Dennis Taylor

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Dennis Taylor
Dennis Taylor, 2004.jpg
Dennis Taylor in 2004
Born (1949-01-19) 19 January 1949 (age 69)
Coalisland, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Sport country Northern Ireland
Professional1972–2000
Highest ranking2 (1979/1980)
Career winnings£1,426,294[1]
Highest break141: 1987 Carling Challenge
Century breaks79[1]
Tournament wins
Ranking2
Non-ranking17
World Champion1985

Dennis Taylor (born Denis Taylor, 19 January 1949 in Coalisland, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland) is a retired professional snooker player and current BBC snooker commentator.

Winner of two ranking events, he is best known for winning the 1985 World Championship, beating World number one Steve Davis on the final black in one of the sport's most memorable finals. He also won the Grand Prix in 1984 and the Masters in 1987. Taylor is also well known for his sense of humour and his trademark oversized spectacles.[2] He made regular appearances on the snooker game show Big Break.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Taylor turned professional in 1972 and made his world championship debut in 1973, narrowly losing to Cliff Thorburn in the first round.[3] After world semi-final losses in 1975 and 1977, Taylor reached his first major final – the World Championship – in 1979, but lost 24–16 to debutant Terry Griffiths.[3][4]

Having reached the semi final of the World Championships in 1984, losing to Steve Davis, Taylor was playing very well as he began the 1984–85 season. In September, however, he was devastated by the sudden death of his mother, which caused him to withdraw from the Jameson International. His first ranking event win came later in 1984, when he won the Rothmans Grand Prix by beating Cliff Thorburn 10–2 in the final.

The 1985 final[edit]

Later that season he reached his second world final in 1985, where he faced Steve Davis, world number one, reigning world champion and the dominant player of the 1980s. Taylor trailed 0–8 after the first session, but bounced back to trail 7–9 and 15–17 and then level at 17–17. In an incredibly tense final frame, the score was 62–44 to Davis with only the brown, blue, pink and black still on the table. While Davis needed only the brown, Taylor needed all the colours. He potted a long brown, which he says was one of his best ever shots under pressure.

A tricky blue and a difficult pink also went in, bringing the score to 62–59 to ensure that, for the first time ever, the title would be decided on the black ball. Taylor eventually potted the black after Davis had missed a tricky cut into the top pocket and, amid euphoric scenes watched by over 18 million viewers well after midnight on live BBC television, took the title at the relatively advanced age of 36.

Davis later drily commented that the match had all been there "in black and white". The World Championship win added to Taylor's popularity. On his return to Coalisland with the world trophy he was mobbed by the town's inhabitants, and he appeared widely on television thereafter.

Later career[edit]

Taylor reached the Rothmans Grand Prix final again in autumn 1985, and again faced Davis in a match that went to a deciding frame, but this time was beaten 10–9. As with all other first-time world champions so far, Taylor succumbed to the "Crucible curse" on his return to the Crucible Theatre the following year and lost 10–6 to Mike Hallett in the opening match, humorously acknowledging defeat by putting his handkerchief on the end of his cue to resemble a white flag. He won the Benson & Hedges Masters in 1987, beating Alex Higgins 9–8 in the final, having trailed 8-5. Taylor often credits his comeback win to having heard that Higgins's manager had ordered a Wall's Viennetta to celebrate their impending victory.[citation needed]

Taylor had a well-publicized row with Higgins at the 1990 snooker World Cup in which the Northern Ireland team were beaten by Canada in the final, which ended with Higgins threatening to have Taylor shot, a threat Taylor understandably took seriously since he and Higgins belonged to opposite sides of Northern Ireland's sectarian divide. Shortly afterwards they met in the quarter-finals of the Irish Masters, and a determined Taylor won 5–2. The match was attended by a young Ken Doherty. Taylor also beat Jimmy White 6–5 in the semi-finals but, emotionally drained by the Higgins match, lost 9–4 to Davis in the final. Taylor and Higgins were later reconciled.

Taylor and Davis met in the World Championship for a second time in 1991, this time in the quarter-finals. Davis won this match 13-7 to advance to the semi-final.

Taylor was renowned for the glasses he wore during matches, with their large frame and unusual 'upside-down' structure that is required to avoid a player looking over the top of the lenses when down on a shot. As a member of the Matchroom group of players (managed by promoter Barry Hearn), Taylor performed on the hit single with Chas & Dave, "Snooker Loopy", which peaked at #5 in the UK singles chart. His perceived bad eyesight was parodied in the song with the lines "them long shots, he never ever got. Why the old mind boggles. But nowadays he pots the lot" with Taylor himself singing "'cos I wear these goggles".

