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Top 10: players who have never won a World Snooker Championship

It has become a tradition around this time of the year on to publish a top ten list of players who have never won a World Snooker Championship.

There have been a few changes to the order since the original list was first penned back in 2014.

But many of the same players remained having failed to etch their names onto the silverware over the course of the last decade.

While I always tried to devise the list in a fair way – weighing up not only players’ talent but also pedigree within the game, the respective era, and most importantly the overall record at World Championships – there was always an element of subjectivity to it.

This year, then, we’re going to make a little tweak by ordering the top ten in a more statistical approach.

A new points system will determine which ten players should be recognised as the best to have never won the World Snooker Championship.

The points system takes into account three important factors – prior performances at the World Championship in the modern era (1969-present), number of titles won, and highest career ranking positions.

Points System

World Championship Record
Final appearances: 3 points for each
Semi-final appearances: 2 points for each
Quarter-final appearances: 1 point for each

Ranking titles: 1 point for each
Masters titles: 2 points for each
Other WPBSA/WST titles (10+): 3 points
Other WPBSA/WST titles (5+): 2 points
Other WPBSA/WST titles (1+): 1 point

Highest Ranking
World number 1: 3 points
World number 2: 2 points
World number 3: 1 point

*A player’s overall WSC record will be the determining factor if players finish with the same points.*

One immediately obvious omission is Paul Hunter (12 points), who deserves a special honourable mention as someone who did rank consistently highly on the list in previous years.

The Leeds potter’s devastating death from illness just a few days short of his 28th birthday in 2006 brought a premature end to what had been a promising career on the baize.

Had Hunter been given more time, he likely wouldn’t have even featured here anyway, as the three-time Masters winner was widely tipped as a future world champion in the making.

The likes of Tony Knowles (13), Doug Mountjoy (12), Stephen Lee (11), and James Wattana (11) were other notable names to narrowly miss out.

Let’s, then, take a look at the top ten players who have never won a World Snooker Championship.

10. Alan McManus – 13 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 0 = 0Ranking x 2 = 2WN6 = 0
SF x 3 = 6Masters x 1 = 2
QF x 2 = 2Other: 1+ = 1TOTAL: 13

Using the new system, Alan McManus tallies the same number of points as Tony Knowles but pips the Englishman as a result of a slightly superior World Championship record (more second round appearances).

McManus never featured on the original top ten list so immediately represents an interesting inclusion using the revised format.

The Scot’s best years were undoubtedly during the 1990s, which he spent ranked mostly inside the world’s top eight.

Two semi-final appearances at the World Championship came early on in his career in 1992 and 1993, before he stunned Stephen Hendry to win the Masters in 1994.

A two-time ranking event winner, McManus had a reputation as being among the best of the rest during that era – frequently losing in the semi-finals of tournaments and unable to get his hands on much silverware.

While his form declined in the mid-2000s, the Glaswegian did enjoy a Crucible renaissance in 2016 when he reached the semi-finals as a qualifier.

Now retired, McManus has turned his attention to punditry and commentary duties.

9. Kyren Wilson – 16 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 1 = 3Ranking x 5 = 5WN4 = 0
SF x 2 = 4Masters x 0 = 0
QF x 3 = 3Other: 1+ = 1TOTAL: 16

Kyren Wilson is another name who didn’t previously feature on this annual top ten list of players to never win a World Snooker Championship.

Still only 32, the Kettering cueist likely has many more years left to etch his name onto the famous piece of silverware.

While he has been unable to go the distance in Sheffield so far, Wilson does boast a stellar Crucible record.

He reached the quarter-finals or better in six successive seasons between 2016 and 2021, missing out on glory to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the 2020 final.

A five-time ranking event winner, Wilson encounters Dominic Dale in the first round in 2024 as he hopes to mount another challenge for world glory.

8. Barry Hawkins – 18 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 1 = 3Ranking x 4 = 4WN4 = 0
SF x 4 = 8Masters x 0 = 0
QF x 1 = 1Other: 5+ = 2TOTAL: 18

In many respects, the career of Barry Hawkins has been a tale of two halves.

The Hawk always had the talent, but he rarely replicated that on the main stage until into the second part of his career.

Indeed, the Englishman lost in the first round at the Crucible in his first five attempts between 2006 and 2010.

However, in 2012 Hawkins took advantage of a weakened field to capture his maiden ranking event title at the Australian Open, thus setting into motion a remarkable transformation in fortune for the now 44 year-old.

In that season’s World Championship, Hawkins produced the snooker of his career to reach the final, where he put up a commendable challenge in defeat to an unstoppable Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Hawkins subsequently reached the semi-finals another four times in five years, proving that his 2013 run was no fluke.

