During this year’s World Snooker Championship, we’ll be remembering some of the most memorable moments that took place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Today marks the first day of the 2019 World Snooker Championship but it also has a significant place in the sport’s history books.
On this date all the way back in 1981, a certain Steve Davis emerged as a world champion for the first time in his career.
The World Championship was only in its fifth year at the Crucible Theatre and snooker was just establishing itself as a mainstream sport on television.
Davis, at just 23, was at the forefront of a pack of young players who were beginning to make a breakthrough in the game.
The “Nugget”, who was seeded number 13 for the 1981 tournament, overcame debutant Jimmy White in the first round – a player, like many, who he would inflict multiple pain on throughout the decade in Sheffield.
Victories over Alex Higgins, Terry Griffiths, and reigning champion Cliff Thorburn followed before the Londoner got the better of Doug Mountjoy in the final with an 18-12 triumph.
It sparked a wave of dominance in the 1980s and Davis would only fail to reach the final once more in the decade, when he sensationally succumbed to the “Curse of the Crucible” twelve months later at the hands of Tony Knowles.
Davis, of course, landed the World Championship title on six occasions and is widely considered to be one of the greatest snooker players of all time.
One memorable snippet from his crowning moment in 1981 is a young Barry Hearn, now the World Snooker chairman, sprinting onto the stage and nearly bundling over his friend and client in celebration.