He was also one of the first players to develop a relative competence in using his left hand to play the game, though he himself said this was partly because he hated to play shots with the rest. Taylor's form deteriorated at quite a pace in the 1990s and he dropped out of the top 16 after the 1994 World Championship, the last remaining player who had been in the original world rankings in 1976. He retired from playing in 2000 telling the BBC "I've had enough of this filthy game. I can now concentrate on my passion which is breathing heavily on false teeth. Tee hee".[4]

Personal life[edit]

Taylor now commentates on the three televised snooker tournaments each year for the BBC and is known for his bona fide and light-hearted commentary. His most famous commentary incident occurred in 1998 when co-commentator Clive Everton nearly strangled Taylor after instinctively grabbing his tie as he fell off his chair.[5] Everton wrongly believed one snooker was required by a player before Taylor stated correctly that he actually needed three snookers to get back into the frame. Everton subsequently proclaimed that his "brains have gone completely" before leaning back in his chair which then gave way. He reached out as he fell, grabbing Taylor's tie and pulling him down with him. An audible bang rang around the auditorium as Everton fell off his chair and out the commentary box with Taylor laughing uncontrollably.[6]

Taylor has also made guest appearances on Big Break, They Think It's All Over, Russian Roulette, A Question of Sport, The Weakest Link and The Sooty Show. In 2005, he was one of the celebrities taking part in the third series of the successful BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, reaching eighth place with his partner Izabela Hannah.

In February 1990, Taylor officially opened the Royal Mail Sorting Office, in Blackburn, Lancashire, giving it his own stamp of approval. He then took part in a one-frame friendly challenge match.[7] Taylor currently lives in Llay near Wrexham and has been a resident of the village since April 2003. His son Damien is a professional golf coach. His autobiography is entitled Frame By Frame.

Performance and rankings timeline[edit]