Although he has never lifted any of the triple crown trophies, Hawkins became a regular fixture among the higher echelons of the rankings and will play Ryan Day in round one this year.

7. Stephen Maguire – 19 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 0 = 0Ranking x 6 = 6WN2 = 2
SF x 2 = 4Masters x 0 = 0
QF x 5 = 5Other: 5+ = 2TOTAL: 19

Stephen Maguire burst onto the scene in 2004 by winning the European Open before completely dismantling the UK Championship field to collect his one and only Triple Crown title.

These performances led Ronnie O’Sullivan to suggest at the time that Maguire could dominate the sport for the next decade.

Ironically, though, a series of high-profile defeats against the Rocket would set Maguire back and his potential has arguably been unfulfilled.

Maguire once claimed that he wanted to win in Sheffield before his 30th birthday. Now aged 43, that date has long since passed for the gritty Glaswegian.

The six-time ranking event winner has just two semi-final appearances at the Crucible to his name, a disappointing return considering the pedigree he once boasted.

After failing to qualify in 2023, Maguire successfully emerged from the qualifiers this year and will make his 20th World Championship appearance against the next name on this list.

6. Ali Carter – 19 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 2 = 6Ranking x 5 = 5WN2 = 2
SF x 1 = 2Masters x 0 = 0
QF x 3 = 3Other: 1+ = 1TOTAL: 19

Ali Carter’s career has been one of highs and lows, both on the baize and away from it.

The 44 year-old has been ranked as high as number two in the world, but he probably hasn’t garnered enough silverware to be considered alongside the greats or even nearly-greats.

Nonetheless, if it wasn’t for Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2008 and 2012, Carter could be a one or even two-time champion of the world.

The Captain, a five-time ranking event winner, is rarely shy of voicing his opinions and that kind of dogged mentality has served him well in the past.

Many would have felt as though his best years were behind him, but he has been a consistent force again over the last couple of seasons.

This year’s Masters runner-up has been one of the form players in the top half of the draw during the 2023/24 campaign and is being considered as a potential dark horse at the Crucible again.

5. Matthew Stevens – 22 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 2 = 6Ranking x 1 = 1WN4 = 0
SF x 4 = 8Masters x 1 = 2
QF x 3 = 3Other: 5+ = 2TOTAL: 22

Some people may forget just how good Matthew Stevens was around the turn of the millennium – in all the majors but particularly at the World Championship.

The Welshman exuded a swagger that showcased a wealth of talent at his disposal, but for whatever reason he could not translate this into sustained success.

Now 46, Stevens’ best years are probably behind him, but providing some consolation is the fact that two of his biggest victories came in the majors – the 2000 Masters and 2003 UK Championship.

That he couldn’t add a World Championship was down to a combination of unusually inspired play from his opponents and his own inability to get the job done.

He came closest in 2000 and 2005 when he held large leads over countryman Mark Williams and qualifier Shaun Murphy respectively, only to surrender in both finals 18-16.

Stevens lost to Jack Lisowski on Judgement Day in 2024, and it seems highly unlikely at this stage that he’s ever going to escape from this group of bridesmaids.

4. Mark Allen – 23 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 0 = 0Ranking x 11 = 11WN3 = 1
SF x 2 = 4Masters x 1 = 2
QF x 3 = 3Other: 5+ = 2TOTAL: 23

There is no escaping the fact that Mark Allen’s World Championship record is disappointing.

It’s his overall stature within the game and his achievements elsewhere that guarantee his high ranking on this list.

After making a semi-final appearance at the Crucible in 2009, it took Allen another 14 years until he returned to the single table setup.

Only five quarter-final runs in total is a poor return for a player of his calibre, someone who has accumulated 11 ranking titles over the course of his career.

A former Masters and UK Championship winner, the Pistol could even finish the 2023/24 season as the world number one depending on how the results go.

Allen would love to kill two birds with one stone and move to the top spot in style by claiming a maiden world crown.

The Northern Irishman, this season’s Champion of Champions, plays Robbie Williams in round one in 2024.

3. Eddie Charlton – 25 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 2 = 6Ranking x 0 = 0WN3 = 1
SF x 6 = 12Masters x 0 = 0
QF x 3 = 3Other: 10+ = 3TOTAL: 25

‘Steady Eddie’ is third in this list of players who never won a World Snooker Championship.

Eddie Charlton thrived in an era when snooker was just beginning its rise in the mainstream media.

