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1982 World Snooker Championship

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1982 Embassy World Snooker Championship
Tournament information
Dates30 April – 16 May 1982
VenueCrucible Theatre
FormatRanking event
Total prize fund£110,000
Winner's share£25,000
Highest break Willie Thorne (ENG) (143)
Champion Alex Higgins (NIR)
Runner-up Ray Reardon (WAL)

The 1982 World Snooker Championship (also known as the 1982 Embassy World Snooker Championship for sponsorship purposes) was a professional snooker tournament that took place between 30 April and 16 May 1982 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. It was the 19th event of the 1981–82 snooker season, but the only world ranking event. The tournament was sponsored by cigarette company Embassy and organised by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.

Steve Davis was the defending champion, having won the 1981 final 18-12 over Doug Mountjoy, but lost 1–10 to Tony Knowles in the first round, falling to the Crucible curse as he became the latest champion who was unable to defend his first world title at the venue. Alex Higgins won his second world title, defeating Ray Reardon 18–15 in the final. A total of ten century breaks were made during the tournament, the highest being a 143 compiled by Willie Thorne. The event featured a prize fund of £110,000 with the winner receiving £25,000.


The World Snooker Championship is a professional cue sport event and the official world championship of the game of snooker.[1] Developed in the late 19th century by British Army soldiers stationed in India,[2] snooker was popular in the United Kingdom before being introduced to Europe and the Commonwealth. The sport is now played worldwide, especially in East and Southeast Asian nations such as China, Hong Kong and Thailand.[3]

The 1982 World Championship was promoted by Mike Watterson and governed by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).[4] It featured 32 professional players competing in one-on-one single-elimination matches, played over several frames. The players were selected to take part using a combination of the world snooker rankings and a pre-tournament qualification tournament.[5][6] The defending champion was Steve Davis, who defeated Doug Mountjoy 18–12 in the 1981 championship final.[7] The first World Championship, in 1927, was won by Joe Davis in a final at Camkin's Hall in Birmingham, England.[8][9] Since 1977, the tournament has been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.[10]

There were 67 entrants for the 1982 tournament, a new record total.[11] This was the first world championships to have 32 players in the first round, previously the top eight players received a bye into the second round. Ranking points were only awarded from the last 16 round onwards.[12]

Prize fund[edit]

The breakdown of prize money for this year is shown below:[13] The total of £110,000 was a new record high for the world championship.[11]

  • Winner: £25,000
  • Runner-up: £12,500
  • Semi-final: £7,000
  • Quarter-final: £3,500
  • Last 16: £2,250
  • Last 32: £1,250
  • Highest break: £2,500
  • Maximum break: £10,000
  • Total: £110,000

Tournament summary[edit]

First round[edit]

Defending champion Steve Davis (pictured in 2007) lost in the first round 1-10 to Tony Knowles.

The first round took place between 30 April and 6 May, each match played over two sessions as the best-of-19 frames.[14] Steve Davis was the bookmakers favourite to win the tournament, with odds of 2/5.[15] However, as defending champion, Davis lost 1–10 to Tony Knowles.[16] Knowles won the first frame, followed it with the second after Davis twice missed potting the final black ball, and then won the next two by margins of more than 60 points to lead 4–0 at the mid-session interval. Without making a significant break, Davis won the fifth frame, after which Knowles made the highest break of the session, 67, to win the sixth. Davis' highest break of the first session was only 32 as he finished trailing 1–8.[17] In the first frame of the second session, Davis made a foul shot by accidentally lightly feathered the cue ball while preparing to play a shot, which Knowles went on to win. In the eleventh frame, Knowles took a 53–0 lead before Davis failed to pot the black after the last red, and Knowles won the frame and match. Knowles claimed that he has gone to a nightclub until 2:00am the previous night and had slept for only five hours overnight.[16]

Graham Miles was level at 5–5 with Dave Martin but then won the next five frames to complete a 10–5 victory.[18] Bill Werbeniuk led John Bear 7–2 after their first session. Bear won the next three frames to reduce Werbeniuk's lead to 7–5, but Werbeniuk went on to win 10–7.[18] Cliff Wilson had been taking medication for a viral infection. Suffering from chest pains, he was concerned that he was having a heart attack, but testing showed that he wasn't. He led Eddie Charlton 5–4 but lost the match 5–10.[19][20] Dennis Taylor had lost one of his contact lenses the previous week, and played without vision aids. He trailed Silvino Francisco 2–7 Francsisco but then won five of the next six to reduce the deficit to one frame at 7–8, before Francisco won three successive frames for a 10–7 win.[18]

