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1983 World Snooker Championship

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1983 Embassy World Snooker Championship
Tournament information
Dates16 April – 2 May 1983
VenueCrucible Theatre
FormatRanking event
Winner's share£30,000
Highest break Cliff Thorburn (CAN) (147)
Champion Steve Davis (ENG)
Runner-up Cliff Thorburn (CAN)

The 1983 World Snooker Championship (also known as the 1983 Embassy World Snooker Championship for the purposes of sponsorship) was a professional snooker tournament that took place between 16 April and 2 May 1983 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. This was the third and final world ranking event of the 1982–83 snooker season. The tournament was sponsored by cigarette company Embassy.

Alex Higgins was the defending champion, having won the 1982 championship, but he lost 5–16 to Steve Davis in the semi-finals. Higgins fell to the "Crucible curse" as he became the latest champion who was unable to defend his first world title at the venue. Davis won the event for the second time, defeating Cliff Thorburn 18–6 in the final. A total of 18 century breaks were made during the tournament. The highest break was made by Thorburn in the second round, against Terry Griffiths, where he compiled a maximum break of 147 points, becoming the first player to make a maximum break in a World Championship match.


The World Snooker Championship is a professional snooker tournament and the game's official world championship.[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 World Championship was organised and governed by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). It features 32 professional players competing in one-on-one single-elimination matches, played over several frames. The players are selected to take part using a combination of the world snooker rankings and a pre-tournament qualification tournament.[4][5] The first World Championship, in 1927, was won by Joe Davis in a final at Camkin's Hall in Birmingham, England.[6][7] Since 1977, the tournament has been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.[8] The defending champion was Alex Higgins, who defeated Ray Reardon 18–15 in the 1982 championship final.[9]

Prize fund[edit]

The winner of the event received a prize of £30,000,[10] the highest amount ever awarded for a snooker tournament up to that point.[11] A breakdown of prize money for this tournament is shown below:[12][13]

  • Winner: £30,000
  • Runner up: £15,000
  • Semi-finals: £8,400
  • Quarter-finals: £4,450
  • Last 16: £2,950
  • Last 32: £1,500
  • Highest break: £3,000
  • Record high break: £5,000
  • Maximum break: £10,000



John Virgo
John Virgo (pictured in 2003) made a break of 101 in qualifying for the event.

A two-round qualification tournament was held across three venues, at the Snooker Centre in Sheffield, Romiley Forum, Stockport and Redwood Lodge, Bristol in March and April.[14][15] In round one, Mario Morra was 4–9 behind Ian Black, but won five frames to equalise at 9–9. In the deciding frame, Morra made a 51 break, but Black replied with a 37 and won the frame and the match on the pink with just two balls remaining.[14] Black compiled a 108 break against Paul Medati in the sixth fame of their second qualifying round, and won seven of the next eight frames to qualify for the main draw with a 10–4 win.[14] Eddie Sinclair recorded a 112 break during a decisive 10–2 defeat of Colin Roscoe. In the second round, Sinclair played Eugene Hughes and led 5–4 after making six breaks over 40. He later won the match 10–8 after making breaks of 99 and 54 in the final two frames. Patsy Fagan failed to qualify for the main draw for the first time in his career, losing 8–10 to Mick Fisher. Les Dodd won a long match against Ian Williamson that concluded at 1:10 am with Dodd winning the deciding frame. Dodd had received a walkover in the first qualifying round after John Dunning did not appear for their match.[14][16]

Snooker veteran Pat Houlihan took a 7–1 lead against Tommy Murphy, but Murphy won seven of the next eight to bring the match to 8–8. Houlihan won the 17th frame, but with breaks of 52 and 71 Murphy took the next two frames to progress into the second round. Murphy then lost 8–10 to John Virgo after leading 8–7. Virgo made a break of 101 in the 13th frame. Tony Meo defeated Vic Harris 10–0, and then defeated Geoff Foulds 10–4 to qualify. The tournament's promoter, Mike Watterson lost 6–10 to John Campbell. Rex Williams lost just one frame in qualifying, securing a 10–0 whitewash over Mike Darrington and then defeated Fred Davis 10–1.[14][16]

Mark Wildman won 10–7 against Bob Harris in the first round and qualified directly for the main draw. Wildman received a walkover as Jim Wych (who had received a bye into the second round) had not travelled from Canada for the match. Cliff Wilson faced Joe Johnson in the second round, a rematch of the 1978 World Amateur Snooker Championship final. In the first round, Wilson had lost only one frame against Clive Everton, whilst Johnson had whitewashed Paul Watchorn. Wilson won against Johnson 10–8.[14][16]

First round[edit]

Jimmy White holding a snooker cue
Jimmy White (pictured in 2013) was the only seeded player to lose in the first round.

