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.
Love him or loathe him, Peter Ebdon deserves to be remembered as a great Crucible competitor and, of course, a worthy champion after one of the most dramatic finals in the tournament’s history.
In fact, the 2002 showdown probably doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves despite it being one of only three finals in the Crucible era that went the distance.
Before that year, Ebdon had already shown plenty of pedigree – and emotion – in the sport’s blue riband event, particularly in 1996 when he reached the final only to be defeated by the then unstoppable force that was Stephen Hendry.
Fast forward six years and it was the Scot who was standing in Ebdon’s way again but this time they met on a more even platform and the outcome of the tie was by no means certain before the outset of the eagerly awaited fixture.
Ebdon, who had manoeuvred his way through the opening rounds with considerable ease, required all his battling qualities in the last four when he won the last three frames, which included an incredible pink in the third last frame, to pip perennial bridesmaid Matthew Stevens 17-16.
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The final was just as thrilling as, after establishing a four-frame cushion against Hendry, Ebdon was pegged back to 12-12 at the end of the third session on May 6th.
There was never more than a frame in it when play resumed that evening with the pendulum swinging one way and then the other in a topsy-turvy affair that had everyone on the edge of their seats, unsure of the outcome.
Ebdon appeared set to close it out in the penultimate frame only to miss a straight black off the spot and, indeed, the pair represented a barrel of nerves going into the decider as they missed one easy shot after another.
But the Englishman eventually held himself together to seal the gripping victory and consign Hendry to a defeat in what would transpire to be his last appearance in a World Championship final.
This article has been updated and was originally published on May 6th, 2018.