Eight-times champion Fred Davis, the oldest competitor at the age of 68, lost 7–10 to Dean Reynolds, who at 19 was the youngest participant in the tournament. After losing the first three frames, Davis had led at 6–5.[18][21] John Virgo defeated Mike Hallett 10–4 after leading 7–2,[22] Jim Donnelly was the first Scottish player to play at the Crucible.[23] Ray Reardon built a 6–3 lead over Donnelly, and after Donnelley had won two further frames, Reardon won four in a row to wrap up a 10–5 win.[22]

Terry Griffiths, who had become the bookmakers favourite to win following the elimination of Steve Davis, led 4–2 but finished their first session behind 4–5 to Willie Thorne. Thorne has never won a match in his six previous Crucible appearances,[22] but defeated Griffiths 10–6 and compiled a break of 106, the first century break of the 1982 tournament.[24] John Spencer defeated John Dunning 10–4.[20] Alex Higgins had said he was having "worst season of his professional career" became the bookmakers' favourite to win after both Davis and Griffiths had been both knocked out, and won 10–5 against Jim Meadowcroft.[24] Doug Mountjoy defeated Rex Williams, the reigning world billiards champion, 10–3.[24]

David Taylor led Patsy Fagan 6–3 overnight, then extended this to 7–3, before Fagan levelled at7-7.[25] At 7–8 behind, Fagan was asked by Taylor to play again after making a foul shot in failing to escape from a snooker. He then failed to pot the green ball and hit the cue ball again as it was still moving, disturbing other balls from their position. The referee could have interpreted this as Fagan conceding the frame, but instead replaced the balls. Fagan went on to win the frame.[26] From 9–9, Fagan made the highest break of match, 78, in winning the deciding frame.[25] Kirk Stevens defeated Jack Fitzmaurice 10–4.[27] Perrie Mans recorded a 10–8 win over Tony Meo, his first win at the Crucible since the 1978 semi-final.[27] Jimmy White started his match against Cliff Thorburn with a 102 break in the first frame, and built a 7–2 lead in the first session,[25] going on to win the match 10–4.[27]

The first round saw five of the top eight seeds eliminated: Steve Davis (1), Thorburn (2), Griffiths (3), Dennis Taylor (5), and David Taylor (7).[25] This included the previous three world champions, who were also the top three seeds.[28]

Second round[edit]

The second round took place between 5 and 10 May, each match played over three sessions as the best-of-25 frames.[14] Knowles followed his defeat of Davis with another win, 13–7 against Miles.[20] Charlton led Werbeniuk 6-1 and 11–4,[25][29] and won 13–5.[30] Francisco won the first four frames against Reynolds to lead 4-0 and led at 5–3 and 9–5,[30] before winning 13–8.[31] Reardon was 6–2 and later 10–6 ahead of Virgo,[30] winning 13–8.[31]

After being 5–3 ahead of Spencer after the first session,[30] Thorne made a break of 122 during the second, and went on to win 13–5.[31] Francisco won the first four frames against 4–0 Reynolds, and after leading 5–3 and 9–5,[30] won 13–8.[31] Higgins won the first three frames against Mountjoy, two of them on the last black, after being behind on points in each of them, and finished their first session leading 6–2.[30] Playing attacking snooker, he moved to 9–7 ahead,[31] with Mountjoy then winning three consecutive frames to lead 10–9. Higgins then won the next three consecutively for 12–10. Mountjoy forced a deciding frame by winning the next two, and was nearly 40 points ahead in the decider, but Higgins won the frame to seal a 13–12 victory.[32] Stevens completed a 13–7 win over Fagan,[33] having led 10–6 at the end of their second session.[32] White led Mans 5–3,[31] before winning 13–6.[20]


Jimmy White (pictured in 2016) was the only non-seeded player to reach the semi-finals, defeating Kirk Stevens 13-9

The quarter-finals took place from 9 to 11 May, each match played over three sessions as the best-of-25 frames.[14] White took a 5–3 lead over Stevens in their first session.[33] In the second session, he extended this to 10–6, making a break of 126,[34] and won the match 13–9.[19] Reardon led Francisco 6–2 and 10–6 after their sessions,[14] and won 13–8.[35]

