During this year’s World Snooker Championship, we’ll be recalling some of the most memorable moments that took place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
In two out of the first three years of the World Championship at the Crucible, the trophy was raised aloft by players hailing from Wales.
Ray Reardon captured his sixth and final world crown in 1978 and the following year Terry Griffiths famously emerged as a qualifier to claim the prestigious title.
It took until the first final of the new millennium for another Welsh competitor to etch his name on the silverware.
There wasn’t going to be any doubt about it either as Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens surged through the rounds to set up the first showdown for glory between two players from the same country, not including England.
Williams had lost the title decider twelve months earlier when Stephen Hendry rewrote the history books with his record seventh Crucible crown – more on that soon – but returned in 2000 as one of the favourites again having already won that season’s UK Championship.
The then 25 year-old had mounted an impressive comeback against John Higgins in the last four when he overturned a 15-11 deficit by taking the last six frames for a 17-15 triumph.
However, Williams looked to be heading for heartache for a second successive year when he fell 13-7 down to his compatriot in the afternoon session on the final day on May 1st.
Williams dug deep and began to take advantage of the mistakes that were creeping into his opponent’s game, winning four on the bounce to be behind by only two frames going into the last session.
There was soon parity in the scores when Williams won three out of the first four frames to level at 14-14 and, even though Stevens responded with a terrific 120, the elder Welshman had by now gained the upper hand.
Williams crucially won the 31st frame on the black to move in front for the first time in the match and duly wrapped up an 18-16 triumph to become the first left-hander to win a World Championship.
This article has been updated and was originally published on May 1st, 2018.