UK Championship (snooker)

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"UK Championship" redirects here. For topics with similar titles, see UK Championships.
UK Championship
Williamhillcom UK Championship logo.jpg
Tournament information
Venue Barbican Centre
Location York
Country England
Established 1977
Organisation(s) World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association
Format Ranking event
Total prize fund £755,000[1][2]
Current champion(s) Australia Neil Robertson

The UK Championship is a professional ranking snooker tournament. It is the second biggest ranking tournament after the World Championship and is one of the Triple Crown events. Neil Robertson is the reigning champion.

History[edit]

The UK Championship was first held in 1977 in Tower Circus, Blackpool as the United Kingdom Professional Snooker Championship, an event open only to British residents and passport holders. Patsy Fagan won the inaugural tournament by defeating Doug Mountjoy by 12 frames to 9 in the final and won the first prize of £2000. The following year the event moved to the Guild Hall, Preston, where it remained until 1998.[3]

The rules were changed in 1984 when the tournament was granted ranking status and all professionals were allowed to enter. Since then, it has carried more ranking points than any tournament other than the World Championship.[3]

The tournament has seen many memorable finals. In 1977 and 1979, it provided Patsy Fagan and John Virgo with their first and only major tournament wins respectively. In 1980, it was Steve Davis's first of his 73 professional tournament wins. In 1981, the final between Davis and Terry Griffiths set the stage for four more final battles between Davis and Griffiths that were to dominate the rest of the season before their unexpected losses in the first round of the 1982 World Championship.

In 1983, Alex Higgins beat Davis 16–15 after having trailed 7–0 at the end of the first session. In 1985, Willie Thorne, then on the brink of emerging as a major force to be reckoned with in the game, led Davis 13–10 at the start of the evening session, only to miss a simple blue off its spot and lose 16–14. The victory regenerated Davis's confidence after his devastating World Championship loss; Thorne, on the other hand, never won another ranking title.

In 1988, Doug Mountjoy, widely viewed as just making up the numbers against the rising Stephen Hendry, produced a stunning display of character and ability to win 16–12 and become the second-oldest ever winner of a ranking event; even more astonishingly, he was to win the Mercantile Credit Classic the following month, which at the time made Mountjoy only the fourth player to win two ranking tournaments in a row.

Stephen Hendry's 1989 win prefigured his decade of dominance similar to the one prefigured by Davis's win in 1980; its significance was emphasised by the fact that the losing finalist was Davis himself. Hendry's 16–15 win the following year, over Davis again, spoke to his unique qualities of nerve. The Hendry/Ken Doherty final of 1994 is considered by many players as one of Hendry's best performance, as he won 10–5 making 7 century breaks along the way, six of which were in the span of eight frames played. Doherty has appeared in two more memorable finals.

In 1993, Ronnie O'Sullivan became the youngest-ever winner of the tournament (and any ranking tournament) aged just 17. Eight years later, in 2001, he delivered the final's best winning margin since it had become the best of 19 frames in the 1993 tournament, beating Ken Doherty 10–1. Three years later, in 2004, Stephen Maguire repeated the feat against David Gray. Doherty almost won the tournament in the 2002 final against Mark Williams, but lost 9–10 in a dramatic deciding frame.

The UK Championship trophy on display at the Alexandra Palace during the 2014 Masters

The 2005 tournament saw Davis, aged 48, reached his first ranking tournament final for almost two years and make his highest break in tournament play for 23 years. In a match that featured the widest age gap between finalists in professional tournament history, he lost 6–10 to the 18 year-old Ding Junhui. The following year, Peter Ebdon won the title and, in doing so, became the first and only man to have both won and lost a World and a UK Championship final to Stephen Hendry. The event offered £500,000 prize money, with the winner receiving £70,000.

In 2007, the tournament was won by Ronnie O'Sullivan for the fourth time, again with some ease, as he beat Stephen Maguire 10–2 in the final. The tournament was also notable for the longest televised frame (77 minutes) between Marco Fu and Mark Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan's maximum 147 break in the deciding frame of the semi-final. The 2009 final saw the reigning world champion John Higgins lose to Ding Junhui, after he missed the brown and the chance to go 8–6 in front.

