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.
May 4th of 1987 was the day that the “Curse of the Crucible” was almost lifted from the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
Who knows, if Joe Johnson had gone a step further and secured what really would have been an unbelievable double at the expense of Steve Davis, there probably would have been more first-time Crucible champions who could have returned the following year for a repeat success.
Maybe Steve James wouldn’t have gotten near to Stephen Hendry in the 1991 quarter-finals or perhaps Ken Doherty, as the defending champion, would have denied John Higgins a maiden world crown in the 1998 final.
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But Johnson, who stunned the field as a 150/1 outsider to capture the 1986 championship, fell short by four frames to grant Davis the moment to finally engrave his name on the trophy again.
The “Nugget” had recently suffered two painful defeats in finals, in 1986 to Johnson and obviously the 1985 showdown as well against Dennis Taylor.
Already a three-time champion, there wasn’t really any doubting his credentials to add more world titles to his collection because, those couple of defeats aside, Davis was still the man of the decade.
Johnson ran him closely again in 1987 but that day wasn’t going to represent more disappointment for Davis and it helped kick start his most sustained period of dominance in the sport’s blue riband event by becoming the first man to win three on the bounce from 1987 to 1989.
Another point of interest from the final that year was that it has, somewhat remarkably, been the only time that the top two seeds have advanced all the way through the rounds to face off against each other in the final.
This article has been updated and was originally published on May 4th, 2018.