You may have noticed that the World Championship will soon be upon us.

And so, I have decided to do a countdown this week highlighting some of the best comeback victories ever seen at the Crucible.

My top ten will take into account the deficit erased, the significance of the match and the manner in which the recovery was completed.

As ever, these are my choices - you may well disagree with them - and it is only a bit of fun.

First up, numbers 10 to 9...

10) JOE SWAIL 13, JOHN PARROTT 12 (Second round, 2000)

Joe Swail’s career has been defined by him winning matches he probably should have lost. To qualify for the 2000 World Championship he came from 9-6 down to edge Stephen Maguire in a decider – Maguire missing the pink for a 10-6 victory.

The battling Belfast man won many friends with his emotional run to the semi-finals at the Crucible that year, the highlight of which was his recovery from 12-8 down against John Parrott.

The 1991 world champion scored only four points in the two frames following the interval as Swail came back at him. Swail comfortably won the next, captured the hard fought 24th frame on the colours and he took the match with Parrott potting only one ball in the decider.

It was the perfect encapsulation of Swail’s never-say-die attitude and poise under pressure.

On the other hand, the defeat heralded a decline for Parrott that was rapid and soon saw him relegated from the game’s elite. In fact, he’s never really been the same since.

9) TERRY GRIFFITHS 10, JAMIE BURNETT 9 (First round, 1996)

By 1996, Terry Griffiths’s great career had all but come to an end. He seemed certain to drop out of the elite top 16 and was about to put his cue away for good.

But this wiliest of old foxes still possessed plenty of tactical nous and somehow plotted a course to victory after making the worst possible start against Burnett – going 6-0 down.

At 9-5, it still looked bleak for the 1979 champion but he made a couple of half century breaks and used all his experience to win two close frames and force a decider.

Even so, he looked certain to lose 10-9 when Burnett needed only the brown to leave him requiring a snooker. Burnett potted it but inexplicably screwed back for position on the blue and the cue ball found a middle pocket.

Griffiths would eventually sink a long black for the most dramatic of victories and his clenched fist at the end proved that, even in the autumn of his career, a win at the Crucible meant a lot to him.

Meanwhile, Burnett has had to wait 13 years to get back to the Crucible. “I know they’ll be re-showing that shot over and over before my first round match,” he said after qualifying this year.


JohnH said...

Great memories. I was in the crucible for Joe Swails victory over Parrott and it was definitely one of the best matches I have ever seen. The wave of emotion for Swails victory coupled with sympathy for the popular Parrott created a level of atmosphere that I have seldom experienced there. Thanks for helping me relive the memories.

Anonymous said...

Still to come: Doherty in 2003 (pick any match), Bond v Thorburn, Taylor v Davis and my personal favourite, Murphy v Stevens - the 2007 re-run of the 2005 final which ranks as one of the most dramatic sessions of snooker I've ever witnessed.

John A

Janie said...

I will never forget that match between Griff and Burnett
At 6-0 down I had "every faith"
and went and stuck a bet on Griff to win 10-9 (it was my hotel money so I'd have been in deep *** if it hadn't won)
but he did, although I had multiple heart attacks all the way through the match!!
To this day I still can't believe "that brown" that Jamie screwed back in off in the middle bag. Just shows how scrambled the players heads are in these matches.
Terry didn't even notice the blue was off its spot and it must have been the most tortuous brown to black clearance I've ever seen!

Unknown said...

Love these lists Dave! Actually, when I read the headline, I thought your list was just Crucible comebacks to the SCORE 10-9! Funny.

Anonymous said...

“I know they’ll be re-showing that shot over and over'' ?

dont worry Mr Burnett - with your opponent being Maguire, I can think of some other bad misses that they might be re-playing instead

Anonymous said...

Rex Williams - back as Chairman to save snooker !

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Rex voted in to do a job for the block vote but didn't play ball with them and tried to be neutral?
Soon discarded.

Dave H said...

Er no, not quite...

Anonymous said...

read clives book. he may be boring in the comments booth but the books good

Anonymous said...

He's not boring in the booth you fool. He borders on genius.

Anonymous said...

Bond Thorburn surely top of this. But Ken's comebacks in 2003, particularly against the late great Paul Hunter must be close too.

Anonymous said...

Hunter/Doherty tops the list, ahead of Davis/taylor as the match was near completion. What about Charlton/Thorne though and Charlton/Knowles, and Stevens/Williams, and Stevens/Murphy, and Bond/Thorburn and Charlton/Thorburn... the list goes on