John Parrott in October 2008
11 May 1964 |
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
|Highest ranking||2 (3 years)|
|Highest break||147 – Matchroom League 1992|
Parrott won the World Snooker Championship in 1991, defeating Jimmy White in the final. Two years earlier he had lost 3–18 to Steve Davis, the heaviest final defeat in modern times. He repeated his win over White to add the UK Championship title later that year, and is one of only five players to win both championships in the same calendar year. He spent three successive seasons at number 2 in the world rankings, and having compiled 221 centuries is one of several players to have compiled more than 200 competitive centuries during his career.
Until the age of 12 Parrott was a keen bowls player but then discovered snooker and has been a keen player ever since. At the age of 15 his talent was spotted by Phil Miller who would become his long-term manager in 1980. Parrott was successful at an early age. He lost in the final of the English Under-16s Championship in 1980 and won the Pontins Junior Championship in 1981. He was Pontins Open Champion in 1982, Junior Pot Black champion in 1982 and 1983, and turned professional the following year after winning a record 14 tournaments in his last year as an amateur player.
Parrott turned professional in 1983 and he made his televised debut as a professional during the 1984 Classic in which he played Alex Higgins in the last 16 of the competition in front of a packed house at Warrington near his home town of Liverpool. He then caused a stir when he won the match 5–2. He then beat Tony Knowles in the next round before losing to Steve Davis in the semi-finals. By then, bookmakers had him tipped to be the World Snooker Champion within five years (it took him seven years). He took his first ranking title in the 1989 European Open, and defended his title in 1990.
Parrott also boasts 14 consecutive seasons in the top 16 of the snooker world rankings, eleven of them in the top 6.
From 1984–2004 Parrott was ever-present at the World Championship, reaching at least the last 16 every year from 1984–1995, but he failed to qualify in 2005. Since his 1991 victory he has never again reached the semi-finals, but lost in the quarter-finals seven times between 1992 and 1999.
Overall, Parrott has won a total of nine world ranking events, which is seventh on the all-time list behind Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Jimmy White. Also, his 1991 triumphs in the World Championship and UK Championship make him one of only five players to win both of snooker's two most prominent ranking titles in the same year.
Parrott has come through the qualifying event for the World Championship a record 10 times. In 2007 he reached the last 16 of the World Championship for the first time in seven years, after victories over James Leadbetter, David Gray and Steve Davis (10–9, having led 6–1 and 9–6).
A record ten of Parrott's World Championship matches have gone to a final-frame decider – he has won 7 of these. Also, John Parrott is the only player to have recorded a "whitewash" in the World Championship final stages – he beat Eddie Charlton 10–0 in the first round in 1992.
Because of Hendry's dominance, Parrott was the runner-up at the Masters on three occasions within a four-year span, and never won the title.
Following his 6–10 defeat to young Chinese Zhang Anda in the 2010 World Championship Qualifiers, Parrott finished outside the top 64 in the end of season rankings and was not assured a place on the main tour for the 2010/2011 season. Later Parrott announced he was to retire from the professional game. He told the Daily Mail:
If I'm off the tour, it’s fairly certain that I'll retire. I certainly won't be playing any lower down. [...] If I lose my card, that's me gone. I still have the utmost respect for the game. I've just lost in the World Championship and I'm not going to spit the dummy out. But I don't enjoy the hours of practice any more.
Parrott is a studio expert on snooker for BBC Sport, often partnered with Steve Davis, and also does much of their tutorial and playing guidance. He was one of the team captains on A Question of Sport, alongside footballer and pundit Ally McCoist from 1996 to 2002.
In 1996 Parrott was honoured with an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
In 2008 Parrott launched John Parrott Cue Sports, an online retailer selling snooker and pool cues and some snooker collectibles.
In 2011 it was announced that Parrott was to be the Honorary Patron of the British Crown Green Bowling Association (BCGBA).
Ranking event finals: 18 (9 titles, 9 runner-ups)