.

Nobody can go on forever, but Hendry and Davis are a breed apart because the competitive fire burns deeper in them than any of the players who have followed them.

They would always look to the next tournament after picking up a trophy. They never got comfortable.

Hendry believes he can land an eighth world title. As long as he remains in the event then this possibility cannot be written off.

As for Davis, he will have to qualify next year. Regardless, I repeat what I said in my closing line of commentary for Eurosport last night: He’s walked off the Crucible stage for what may be the last time, but hasn’t he left us with some wonderful memories.


Anonymous said...

First of all: Hendry is not going to win. Yes he has experience. Yes he has guts. That was enough to see him scrape through his first round tie. It may be enough to see him through another. But... He is not playing anywhere near well enough to win the whole thing!!

Despite this, it's great to see the likes of Hendry and especially Davis at the cCrucible, and getting the reception they deserve from the crowd. It's only a pity Jimmy White isn't playing. Todays players just don't seem to have the aura or the personality around them that the greats of even 10 years ago do/did.

Davis is my favourite snooker player and i pray that he will be back next time round, and hopefully can roll back the years and get a few wins. Would love Hendry to surprise me and make it to the latter stages.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame STEVE DAVIS couldn't have kept his top 16 place. You know if he could qualify for the 2010 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS he will have played at the Crucible in five different decades. What other top sportsmen would be able to boast a record like that. Not many

Nick B

Anonymous said...

It was a great comeback by Hendry yesterday but you have to say that Allen rather threw it away yesterday with some casual play. Shame really, as I think the Irishman has the potential to go all the way in the game, and has done well to get near the top 16 after just three seasons on the tour.

Sam T

Anonymous said...

Yes Hendry did struggle but showed resilience and the result might just be the catalyst that he needs to have an excellent run in the tournament for the first time in four years.