World Snooker Championship by numbers

The finest “cuemasters’” in snooker will gather in Sheffield on April 20th for the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre. We look at the World  Championship by numbers to give you an insight before the action begins.

1 – Rookies have struggled in the past


Only Welshman Terry Griffiths has won the Crucible in his debut year – back at the old-style venue. After qualifying for the World Championships in 1979 he beat Dennis  Taylor 24-16 to become the first world champion to win at his first attempt.


1 (again) – Whitewashes are rare


It’s almost unbelievable, but there has been only one whitewash in the tournament’s illustrious history (excluding qualifiers). That came in 1992 when John Parrott  beat Eddie Charlton 10-0 in the first round.


2 – 147s rarely strike twice


147s at the World Championships are moments to savour, however we had to wait until the 2008 tournament to witness the first ranking competition to produce two 147  breaks in the latter stages.


First Ronnie O’Sullivan scored a maximum against Mark Williams in the second round and then Ali Carter matched his achievement in the quarter-finals against Peter  Ebdon. This is strange given the long format, but it could reflect the pressure in the competition.


2 (again) – Defending the title is tough going


Two days before the deadline for entry to this year’s World Championship, Ronnie O’Sullivan confirmed that he would defend his title, despite having played only one  competitive match in the past 12 months. But defending the crown has proved difficult in the past.


Since 1977 only two players have successfully defended the world title: Steve Davis (1988 to 1989), and Stephen Hendry (from 1992 to 1996). Many commentators argue  that snooker is now more competitive, making defending even less likely.


3 – Nail-biting action


In the previous 36 World Championships, three finals have gone down to the wire with the trophy being decided in the final frame.


Most famously in 1985 when ‘Golden Nugget’ Steve Davis lost out to Dennis Taylor on the final black (and in doing so, failed to defend his title). Nine years later in  1994, Stephen Hendry beat Jimmy White 18-17, and then finally in 2002 it was Hendry who was on the losing end as Peter Ebdon claimed his only title.


3 (another one) – UK players have dominated


Remarkably, there have only ever been three champions outside the UK since the tournament has been hosted at the Crucible. Canadian Cliff Thorburn became the first in  1980 when he beat Alex Higgins 18-16, 17 years later in 1997 Ken Doherty of Ireland beat Stephen Hendry 18-12, while Australian Neil Robertson became champion in 2010  after defeating Graeme Dott 18-13.


4 – Magic O’Sullivan


Ronnie O’Sullivan is the only multiple finalist in the modern era to have never lost in a final. The ‘Rocket’ has won all four finals – 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2012.


6 – Not so magic White


In comparison to O’Sullivan, Jimmy White has reached six finals – 1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 – but has never won. The closest he came was 17–18 in 1994  against Stephen Hendry, on his 32nd birthday. He is now 50 and a rank outsider to complete his career dream.


7 – Seventh heaven for Hendry


Scotsman Stephen Hendry retired last year as the most successful player in Crucible history with seven World Championship titles – 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996  and 1999. Both O’Sullivan and John Higgins are in pursuit of his record with four apiece, but still have a long way to go before they can overtake the ‘greatest  crucible player’ of all time – especially in the increasingly competitive modern game.


10 – Maximum performance


Since Cliff Thorburn achieved the tournaments first 147 in 1983, there have been nine other maximums recorded at the World Championships (excluding qualifiers). This  is not a bad ratio when you consider this means a maximum has been recorded every 2.2 years since the first in 1983.


However, with the standard of play dramatically improving since the Millennium, six maximums have been scored in 10 years – an average of one every 1.6 years.


21 – Youngest winner


Stephen Hendry remains the youngest ever World Champion at 21-years and 106 days. Hendry beat Jimmy White 18-12 in the 1990 final.


45 – Golden Oldie


Last year at 36-years-old Ronnie O’Sullivan became the oldest player to win the world title since his former mentor Ray Reardon in 1978, aged 45. Despite trailing 7-2,  Reardon regained the title in 1978 by beating Doug Mountjoy 13-9.


83 – Century breakers


There have been 1358 century breaks at the Crucible, with an average of 37.72 per tournament. However, with the standard of play improving, the average has risen to 70  per year for the last five years.


The 2009 World Snooker Championships holds the record for the highest number of century breaks at the Crucible. John Higgins, Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby  contributed and impressive 41 century breaks of the 83 in total.


150-1 – Surprise winners


Surprise winners emerge in all sports and snooker is no different. Apart from Terry Griffiths’ win in 1979, which we have already mentioned, there has been two other  shock World Champions. Both Joe Johnson and Shaun Murphy, who won in 1986 and 2005 respectively, were priced at 150-1 before the tournament began.


320 – Seconds (Fastest 147)


320 seconds is all it took Ronnie O’Sullivan to produce a breathtaking maximum in 1997 against Mick Price to record the fastest ever recorded in the professional game.


Click here to read the basics on snooker betting.


(Source: Pinnacle)




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