The first round was played between 16 and 22 April with best-of-19 frame matches held over two sessions.[17] Steve Davis was the bookmakers favourite to win the event, priced at 11/8 the day before the tournament began.[11] Terry Griffiths was the second-favourite at 7/1, with Reardon and defending champion Higgins at 8/1. Davis had won four individual tournaments during the season leading up to the competition,[11] whilst Reardon had claimed three titles, and Higgins' only notable success had been in the 1983 Irish Professional Championship.[18] Higgins led Dean Reynolds, who had taken him to a deciding frame in the second round of the 1982 UK Championship, 5–1 and finished their first session 6–3 ahead. He then increased this to 8–3, and won the match 10–4.[19] Willie Thorne took a 6–3 lead over Virgo and won the first four frames of their second session to complete a 10–3 victory.[20]

Having built a 6–3 advantage over Dave Martin in their first session, Canadian Bill Werbeniuk won 10–4.[19][21] Jim Meadowcroft only made a highest break of 36 as he was defeated 2–10 by David Taylor.[21] Eddie Charlton completed a 10–7 victory against Dodd after ending their first session 5–3 in front.[21][22] Three-time former winner John Spencer defeated Mike Hallett 10–7 in a closely contested match.[20] Dennis Taylor wore glasses with Perspex lenses and a large framed and unusual 'upside-down' structure at the championships for the first time. He won the last three frames of his match to defeat Silvino Francisco 10–9.[23] Davis took a 6–0 lead over the World Billiards Championship champion Rex Williams, but Williams reduced the deficit by winning the next three frames with high-quality break building.[23] In their second session, Davis won three of the first four frames to complete a 10–4 victory.[24]

Thorburn had a single frame lead against Campbell after their first session and won 10–5 despite suffering from flu symptoms.[24] The 1979 champion Griffiths trailed Wildman 7–8 but won the final three frames to secure a 10–8 victory.[25] In an attacking match, Meo defeated his childhood friend Jimmy White 10–8 having led 6–3 after the first session.[26] White was the only one of the top 16 seeds to lose in the first round.[10] Doug Mountjoy won 10–2 against Wilson, and Kirk Stevens defeated Fisher by the same margin.[26] Ray Reardon, having been 5–4 in front overnight, prevailed 10–7 against Hughes in a match that was tactical and featured few breaks higher than 30.[26] Perrie Mans and Tony Knowles both progressed with 10–3 wins, over Black and Miles respectively.[16]:75

Second round[edit]

Cliff Thorburn playing a shot
Cliff Thorburn (pictured in 2007) compiled a maximum break, the first made at the World Championship.

The second round was played between 21 and 26 April as the best-of-25 frame matches held over three sessions.[17] Higgins lost the first two frames against Thorne, and in the third frame accused Thorne of making a deliberate miss. Thorne commented that Higgins had accused him of being a cheat, which Higgins denied, although he later said Thorne "hadn't been very sporting". Higgins won the frame, and led Thorne 5–3 by the end of the session.[27] Thorne equalised at 7–7 by the end of the second session. From there, Thorne added only one further frame as Higgins won 13–8.[28] David Taylor led Werbeniuk 10–6 after two sessions,[28] but lost 10–13 after Werbeniuk won seven consecutive frames.[10]

Dennis Taylor was a frame ahead of Davis, at 4–3 after their first session,[28] but Davis emerged as the winner, 13–11.[10] Stevens compiled a break of 139 in the second frame against Mans, and went on to take a 7–1 lead after the first session and win 13–3 in two sessions.[10] In a session of slow play, Charlton moved from 9–7 against Spencer to take their match 13–11.[10] Knowles led Reardon 9–7 and after Reardon had equalised at 11–11 and 12–12, defeated him with a break of 66 in the deciding frame.[29] Meo gained a 5–3 lead over Mountjoy after their first session and went on to win 13–11.[10]

The final session of the match between Thorburn and Griffiths lasted more than seven hours and finished at 3:51 am,[30][31][32] the latest finish for a snooker match at the Crucible.[33] Thorburn achieved the first maximum break at a World Snooker Championship in the fourth frame.[34] He was only the second player after Davis at the 1982 Classic to make an official maximum.[35] The break started with Thorburn fluking a red ball. While he was completing the break, play stopped on the tournament's second table because his friend and fellow Canadian Werbeniuk wanted to watch.[36] During the semi-final, which finished at 12:45 am,[37] Thorburn had learnt that his wife Barbara had suffered a miscarriage on the day that he made his maximum break.[38]


