Dennis Taylor

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For other people named Dennis Taylor, see Dennis Taylor (disambiguation).
Dennis Taylor
Dennis Taylor, 2004.jpg
Dennis Taylor in 2004
Born (1949-01-19) 19 January 1949 (age 68)
Coalisland, County Tyrone
Sport country Northern Ireland
Professional 1972–2000
Highest ranking 2 (1979/1980)
Career winnings £1,426,294[1]
Highest break 141 (1987 Carling Challenge)
Century breaks 79[1]
Tournament wins
Ranking 2
Non-ranking 17
World Champion 1985

Dennis Taylor (born Denis Taylor, 19 January 1949 in Coalisland, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland) is a retired 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. He regularly made appearances on the snooker-based gameshow Big Break.


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.[2] 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.[2][3]

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 champagne 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 gradually 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.[3]

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.[4] 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 chuckling uncontrollably.[5]

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.[6] 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 timeline[edit]

Tournament 1972/
UK Championship Tournament Not Held 2R 1R SF QF 3R 2R 2R 2R SF 1R 1R 2R 2R LQ 2R 2R 2R 2R 3R 2R 3R LQ LQ
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
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
Performance Table Legend
LQ Failed to qualify #R Lost in the early rounds
QF Lost in the quarter-finals SF Lost in the semi-finals
F Lost in the final W Tournament winner
A Did not participate in the tournament NH Tournament was not held

Career finals[edit]

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

World Championship (1–1)
UK Championship (0–0)
Other (1–3)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1979 World Championship Wales Griffiths, TerryTerry Griffiths 16–24
Winner 1. 1984 Grand Prix Canada Thorburn, CliffCliff Thorburn 10–2
Winner 2. 1985 World Championship England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 18–17
Runner-up 2. 1985 Grand Prix England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 9–10
Runner-up 3. 1987 Grand Prix (2) Scotland Hendry, StephenStephen Hendry 7–10
Runner-up 4. 1990 Asian Open Scotland Hendry, StephenStephen Hendry 3–9

Non-ranking event finals: 33 (17 titles, 16 runner-ups)[edit]

Masters (1–0)
Other (16–16)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1974 Canadian Open Canada Thorburn, CliffCliff Thorburn 6–8
Runner-up 2. 1975 Pot Black England Miles, GrahamGraham Miles 0–1
Runner-up 3. 1976 Pot Black (2) England Spencer, JohnJohn Spencer 0–1
Runner-up 4. 1978 Irish Professional Championship Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 7–21
Runner-up 5. 1980 Tolly Cobbold Classic Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 4–5
Winner 1. 1980 Irish Professional Championship Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 21–15
Runner-up 6. 1980 Pontins Camber Sands Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 7–9
Runner-up 7. 1980 The Classic England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 1–4
Winner 2. 1981 Irish Professional Championship (2) Republic of Ireland Fagan, PatsyPatsy Fagan 22–21
Runner-up 8. 1981 International Open England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 0–9
Runner-up 9. 1982 Tolly Cobbold Classic (2) England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 3–8
Winner 3. 1982 Irish Professional Championship (3) Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 16–13
Runner-up 10. 1983 Irish Professional Championship (2) Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 11–16
Winner 4. 1984 Costa Del Sol Classic England Hallett, MikeMike Hallett 5–2
Winner 5. 1985 Irish Professional Championship (4) Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 10–5
Winner 6. 1985 Thailand Masters Wales Griffiths, TerryTerry Griffiths 4–0
Winner 7. 1985 Canadian Masters England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 9–5
Winner 8. 1985 Kit-Kat Break for World Champions England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 9–5
Winner 9. 1986 Irish Professional Championship (5) Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 10–7
Winner 10. 1986 Australian Masters England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 3–2
Runner-up 11. 1986 Malaysian Masters England White, JimmyJimmy White 1–2
Runner-up 12. 1986 Hong Kong Masters England Thorne, WillieWillie Thorne 3–8
Winner 11. 1986 Carlsberg Challenge England White, JimmyJimmy White 8–3
Winner 12. 1987 The Masters Northern Ireland Higgins, AlexAlex Higgins 9–8
Winner 13. 1987 Irish Professional Championship (6) Republic of Ireland Joe O'Boye 9–2
Winner 14. 1987 Tokyo Masters Northern Ireland Griffiths, TerryTerry Griffiths 6–3
Winner 15. 1987 Carling Challenge England Johnson, JoeJoe Johnson 8–5
Winner 16. 1987 Matchroom Professional Championship England Thorne, WillieWillie Thorne 10–3
Winner 17. 1987 Canadian Masters (2) England White, JimmyJimmy White 9–7
Runner-up 13. 1988 Irish Professional Championship (3) Northern Ireland Jack McLaughlin 4–9
Runner-up 14. 1988 Matchroom Professional Championship England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 7–10
Runner-up 15. 1990 Irish Masters England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 4–9
Runner-up 16. 1995 Charity Challenge Scotland Hendry, StephenStephen Hendry 1–9

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 Thorburn, CliffCliff Thorburn England Hallett, MikeMike Hallett
Scotland Hendry, StephenStephen Hendry
Runner-up 2. 1990 World Cup  Northern Ireland  Canada 5–9

Other wins[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c "Past Masters: Dennis Taylor". Global Snooker Centre. Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Official player profile of Dennis Taylor". World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. "Senior Players" section. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  4. ^ YouTube video of the Everton necktie incident with interview
  5. ^ "Clive Everton". Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "TEN YEARS AGO: Royal Mail on cue". February 15, 2000. Retrieved July 31, 2016. 

External links[edit]