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.


Anonymous said...

Nice post Dave
I too remember the particular excitement and the additional value placed upon the tournament with the 31 frame final- I think it a shame it was discontinued. Most ranking finals were longer back in the mid 80s though - normally being best of 25 or 23 to suit itv with a Sunday afternoon finish - only the invitationals like the Masters were a best of 17 sprint! John H

Anonymous said...

I miss the best of 31 final too Dave- is there any reason why it was discontinued?

It's not like they couldn't still fit a 4 session final into the schedule- they drop from a 2 table situation to a 1 table just to play the semis on 2 different days (Fri & Sat). If they kept the semis on 2 tables (they could even make these best of 19), they could be played on the same day, leaving 2 clear days for a bigger final.

jamie brannon said...

On the table is what matters really if it becomes boring in that area then the game is over.Lets not forget Ronnie's 147 last year as well.

Anonymous said...

147s only win one frame. ok they are memorable, but not as memorable as title winners, in decades to come

jamie brannon said...

I disagree more people remember His 1997 maxiumum than when Stephen Maguire won it. Look at Daves great Snooker moments it was 3rd.

Dave H said...

It works both ways

Cliff Thorburn says that in the UK he is best known for his max and in Canada for winning the world title

Anonymous said...

i was talking about in future decades, hence why i typed that jamie

jamie brannon said...

In future decades the maximum will be remembered more still. I agrre Dave it does im disagreeing with the person who thinks titles are always rembered more there not.

Anonymous said...

youre having a laugh.

the odd maximum will be remembered more than tournament winners, but not maximums in general. also i didnt use the word always. my opinion wasnt being exclusive at all. it was a general statement of my own opinion

Anonymous said...

The UK is a great tournament. I remember every one on your list Dave and I was lucky enough to live in York when it was held at the Barbican and I've got many fond memories from those times.

Like getting to see the qualifiers with a view over 5 tables the week before, O'Sullivan outclassing Doherty in 2001, the buzz around the Barbican as Davis went 7-0 up on Hendry in the 2005 semi, O'Sullivan's walk out at 4-1 down to Hendry, Williams losing his 48 match unbeaten run in the 1st round (that's a bad memory!), seeing Ebdon lift the title in a perfect tonic to my banging head after the xmas party the night before, watching extra time in the Rugby World Cup final in the queue outside the arena and seeing England win, everyone cheered and immediately the doors opened to start the day with O'Sullivan and Williams on the schedule...great personal memories to add to all the memories growing up with this event.

I hope the UK comes back to York, it's a far nicer place than Telford in the run up to christmas but I would say that wouldn't I?