The quarter-finals were played between 25 and 27 April as the best-of-25 frames held over three sessions.[17] Charlton compiled a break of 115 in his match against Davis, but Davis took a 5–3 lead into their second session, and then won six of the next eight frames. [29][39] Davis then won the first two frames of the final session to complete a 13–5 victory.[40]

Higgins made a break of 109 in the first frame against Werbeniuk, and won the next on the final black ball. At 46 points ahead in the third frame, Higgins attempted to play a snooker behind the pink and was annoyed by referee John Williams who awarded a foul against him as the cue ball had not touched the pink. After protestations from Higgins, Williams asked the match scorers for a second opinion, and the decision stood. Werbeniuk then made a break of 57 and won the frame.[39] Higgins said that he wanted a change of referee, and threatened to walk out, but following a discussion with tournament promoter Mike Watterson, agreed to return.[10] He won the following two frames, but lost the next after going in-off while playing a shot on the pink. Werbeniuk won that frame and the next, leaving the scores tied at 4–4 at the end of their first session.[39] Werbeniuk took a 9–7 lead by the end on the next session, but Higgins started the third session by winning three consecutive frames. Werbeniuk recorded a break of 109 to level at 11–11, but Higgins won the next two to take the match 13–11.[40]

Knowles won the first five frames against Meo and led 6–2 after their first session,[29] before winning 13–9.[40] Thorburn took a 4–0 lead over Stevens, and was 5–3 ahead at the end of their first session.[29] Stevens had led 12–10, but Thorburn won 13–12, with the final session finishing at 2:12 am.[41][32]


The semi-finals were played between 28 and 30 April as best-of-31-frames matches scheduled over four sessions.[17] Davis won the first session against Higgins 5–2, and also took the first four frames the following day, making a break of 103 in the opening frame of the second session, to extend his lead to 9–2.[10][42] At the mid-session interval, the Crucible Theatre was evacuated due to a death threat against Davis that had been telephoned to the venue, saying that he would be shot if he won a tenth frame.[10] After an hour-long police search, the audience was readmitted and the match resumed.[10] Davis was 10–4 ahead at the end of the first day.[42] On the second day of their match, Davis compiled a break of 90 to make his lead 11–4. Higgins replied with a break of 74 to reduce his deficit to 5-11, but Davis then won the next five frames to take the match 16–5.[10]

Knowles led Thorburn 5–3 at the end of their first session before Thorburn levelled the match at both 5–5 and 7–7. Knowles led 8–7 at the end of the second session.[42] Thorburn took the first two frames of the third session, to lead in the match for the first time since he had won the initial two frames. The players were again equal at 10–10 before Thorburn moved 12–10 ahead at the end of the third session. Knowles won the next two frames after lengthy tactical exchanges, and then took a 13–12 lead with a break of 74. Knowles was within a frame of reaching the final at 15–13, but Thorburn won the next two to force a deciding frame. After Knowles missed potting a simple red, Thorburn went on to win the frame, and the match 16–15.[43][44][45]


Steve Davis looking at the camera
Steve Davis (pictured in 2010) won his second World Championship with a session to spare.

The final was played on 1 and 2 May between Thorburn and Davis as the best of 35 frames, scheduled to be held over four sessions.[46][47] It was Thorburn's third appearance in a World Championship final, after he had been runner-up in 1977 and champion in 1980, and Davis's second, two years after his victory in 1981.[48] At 2–2 after the first four frames, Davis won four in a row to lead 6–2.[46] He increased his advantage to 9–2 at the start of the second session as Thorburn made several errors, including missing a pot on a red when using the rest, an unsuccessful attempt to double a red, and an easy half-ball cut shot.[49] Thorburn then won two frames but Davis finished the first day 12–5 ahead.[46]

On the second day, Davis won the first frame on the black ball after Thorburn had missed a shot on the pink to win the frame. Thorburn missed several attempted pots in the second frame of the session, and Davis won this frame too, following it with a break of 59 in winning the third frame, and winning the fourth after another missed pot attempt from Thorburn.[47] After the mid-session interval, Davis compiled a break of 131 in the 22nd frame to leave him one frame from victory at 17–5. Thorburn won one further frame, before Davis achieved victory at 18–6. This was the first final at the Crucible to be completed with a session to spare. The concluding frame was won on a re-spotted black.[46]:39 Thorburn was exhausted during the final after winning his last three matches in deciding frames. He played 14 hours more than Davis throughout the tournament.[50] Snooker historian Clive Everton commented that the long matches Thorburn had played earlier in the tournament "left him so drained ... that he was able to offer only token resistance."[16]:75 Davis became the first player to win the event for a second time at the Crucible.[47]