The 2010 final turned out to be another dramatic match, instantly described by many commentators as an all-time classic. At one point, John Higgins, playing in his first major tournament after the end of a six-month ban for his involvement in match-fixing discussions, was 5–9 down to Mark Williams. However, he managed to win the next two frames. At 7–9, Williams led by 29 points with only 27 on the table, leaving Higgins requiring a snooker to remain in the tournament. Higgins got the snooker and cleared the colours. Another frame won by Higgins took the match to the decider. Finally, with only brown, blue, pink and black left at the table, Higgins potted the brown into a top pocket by playing cross-double across the long axis of the table and then added a difficult long blue and equally difficult pink, thereby winning the frame and thus the tournament by 10–9. In the emotional post-match interview, he described his win as his finest hour and dedicated it to his terminally ill father.[4]

In 2011 the event returned to the Barbican Centre in York,[5] and the matches until the quarter-finals were reduced to best of 11 frames.[6] The tournament stayed at the Barbican Centre until 2013.[7]

The tournament has had many different sponsors over the years, including Super Crystalate, Coral, Tennents, StormSeal, Royal Liver Assurance, Liverpool Victoria, PowerHouse, Travis Perkins, Maplin Electronics, Pukka Pies, 12BET.com,[3] and is currently sponsored by williamhill.com.[8] It is one of the tournaments televised by the BBC and it is held towards the end of each calendar year.

Winners[edit]

[3][9][10][11]

Year Winner Runner-up Final score Venue Season
Non-ranking
1977 Republic of Ireland Patsy Fagan Wales Doug Mountjoy 12–9 Blackpool 1977/78
1978 Wales Doug Mountjoy England David Taylor 15–9 Preston 1978/79
1979 England John Virgo Wales Terry Griffiths 14–13 Preston 1979/80
1980 England Steve Davis Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 16–6 Preston 1980/81
1981 England Steve Davis Wales Terry Griffiths 16–3 Preston 1981/82
1982 Wales Terry Griffiths Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 16–15 Preston 1982/83
1983 Northern Ireland Alex Higgins England Steve Davis 16–15 Preston 1983/84
Ranking
1984 England Steve Davis Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 16–8 Preston 1984/85
1985 England Steve Davis England Willie Thorne 16–14 Preston 1985/86
1986 England Steve Davis England Neal Foulds 16–7 Preston 1986/87
1987 England Steve Davis England Jimmy White 16–14 Preston 1987/88
1988 Wales Doug Mountjoy Scotland Stephen Hendry 16–12 Preston 1988/89
1989 Scotland Stephen Hendry England Steve Davis 16–12 Preston 1989/90
1990 Scotland Stephen Hendry England Steve Davis 16–15 Preston 1990/91
1991 England John Parrott England Jimmy White 16–13 Preston 1991/92
1992 England Jimmy White England John Parrott 16–9 Preston 1992/93
1993 England Ronnie O'Sullivan Scotland Stephen Hendry 10–6 Preston 1993/94
1994 Scotland Stephen Hendry Republic of Ireland Ken Doherty 10–5 Preston 1994/95
1995 Scotland Stephen Hendry England Peter Ebdon 10–3 Preston 1995/96
1996 Scotland Stephen Hendry Scotland John Higgins 10–9 Preston 1996/97
1997 England Ronnie O'Sullivan Scotland Stephen Hendry 10–6 Preston 1997/98
1998 Scotland John Higgins Wales Matthew Stevens 10–6 Bournemouth 1998/99
1999 Wales Mark Williams Wales Matthew Stevens 10–8 Bournemouth 1999/00
2000 Scotland John Higgins Wales Mark Williams 10–4 Bournemouth 2000/01
2001 England Ronnie O'Sullivan Republic of Ireland Ken Doherty 10–1 York 2001/02
2002 Wales Mark Williams Republic of Ireland Ken Doherty 10–9 York 2002/03
2003 Wales Matthew Stevens Scotland Stephen Hendry 10–8 York 2003/04
2004 Scotland Stephen Maguire England David Gray 10–1 York 2004/05
2005 China Ding Junhui England Steve Davis 10–6 York 2005/06
2006 England Peter Ebdon Scotland Stephen Hendry 10–6 York 2006/07
2007 England Ronnie O'Sullivan Scotland Stephen Maguire 10–2 Telford 2007/08
2008 England Shaun Murphy Hong Kong Marco Fu 10–9 Telford 2008/09
2009 China Ding Junhui Scotland John Higgins 10–8 Telford 2009/10
2010 Scotland John Higgins Wales Mark Williams 10–9 Telford 2010/11
2011[6] England Judd Trump Northern Ireland Mark Allen 10–8 York 2011/12
2012[12] England Mark Selby England Shaun Murphy 10–6 York 2012/13
2013[13] Australia Neil Robertson England Mark Selby 10–7 York 2013/14
2014[14] York 2014/15

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prize Money Breakdowns 2013/14". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 1 May 2013. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Selby Makes Historic 147". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Turner, Chris. "UK Championship". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Higgins – My Finest Hour". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "UK Championship to return to York Barbican". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "UK Championship (2011)". Snooker.org. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "York Return for UK Championship". World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "williamhill.com To Sponsor UK". World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "UK Championship Event History". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "UK Championship". Snooker Scene. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Hall of Fame". Snooker.org. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "williamhill.com UK Championship (2012)". Snooker.org. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "williamhill.com UK Championship (2013)". Snooker.org. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "UK Championship (2014)". Snooker.org. Retrieved 16 May 2014.