Tournament 1972/
73
1973/
74
1974/
75
1975/
76
1976/
77
1977/
78
1978/
79
1979/
80
1980/
81
1981/
82
1982/
83
1983/
84
1984/
85
1985/
86
1986/
87
1987/
88
1988/
89
1989/
90
1990/
91
1991/
92
1992/
93
1993/
94
1994/
95
1995/
96
1996/
97
1997/
98
1998/
99
1999/
00
Ranking[8] No ranking system 9 4 8 2 6 5 13 13 11 4 3 8 10 8 10 9 11 15 24 32 26 34 52 88
Ranking tournaments
British Open[nb 1] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event QF 1R QF 2R 1R 3R QF 2R 1R 2R 2R 2R 2R LQ LQ LQ
Grand Prix Tournament Not Held 3R 1R W F 3R F SF QF 2R 1R 3R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R LQ LQ
UK Championship Non-Ranking Event 2R SF 2R 2R 3R 3R 1R 2R 2R 2R 2R 3R 2R 2R LQ LQ
China Open[nb 2] Tournament Not Held NR LQ LQ
Welsh Open Tournament Not Held 2R 1R 1R 2R 3R 2R LQ LQ LQ
Malta Grand Prix Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event LQ
Thailand Masters[nb 3] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event Not Held 1R F 3R 2R 1R 1R LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ
Scottish Open[nb 4] Tournament Not Held NR QF 2R WD SF 3R 2R QF 3R Not Held 1R 2R 2R 2R 2R LQ LQ LQ
World Championship 1R LQ SF QF SF 1R F 2R QF 1R 2R SF W 1R 2R 2R 2R 1R QF 1R QF 1R LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ
Non-ranking tournaments
Scottish Masters Tournament Not Held A SF A A QF A QF NH 1R A 1R A 1R A LQ A LQ A A
The Masters Not Held A 1R 1R QF A QF 1R 1R A 1R 1R QF W 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R QF A A A A A A
Irish Masters[nb 5] Not Held A A A 1R A RR QF QF 1R SF 1R QF SF 1R 1R F SF QF 1R A A A A A A A
Premier League[nb 6] Tournament Not Held F Not Held RR RR A RR RR A A A A A A A A A
Former ranking tournaments
Canadian Masters[nb 7] Not Held Non-Ranking Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking QF Tournament Not Held
Hong Kong Open[nb 8] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event NH QF Tournament Not Held NR NR Tournament Not Held
Classic Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 1R 1R 3R 1R QF 2R 2R 2R 2R Tournament Not Held
Strachan Open Tournament Not Held 2R MR NR Tournament Not Held
Asian Classic[nb 9] Tournament Not Held NR A 1R QF 3R 1R 1R 1R LQ Not Held
European Open[nb 10] Tournament Not Held 2R 1R QF 3R 3R 2R LQ 1R LQ NH LQ NH
German Open Tournament Not Held LQ LQ LQ NR NH
Former non-ranking tournaments
Champion of Champions Tournament Not Held A NH RR Tournament Not Held
Scottish Open[nb 11] Tournament Not Held F Ranking Event Not Held Ranking Event
Northern Ireland Classic Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
Classic Tournament Not Held QF F QF 1R Ranking Event Tournament Not Held
UK Championship Tournament Not Held 2R 2R SF QF 2R 2R 2R Ranking Event
British Open[nb 12] Tournament Not Held SF SF 2R LQ LQ Ranking Event
Thailand Masters[nb 13] Tournament Not Held A A A QF Not Held Ranking Tournament
Hong Kong Open[nb 14] Tournament Not Held A A A A 1R 1R A W A NH R Tournament Not Held A A Tournament Not Held
Canadian Masters[nb 15] Not Held F QF A SF A QF A Tournament Not Held W QF W R Tournament Not Held
Asian Classic[nb 16] Tournament Not Held QF Ranking Event Not Held
Matchroom Professional Championship Tournament Not Held SF W F Tournament Not Held
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
World Seniors Championship Tournament Not Held SF Tournament Not Held
World Matchplay Tournament Not Held QF QF A QF A Tournament Not Held
Irish Professional Championship Tournament Not Held F A A W W W F NH W W W F A Not Held SF A Tournament Not Held
Pot Black A A F F RR RR A SF A RR A QF SF SF Tournament Not Held QF RR QF Tournament Not Held
Champions Cup[nb 17] Tournament Not Held F 1R A A 1R A A
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
  1. ^ The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  2. ^ The event was also called the China International(1998/1999)
  3. ^ The event was also called the Asian Open (1989/1990–1992/1993) and the Thailand Open (1993/1994–1996/1997)
  4. ^ The event was also called the International Open (1982/1983–1984/1985 & 1986/1987–1996/1997) and the Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  5. ^ The event was also called the Benson & Hedges Ireland Tournament (1974/1975–1976/1977)
  6. ^ The event was also called the Professional Snooker League (1983/1984), Matchroom League (1986/1987 to 1991/1992) and the European League (1992/1993 to 1996/1997)
  7. ^ The event was also called the Canadian Open (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  8. ^ The event ran under different names such as the Australian Masters (1983/1984 to 1987/1988 and 1995/1996) and Australian Open (1994/1995).
  9. ^ The event was also called the Dubai Masters (1988/1989), Dubai Classic (1989/90–1994/1995) and Thailand Classic (1995/1996)
  10. ^ The event was also called the Irish Open (1998/1999)
  11. ^ The event was also called the International Open (1982/1983–1984/1985 & 1986/1987–1996/1997) and the Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  12. ^ The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  13. ^ The event was also called the Asian Open (1989/1990–1992/1993) and the Thailand Open (1993/1994–1996/1997)
  14. ^ The event ran under different names such as the Australian Masters (1983/1984 to 1987/1988 and 1995/1996) and Australian Open (1994/1995).
  15. ^ The event was also called the Canadian Open (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  16. ^ The event was also called the Dubai Masters (1988/1989)
  17. ^ The event ran under a different name as the Charity Challenge (1994/1995–1998/1999)

Career finals[edit]

Ranking finals: 6 (2 titles, 4 runner-ups)[edit]

Legend
World Championship (1–1)
Other (1–3)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1979 World Championship Wales Terry Griffiths 16–24
Winner 1. 1984 Grand Prix Canada Cliff Thorburn 10–2
Winner 2. 1985 World Championship England Steve Davis 18–17
Runner-up 2. 1985 Grand Prix England Steve Davis 9–10
Runner-up 3. 1987 Grand Prix (2) Scotland Stephen Hendry 7–10
Runner-up 4. 1990 Asian Open Scotland Stephen Hendry 3–9