Knowles led Charlton 5–3 after their first session,[32] and 10–6 after the second.[33] He then won the first frame of the third session to lead 11–6. Charlton narrowed the lead to 9–11, and when Knowles missed an easy green, won another frame to close to 10–11. Knowles missed a black from its spot in the 22nd frame, saying that he was distracted by a member of the audience rustling paper, and Charlton made a break of 78 to level the match. Charlton took the following frame as well, then won the match 13–11 with a break of 58, concluding a seven-frame winning streak.[35]

Thorne was 3–5 behind Higgins,[33] and despite breaks of 143 in the 9th frame, and 112 in the 16th frame, still trailed at the end of the second session, 7–9.[34] Higgins won the match 13–10, compiling a 68 break in the last frame.[14]


The semi-finals took place from 12 to 14 May, with both matches played over four sessions as the best-of-31 frames.[14] Higgins won the first frame against White, who by defeating Stevens had become the youngest player ever to reach a world championship semi-final. White made breaks of 60 and 38 in winning the second frame to make it 1–1, before Higgins built a 4–1 lead. With breaks of 63, 69 and 44, White drew level at 4–4 by the end of the first session.[36] White won the first four frames of the second session, compiling a breaks of 69 in the first and 52 in the second. Although he left Higgins with a chance in the second frame, Higgins failed to pot the last red and conceded the frame. After the mid-session interval, Higgins made a break of 61 in winning the 13th frame, and, after White missed an easy black, took the 14th as well. Following another miss by White, this time on a red, Higgins also won the next frame, ending the day one frame behind at 7–8.[37] In the third session, White took three of the first four frames, compiling a break of 89 in the fourth of these, to lead 11–8, Higgins then won the next three to level the match at 11–11 at the end of the session.[14]

White won the first frame of the fourth session, and Higgins fluked a brown in the following frame, going on to win it. The scores were also level at 13–13, with Higgins scoring only nine points across two frames as White moved into a 15–13 lead, two frames ahead with three to play. Higgins narrowed his deficit to one frame with a break of 72[38] In the 32nd frame, White was 59 points ahead when he missed a simple red.[39] Higgins then made a break of 69, featuring excellent potting but poor positional play, described in the book Masters of the Baize (2005) as "arguably the greatest clearance of all time" to take the match to a deciding frame. In the last frame, Higgins made a break of 59 to win the match 16–15.[39][40]

Charlton moved into a 3–0 lead against Reardon,[41] but then lost the next four as Reardon made breaks of 50, 47, 48 and 35 and finished the first session 4–3 ahead.[36] A break of 83 in the first frame of the second session saw Charlton level the match at 4–4, with Reardon then moving a frame ahead again with a break of 98. Charlton moved into a two frame lead at 7–5 by winning three consecutive frames, but lost the 13th frame after snookering himself on the yellow. Reardon then equalised the match at 7–7 with a break of 59 in the last frame of the session.[37]

In the third session, the score went to 8–8 with Reardon then compiling breaks of 94 and 77 to win the next two. Charlton then equalised again with a 54 break in the 17th frame and by winning the 18th on the pink. A 93 clearance by Reardon gave him the lead at 11–10, but Charlton won the last frame of the session with a break of 64 that started with a fluke.[37] In the fourth session, Reardon won five successive frames to claim a 16–11 win, making a 98 break in the fourth of those.[38]


Alex Higgins (pictured in 1968) won his second championship, defeating Ray Reardon in the final 18-15

The final was played on 15 and 16 May between Reardon and Higgins as the best-of-35 frames, held over four sessions.[14] Reardon, six-times champion, had never lost in the world championship final,[39] and it was Higgins' fourth world final, following his win in 1972, and his losing appearances in the 1976 and 1980 finals.[42] The 1982 final was a rematch of the 1976 final, which Reardon won 27–16.[43]

In the opening session, which featured both players making a number of errors, Reardon built a 5–3 lead. Higgins had compiled a break of 118 in the fourth frame to equalise at 2–2. In the second session, Reardon was 6–4 ahead when he missed potting a pink, with Higgins going on to win that frame and the next, to equalise at 6–6. Reardon won the next frame, but Higgins took the lead at 8–7, the first day finishing with Higgins 10–7 up.[44]

