Steve Davis’ 36-year career as a professional appears to be over.
The 56 year-old lost in his opening qualifying match for the World Championship tonight and will therefore finish outside the world’s top 64 in the rankings at the end of the season.
This means that the ‘Nugget’ will not gain automatic entry back onto the Main Tour for next season and is confined to life as an amateur for at least the foreseeable future.
Davis’ final foe as a professional was against fellow Englishman Craig Steadman at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield.
The Londoner was unable to muster up one final challenge to remain in with a shout of remaining on the circuit as he went down 10-8 to Steadman.
The defeat brings a somewhat unexpected and abrupt end to what has been a glittering career.
Davis dominated the sport in the 1980s in an era that saw snooker’s popularity rise dramatically amid the new age of colour television.
The Romford potter captured six world titles in that decade, as well as adding 22 further ranking events and an incredible 53 invitation tournaments.
Even until very recently, Davis has been producing momentous performances that defied his status as the elder statesman on the tour.
When his slide down the rankings began, Davis produced a stunning comeback in the final of the 1997 Masters at the Wembley Conference Centre against a formidable and young Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Eight years later, he produced a sterling run to the final of the UK Championship, only to come up just short against a teenage Ding Junhui, while as recently as 2010 Davis featured in the quarter-finals at the Crucible.
However, he has failed to get the solid results as frequently in recent seasons and this has led to his steady plummet down the standings.
Arguably the defining moment of this season, though, was the BBC pundit’s decision to not enter the UK Championship in York, instead swapping his cue for the jungle and reality TV show “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!”
Davis fared quite well on the series but the choice ensured that he lost the opportunity to gain valuable prize money at one of the campaign’s most lucrative events.
It would be interesting to know the real feelings from the man known as ‘Interesting’ on whether he stands by his decision or not.
At any rate, this may not exactly be the end of the road for Davis.
He has always made it clear that he has no intentions of giving up the game and that his ambition is to be on the Main Tour at the age of 60.
There are several avenues available for Davis to make his way back to professional status – the earliest available opportunity in May’s Q-School.
Following that, Davis has already hinted that he is prepared to enter all the European Tour tournaments next season.
The top 8 players on the Order of Merit at the conclusion of the series who are not already qualified for the Main Tour will gain an invitation onto the circuit.
So, we certainly haven’t seen the last of Steve Davis.
But, for now at least, his days as a professional have come to an end.