Non-ranking finals: 36 (17 titles, 19 runner-ups)[edit]

Legend
The Masters (1–0)
Other (16–19)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1974 Canadian Open Canada Cliff Thorburn 6–8
Runner-up 2. 1975 Pot Black England Graham Miles 0–1
Runner-up 3. 1976 Pot Black (2) England John Spencer 0–1
Runner-up 4. 1978 Irish Professional Championship Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 7–21
Runner-up 5. 1979 Bombay International England John Spencer Round-Robin
Runner-up 6. 1980 Tolly Cobbold Classic Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 4–5
Winner 1. 1980 Irish Professional Championship Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 21–15
Runner-up 7. 1980 Pontins Camber Sands Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 7–9
Runner-up 8. 1980 The Classic England Steve Davis 1–4
Runner-up 9. 1980 Australian Masters England John Spencer Aggregate Score
Winner 2. 1981 Irish Professional Championship (2) Republic of Ireland Patsy Fagan 22–21
Runner-up 10. 1981 International Open England Steve Davis 0–9
Runner-up 11. 1982 Tolly Cobbold Classic (2) England Steve Davis 3–8
Winner 3. 1982 Irish Professional Championship (3) Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 16–13
Runner-up 12. 1983 Irish Professional Championship (2) Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 11–16
Winner 4. 1984 Costa Del Sol Classic England Mike Hallett 5–2
Runner-up 13. 1984 Professional Snooker League England John Virgo Round-Robin
Winner 5. 1985 Irish Professional Championship (4) Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 10–5
Winner 6. 1985 Thailand Masters Wales Terry Griffiths 4–0
Winner 7. 1985 Canadian Masters England Steve Davis 9–5
Winner 8. 1985 Kit Kat Break for World Champions England Steve Davis 9–5
Winner 9. 1986 Irish Professional Championship (5) Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 10–7
Winner 10. 1986 Australian Masters England Steve Davis 3–2
Runner-up 14. 1986 Malaysian Masters England Jimmy White 1–2
Runner-up 15. 1986 Hong Kong Masters England Willie Thorne 3–8
Winner 11. 1986 Carlsberg Challenge England Jimmy White 8–3
Winner 12. 1987 The Masters Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 9–8
Winner 13. 1987 Irish Professional Championship (6) Republic of Ireland Joe O'Boye 9–2
Winner 14. 1987 Tokyo Masters Wales Terry Griffiths 6–3
Winner 15. 1987 Carling Challenge England Joe Johnson 8–5
Winner 16. 1987 Matchroom Professional Championship England Willie Thorne 10–3
Winner 17. 1987 Canadian Masters (2) England Jimmy White 9–7
Runner-up 16. 1988 Irish Professional Championship (3) Northern Ireland Jack McLaughlin 4–9
Runner-up 17. 1988 Matchroom Professional Championship England Steve Davis 7–10
Runner-up 18. 1990 Irish Masters England Steve Davis 4–9
Runner-up 19. 1995 Charity Challenge Scotland Stephen Hendry 1–9

Pro-am finals: 1 (1 title)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1980 Pontins Camber Sands Open England Geoff Foulds 7–5[9]

Team finals: 5 (3 titles, 2 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Team/partner Opponent(s) in the final Score
Winner 1. 1985 World Cup Ireland  England 9–7
Winner 2. 1986 World Cup (2) Ireland  Canada 9–7
Winner 3. 1987 World Cup (3) Ireland  Canada 9–2
Runner-up 1. 1987 World Doubles Championship Canada Cliff Thorburn England Mike Hallett
Scotland Stephen Hendry
8–12
Runner-up 2. 1990 World Cup  Northern Ireland  Canada 5–9

Other wins[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://cuetracker.net/Players/Dennis-Taylor/Career-Total-Statistics
  2. ^ "Snooker legend Dennis Taylor to meet East Lancashire teenagers". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Past Masters: Dennis Taylor". Global Snooker Centre. Archived from the original on 22 February 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Official player profile of Dennis Taylor". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. "Other Players" section. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  5. ^ YouTube video of the Everton necktie incident with interview
  6. ^ "Clive Everton". prosnookerblog.com. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  7. ^ "TEN YEARS AGO: Royal Mail on cue". February 15, 2000. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  8. ^ "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  9. ^ http://www.cuetracker.net/tournaments/pontins-camber-sands-open/1980/2417

External links[edit]