The game was not open to as many players at that time, and it is questionable how well somebody of Charlton’s ability could have fared with today’s generation.

Yet, one can only play who is put in front of them, and Charlton’s consistency in the game at that time, and especially at the World Championship, speaks for itself.

In 1968, Charlton lost to John Pulman in a World Championship challenge match that won’t be counted here as it was before the modern era when knockout formats were adopted.

From 1969, he reached the semi-finals or better on eight occasions, contesting the final in 1973 and 1975.

While it took 61 frames to decide the latter, when he narrowly lost to Ray Reardon 31-30, the Australian’s greatest success in snooker actually came in the single-frame Pot Black tournament, which he prevailed in three times.

Charlton also has the unique recognition of moving up in the official world rankings list even after he had died, which, you know, is a pretty impressive achievement by itself.

2. Ding Junhui – 32 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 1 = 3Ranking x 14 = 14WN1 = 3
SF x 2 = 4Masters x 1 = 2
QF x 3 = 3Other: 10+ = 3TOTAL: 32

For many, Ding Junhui ranks at the very top of the list when it comes to players who have never won the World Snooker Championship.

With 14 ranking event titles in total as well as a victory in the 2011 Masters, Ding is quite obviously the real deal, and it’s quite amazing that his enormous potential remains unfulfilled.

With the weight of expectation from tens of millions of Chinese fans on his shoulders, Ding’s frequent struggles with pressure have been understandable.

But by capturing three trophies in his homeland during the 2013/14 campaign, he seemed to have released an aura of invincibility.

A nightmare couple of seasons after that brought reality back into the equation, not least when he was forced to attend Ponds Forge to qualify for the World Championship in 2016 after dropping out of the top 16 in the world rankings.

But qualify with ease he did, duly embarking on his best ever run at the Crucible by reaching the final before being narrowly defeated 18-14 in a wonderful showdown with Mark Selby.

In recent years, the Chinese number one’s main problem has continued to be with consistency, although some strong performances at the UK Championship in particular have helped him to regain his spot among the world’s top eight.

At 37, Ding still has some time on his side and he’ll face Jack Lisowski in a barnstorming first-round fixture in 2024.

However, the player at number one on this list will testify that time doesn’t always yield the predicted accolades.

1. Jimmy White – 48 points

World ChampionshipTitlesHighest Ranking
F x 6 = 18Ranking x 10 = 10WN2 = 2
SF x 4 = 8Masters x 1 = 2
QF x 5 = 5Other: 10+ = 3TOTAL: 48

Burdened with being attributed the best player who never won the World Championship is of course Jimmy White, the People’s Champion.

Not many are unaware of the story of the Whirlwind, one of the most popular British sportsmen of all time. White’s career has been a glorious one.

He was the world amateur champion in 1980 before proceeding to collect ten ranking event titles and countless invitationals, including the Masters on home turf in London.

However, his legacy will forever be tainted by his unfortunate record at the Crucible. Six finals, six defeats.

That he put himself into position to contest this many – five in a row between 1990 and 1994 – is testament to how good a player he was.

Yet a mixture of bad fortune and poor preparation led to him never adding the holy grail to his glittering collection of accolades.

Some hurt more than others. He was the favourite to beat John Parrott in 1991 but never recovered from losing the opening seven frames, and the following year he was 14-8 up on regular rival Stephen Hendry, only to lose the next ten frames in a row.

Perhaps most agonising was his last notable chance in 1994, when on his birthday he missed a routine black off the spot in the decider at 17-17 to allow Hendry, the bane of his career for a fourth time, in for another crushing defeat.

White, forever gracious, joked in the immediate aftermath that the Scot was “beginning to annoy me.”

Approaching the age of 62 but timelessly adored by his legion of fans, White still believes in his ability.

But he was defeated in the qualifiers again this year and he has failed to make it back to snooker’s mecca in every edition since 2006.

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. Artur Silva

    Suggest you revise the criteria. If Jimmy White is not in the first position and Paul is not even mencioned the criteria are wrong. And there should be two different lists. One for retired or semi-retired professionals and a different one for active players that can gain in the future.

  2. Jay Brannon

    White was number one in his list. The formula does make it difficult for Hunter and players who were in their pomp when less ranking events to play for. I do think, however, the top 10 is pretty sound and interesting to see it done in a different fashion.

    My Top 10:
    1. Jimmy White
    2. Ding Junhui
    3. Matthew Stevens
    4. Mark Allen
    5. Paul Hunter
    6. Eddie Charlton
    7. Ali Carter
    8. Stephen Maguire
    9. Barry Hawkins
    10. Doug Mountjoy


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