Davis thanked his family in his post-match speech, and said that his father, and his coach Frank Callan, were the "only two people in the world that could help [him] with [his] game."[10] An emotional Davis also offered his commiserations to Thorburn, and said that "he has had a lot of hard things happening to him and I want to thank him for a great final."[47] Thorburn commented on the match "I know what purgatory is like now. I tried like hell, but it was too hard for me to win."[10] The £30,000 prize money brought Davis's prize money from tournaments to more than £80,000 for the season, with his expected earnings for the following year being estimated at £750,000, including income from sponsorship deals, and from charging £3,000 for playing exhibition matches.[51]

Main draw[edit]

Shown below are the results for the tournament. The numbers in brackets are players seedings, whilst those in bold denote match winners.[12][52][53]

First round Second round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
Best of 19 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 31 frames
16 April            
  Alex Higgins (NIR) (1)  10
21 & 22 April
  Dean Reynolds (ENG)  4  
 Northern Ireland Alex Higgins (1)  13
16 & 17 April
   England Willie Thorne (16)  8  
  Willie Thorne (ENG) (16)  10
25, 26 & 27 April
  John Virgo (ENG)  3  
 Northern Ireland Alex Higgins (1)  13
16 & 17 April
   Canada Bill Werbeniuk (9)  11  
  Bill Werbeniuk (CAN) (9)  10
22 & 23 April
  Dave Martin (ENG)  4  
 Canada Bill Werbeniuk (9)  13
16 & 17 April
   England David Taylor (8)  10  
  David Taylor (ENG) (8)  10
28 & 29 April
  Jim Meadowcroft (ENG)  2  
 Northern Ireland Alex Higgins (1)  5
16 & 18 April
   England Steve Davis (4)  16
  Eddie Charlton (AUS) (5)  10
23 & 24 April
  Les Dodd (ENG)  7  
 Australia Eddie Charlton (5)  13
16 & 17 April
   England John Spencer (12)  11  
  John Spencer (ENG) (12)  10
25, 26 & 27 April
  Mike Hallett (ENG)  7  
 Australia Eddie Charlton (5)  5
17 & 18 April
   England Steve Davis (4)  13  
  Dennis Taylor (NIR) (13)  10
22 & 23 April
  Silvino Francisco (RSA)  9  
 Northern Ireland Dennis Taylor (13)  11
18 & 19 April
   England Steve Davis (4)  13  
  Steve Davis (ENG) (4)  10
  Rex Williams (ENG)  4  
19 & 20 April            
  Cliff Thorburn (CAN) (3)  10
23 & 24 April
  John Campbell (AUS)  5  
 Canada Cliff Thorburn (3)  13
18 & 19 April
   Wales Terry Griffiths (14)  12  
  Terry Griffiths (WAL) (14)  10
26 & 27 April
  Mark Wildman (ENG)  8  
 Canada Cliff Thorburn (3)  13
19 & 20 April
   Canada Kirk Stevens (6)  12  
  Perrie Mans (RSA) (11)  10
24 April
  Ian Black (SCO)  3  
 South Africa Perrie Mans (11)  3
20 & 21 April
   Canada Kirk Stevens (6)  13  
  Kirk Stevens (CAN) (6)  10
28, 29 & 30 April
  Mick Fisher (ENG)  2  
 Canada Cliff Thorburn (3)  16
20 & 21 April
   England Tony Knowles (15)  15
  Doug Mountjoy (WAL) (7)  10
25 & 26 April
  Cliff Wilson (WAL)  2  
 Wales Doug Mountjoy (7)  11
20 & 21 April
   England Tony Meo  13  
  Jimmy White (ENG) (10)  8
26 & 27 April
  Tony Meo (ENG)  10  
 England Tony Meo  9
21 & 22 April
   England Tony Knowles (15)  13  
  Tony Knowles (ENG) (15)  10
24, 25 & 26 April
  Graham Miles (ENG)  3  
 England Tony Knowles (15)  13
20 & 21 April
   Wales Ray Reardon (2)  12  
  Ray Reardon (WAL) (2)  10
  Eugene Hughes (IRE)  7  
Final (Best of 35 frames) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 1 & 2 May 1983. Referee: Len Ganley[54]
Steve Davis (4)
18–6 Cliff Thorburn (3)
82–20, 11–112, 83–39, 36–80, 80–34, 65–34, 81–44, 75–26, 82–6, 73–0, 81–48, 41–67, 25–71, 100–8, 15–68, 96–2, 76–47, 58–53, 75–28, 62–47, 67–62, 131–0, 24–62, 77–70 Century breaks: 1 (Davis 1)