Reardon won the first frame of the second day with a break of 95, and followed this by winning the next frame. Higgins then won two frames and regained a three frame lead at 12–9. The lead was reduced as Reardon won frames 22 and 23. The session finished with Higgins leading 13–12. In the fourth session, Higgins won the first frame, and, after Reardon missed an easy yellow, the second as well. Now 15–12 ahead, Higgins missed a pot that allowed Reardon in to win the frame to narrow Higgins' advantage to two frames, 15–13. With Higgins showing signs of nerves, Reardon won a further two frames to level at 15–15,[44] having required Higgins to concede points from a foul in the second of these.[45] Higgins then won the 31st frame 79–0, the 32nd 112–0 with breaks of 38 and 73,[14] and then clinched the match with a clearance of 135.[44] A tearful Higgins summoned his wife and baby daughter from the audience to celebrate with him.[39][43] The tournament was broadcast on BBC2, with 10.8 million viewers on the second day of the final.[46]

Main draw[edit]

Shown below are the results for each round. The numbers in brackets are player seeds, whilst those in bold denote match winners.[28][47][48][49]

First round Second round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
Best of 19 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 31 frames
30 April & 1 May            
  Steve Davis (ENG) (1)  1
5 & 6 May
  Tony Knowles (ENG)  10  
 England Tony Knowles  13
30 April & 1 May
   England Graham Miles (16)  7  
  Graham Miles (ENG) (16)  10
9, 10 & 11 May
  Dave Martin (ENG)  5  
 England Tony Knowles  11
1 & 2 May
   Australia Eddie Charlton (8)  13  
  Bill Werbeniuk (CAN) (9)  10
5, 6 & 7 May
  John Bear (CAN)  7  
 Canada Bill Werbeniuk (9)  5
1 & 2 May
   Australia Eddie Charlton (8)  13  
  Eddie Charlton (AUS) (8)  10
12, 13 & 14 May
  Cliff Wilson (WAL)  5  
 Australia Eddie Charlton (8)  11
1 & 2 May
   Wales Ray Reardon (4)  16
  Dennis Taylor (NIR) (5)  7
7 & 8 May
  Silvino Francisco (RSA)  10  
 South Africa Silvino Francisco  13
1 & 2 May
   England Dean Reynolds  8  
  Fred Davis (ENG) (12)  7
10 & 11 May
  Dean Reynolds (ENG)  10  
 South Africa Silvino Francisco  8
2 & 3 May
   Wales Ray Reardon (4)  13  
  John Virgo (ENG) (13)  10
6, 7 & 8 May
  Mike Hallett (ENG)  4  
 England John Virgo (13)  8
2 & 3 May
   Wales Ray Reardon (4)  13  
  Ray Reardon (WAL) (4)  10
  Jim Donnelly (SCO)  5  
3 & 4 May            
  Terry Griffiths (WAL) (3)  6
7 & 8 May
  Willie Thorne (ENG)  10  
 England Willie Thorne  13
3 & 4 May
   England John Spencer (14)  5  
  John Spencer (ENG) (14)  10
10 & 11 May
  John Dunning (ENG)  4  
 England Willie Thorne  10
3 & 4 May
   Northern Ireland Alex Higgins (11)  13  
  Alex Higgins (NIR) (11)  10
7, 8 & 9 May
  Jim Meadowcroft (ENG)  5  
 Northern Ireland Alex Higgins (11)  13
3 & 4 May
   Wales Doug Mountjoy (6)  12  
  Doug Mountjoy (WAL) (6)  10
12, 13 & 14 May
  Rex Williams (ENG)  3  
 Northern Ireland Alex Higgins (11)  16
4 & 5 May
   England Jimmy White  15
  David Taylor (ENG) (7)  9
9 & 10 May
  Patsy Fagan (IRE)  10  
 Republic of Ireland Patsy Fagan  7
4 & 5 May
   Canada Kirk Stevens (10)  13  
  Kirk Stevens (CAN) (10)  10
10 & 11 May
  Jack Fitzmaurice (ENG)  4  
 Canada Kirk Stevens (10)  9
5 & 6 May
   England Jimmy White  13  
  Perrie Mans (RSA) (15)  10
8 & 9 May
  Tony Meo (ENG)  8  
 South Africa Perrie Mans (15)  6
5 & 6 May
   England Jimmy White  13  
  Cliff Thorburn (CAN) (2)  4
  Jimmy White (ENG)  10  
Final (Best of 35 frames) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 15 May & 16 May 1982. Referee: John Smyth.[50]
Ray Reardon (4)
15–18 Alex Higgins (11)
 Northern Ireland
41–61, 64–31, 84–47, 0–121, 64–53, 77–30, 65–55, 28–87, 8–89, 76–8, 47–56, 22–91, 69–29, 4–96, 36–71, 14–94, 13–73, 122–12, 81–13, 38–77, 31–78, 69–40, 79–36, 31–71, 52–37, 14–115, 61–70, 84–49, 69–36, 60–58, 0–79, 9–112, 0–139 Century breaks: 2 (Higgins 2)

