2) NIGEL BOND 10, CLIFF THORBURN 9 (First round, 1994)

You think of Cliff Thorburn, you think of a granite-like match-player, a grinder, a formidable battler of the old school.

You don’t think of collapses. You don’t think of surrendering big leads. At least you didn’t until 1994 when he suffered an astonishing defeat from 9-2 up to Bond.

Thorburn was back at the Crucible for the first time since 1990 and highlighted his procession towards the second round with a 139 total clearance.

But he couldn’t quite finish the job and Bond recovered to 9-7, whereupon the match was taken off to avoid it running into the next session.

In the time before they resumed, Thorburn's mind must have been in a jam jar as he contemplated the possibility of a humiliating reversal.

He had his chances to put it away but lost two black ball frames before Bond took the decider in the early hours of the morning.

Bond went on to reach the final the following year. Thorburn never again played at the Crucible. Indeed, his career came to an end just a couple of years later.


Anonymous said...

An undignified death for an old dog.

Demon Potter said...

How many of the crowd were still awake by the end of the match?

Anonymous said...

cliff - as much of a legend as there is wrt characters of the 80s

Unknown said...

People may not think of collapses when they think of Thorburn, but this match wasn't his first: he lost 12-13 from 12-8 against Charlton in 1978, and 5-10 from 5-1 again O'Kane in 1987.

Tim Sandle said...

Thorburn also lost twice to Higgins: 6-5 (from 1-5) at the '81 Masters and 5-4 (from 0-4) at the '82 Irish Masters.

Anonymous said...

i think that is included in the reason he is more known for grinding than anything else...in the same way swail is more well known for producing the goods when under extreme pressure and the other guy is on the brink.

not that the two play the same way in each frame but their play does seem to be better when behind than it does when they try to protect leads