Highest break by Davis: 131
Highest break by Thorburn: 55

82–20, 11–112, 83–39, 36–80, 80–34, 65–34, 81–44, 75–26, 82–6, 73–0, 81–48, 41–67, 25–71, 100–8, 15–68, 96–2, 76–47, 58–53, 75–28, 62–47, 67–62, 131–0, 24–62, 77–70
England Steve Davis wins his second World Snooker Championship


Qualifying was played over two rounds both played as the best-of-19 frames in March and April. The 16 players qualifying for the event met a seeded player in the main competition. Players in bold denote match winners.[16]:75

  First round
Best of 19 frames
Second round
Best of 19 frames
     Silvino Francisco (RSA) 10
 Billy Kelly (IRE) 10      Billy Kelly (IRE) 5
 Bert Demarco (SCO) 4
     Graham Miles (ENG) 10
 Paddy Morgan (AUS) 10      Paddy Morgan (AUS) 6
 Pascal Burke (IRE) 9
     John Virgo (ENG) 10
 Tommy Murphy (IRE) 10      Tommy Murphy (IRE) 8
 Pat Houlihan (ENG) 9
     Fred Davis (ENG) 1
 Rex Williams (ENG) 10      Rex Williams (ENG) 10
 Mike Darrington (ENG) 0
     Jim Wych (CAN)
 Mark Wildman (ENG) 10      Mark Wildman (ENG) w.o.
 Bob Harris (ENG) 7
     Dean Reynolds (ENG) 10
 Ray Edmonds (ENG) 10      Ray Edmonds (ENG) 6
 Frank Jonik (CAN) 4
 Mick Fisher (ENG) 10
 Patsy Fagan (IRE) 8      Mick Fisher (ENG) 10
 Eddie McLaughlin (SCO) 10      Eddie McLaughlin (SCO) 9
 David Greaves (ENG) 7
 Tony Meo (ENG) 10
 Vic Harris (ENG) 0      Tony Meo (ENG) 10
 Geoff Foulds (ENG) 10      Geoff Foulds (ENG) 4
 Matt Gibson (SCO) 6
 Ian Black (SCO) 10
 Mario Morra (CAN) 9      Ian Black (SCO) 10
 Paul Medati (ENG) 10      Paul Medati (ENG) 4
 John Bear (CAN) 7
 Cliff Wilson (WAL) 10
 Clive Everton (WAL) 1      Cliff Wilson (WAL) 10
 Joe Johnson (ENG) 10      Joe Johnson (ENG) 8
 Paul Watchorn (IRE) 0
 Murdo MacLeod (SCO) 10
 Marcus Owen (WAL) 5      Murdo MacLeod (SCO) 7
 Dave Martin (ENG) 10      Dave Martin (ENG) 10
 Maurice Parkin (ENG) 1
 Jim Meadowcroft (ENG) 10
 Bernard Bennett (ENG) 3      Jim Meadowcroft (ENG) 10
 Graham Cripsey (ENG) 10      Graham Cripsey (ENG) 6
 Dennis Hughes (ENG) 2
 Jim Donnelly (SCO) 10
 Dessie Sheehan (IRE) 6      Jim Donnelly (SCO) 2
 John Campbell (AUS) 10      John Campbell (AUS) 10
 Mike Watterson (ENG) 6
 Les Dodd (ENG) w.o.
 John Dunning (ENG)      Les Dodd (ENG) 10
 Ian Williamson (ENG) 10      Ian Williamson (ENG) 9
 Doug French (ENG) 8
 Mike Hallett (ENG) 10
 Roy Andrewartha (WAL) 7      Mike Hallett (ENG) 10
 Warren King (AUS) 10      Warren King (AUS) 6
 Ian Anderson (AUS) 6
 Eugene Hughes (IRE) 10
 Jack Fitzmaurice (ENG) 7      Eugene Hughes (IRE) 10
 Eddie Sinclair (SCO) 10      Eddie Sinclair (SCO) 8
 Colin Roscoe (WAL) 2

Century breaks[edit]

There were 18 century breaks compiled during the championship, a record which stood until 1986. The highest break of the event was a maximum break of 147 made by Thorburn,[55][56][57] earning a £5,000 bonus.[13]


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