Highest break by Reardon: 95
Highest break by Higgins: 135

41–61, 64–31, 84–47, 0–121, 64–53, 77–30, 65–55, 28–87, 8–89, 76–8, 47–56, 22–91, 69–29, 4–96, 36–71, 14–94, 13–73, 122–12, 81–13, 38–77, 31–78, 69–40, 79–36, 31–71, 52–37, 14–115, 61–70, 84–49, 69–36, 60–58, 0–79, 9–112, 0–139
Northern Ireland Alex Higgins wins the 1982 Embassy World Snooker Championship


Qualifying matches took place in between 16–26 April 1982, at venues in Redwood Lounge and County Hotel in Bristol, Romiley Forum in Stockport, and Sutton Coldfield.[citation needed][51] Qualifying was played over two rounds both played as the best-of-17 frames. The results are shown below. Players in bold denote match winners.[52]

  First qualifying round
Best-of-17 frames
Second qualifying round
Best-of-17 frames
     Tony Knowles (ENG) 9
 Eugene Hughes (IRE) w.o.      Eugene Hughes (IRE) 7
 Derek Mienie (RSA)
     Dave Martin (ENG) 9
 Pat Houlihan (ENG) 9      Pat Houlihan (ENG) 3
 Ian Anderson (AUS) 5
     Jim Wych (CAN) 4
 John Bear (CAN) 9      John Bear (CAN) 9
 Frank Jonik (CAN) 4
     Cliff Wilson (WAL) 9
 Paul Medati (ENG) 9      Paul Medati (ENG) 5
 John Phillips (SCO) 3
 Silvino Francisco (RSA) 9
 Chris Ross (SCO) 0      Silvino Francisco (RSA) 9
 Paddy Morgan (AUS) 9      Paddy Morgan (AUS) 1
 David Greaves (ENG) 2
     Ray Edmonds (ENG) 6
 Dean Reynolds (ENG) 9      Dean Reynolds (ENG) 9
 Dessie Sheehan (IRE) 5
     Mike Hallett (ENG) 9
 Joe Johnson (ENG) 9      Joe Johnson (ENG) 8
 Vic Harris (ENG) 4
 Jim Donnelly (SCO) 9
 Matt Gibson (SCO) 8      Jim Donnelly (SCO) 9
 Eddie Sinclair (SCO) 9      Eddie Sinclair (SCO) 8
 Billy Kelly (IRE) 8
     Willie Thorne (ENG) 9
 Colin Roscoe (WAL) 9      Colin Roscoe (WAL) 1
 Bernie Mikkelsen (CAN) 6
     John Dunning (ENG) 9
 Murdo Macleod (SCO) 9      Murdo Macleod (SCO) 4
 Eddie McLaughlin (SCO) 8
     Jim Meadowcroft (ENG) 9
 Mike Watterson (ENG) 9      Mike Watterson (ENG) 7
 Bert Demarco (SCO) 6
     Rex Williams (ENG) 9
 Ian Black (SCO) 9      Ian Black (SCO) 2
 Maurice Parkin (ENG) 6
     Patsy Fagan (IRE) 9
 Doug French (ENG) 9      Doug French (ENG) 6
 Bernard Bennett (ENG) 3
 Jack Fitzmaurice (ENG) w.o.
 John Pulman (ENG)      Jack Fitzmaurice (ENG) 9
 Mario Morra (CAN) 9      Mario Morra (CAN) 7
 Tommy Murphy (NIR) 5
     Tony Meo (ENG) 9
 Dennis Hughes (ENG) 9      Dennis Hughes (ENG) 4
 Clive Everton (WAL) 4
     Jimmy White (ENG) 9
 Mark Wildman (ENG) 9      Mark Wildman (ENG) 4
 Geoff Foulds (ENG) 8

Century breaks[edit]

There were 10 century breaks at the championship, the highest being 143 by Willie Thorne.[53][54][55] There was also a £5,000 bonus on offer for compiling a higher break than the championship record of 145.[13]

There were three century breaks made in the qualifying competition.[52]


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