Steve Davis: Legend

With 28 ranking titles, six of which were World Championship victories in his dominant decade of the 1980s, Steve Davis’ legacy as one of the greatest snooker players ever was already solidified.

However, at the tender age of 55, the ‘Nugget’ is continuing to compete alongside some players almost 40 years his junior and he strengthened his remarkable presence on the circuit by today qualifying for the UK Championship in York.

As if beating Jamie Burnett 6-2 was not enough, Davis completed the triumph with a superb 141 total clearance to prove that age doesn’t count for everything when you have as much talent as he possesses.

Words can hardly describe the admiration that players and fans alike hold for the former world no.1, so much so that there should be a new superlative created in his honour – fantamazing perhaps.

It is testament to both his skill and character that he remains inside the world’s top 50 today and a mark of how much he still truly loves the game and enjoys competing.

When he overcame Ronnie O’Sullivan in a dramatic Masters final in 1997 people were even then suggesting that this could be one of the Londoner’s last hurrahs. He was still only 39!

Then came the Welsh Open final in 2004, where Ronnie exacted some revenge in a nail-biting decider and the magical run to the UK Championship final in 2005 where he eventually ran out of gas against up-and-coming star Ding Junhui.

But perhaps most astonishing of them all was the incredible journey to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Championship at the Crucible – once a stage he famously made his own.

Qualifying and beating Mark King in the first round to become the oldest player to win a match in the tournament since 1989 was a feat in itself, but to then go on and oust the defending champion John Higgins 13-11 to reach the quarter-finals was on a different stratosphere altogether.

The victories over the last couple of seasons have become less frequent but they do still come and, by qualifying for the second biggest major, he assures himself an extra little bit of a safety net in the world rankings battle.

For five years the question was whether or not Davis could reach the milestone of 55.

Well, he surpassed that with his birthday in August and now the query on everyone’s lips is can he still be on the circuit at 60?

Who knows. The game is expanding at a rapid pace and the demands of an almost year-long calendar could eventually take its toll. But, then again, we’ve thought that before.

It will be a thrill to see Davis compete at the UK Championship again, an event he has won a record six times in the past.

He will face Ali Carter in the last 32. I don’t think anyone would dream big enough to think he could go on and win it but his presence alone, in a waistcoat rather than a v-neck jumper for BBC, will put a smile on many people’s faces.

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