Before the World Championships this year, during the past 6 months, the then-current World Champion Steve Davis and the 1979 World Snooker Champion Terry Griffiths, contested on every final. The most notable were the 1982 Classic, where Steve made the first televised maximum but lost to Terry on the final and the 1982 Masters where it was Steve’s turn to win.
They became favorites to win this upcoming World Championship, Davis(being the defending champion) being the 1st seed, Thorburn(being the World’s no. 1) being the 2nd seed and Griffiths(being the World’s no.3) being the 3rd seed.
But….They were all defeated in their first round encounters. The first match at the Crucible, Steve Davis vs Tony Knowles, Davis tasted his most bitter defeat in the World Championship by losing 1-10. Terry Griffiths then became the favorite to win it, but then lost 6-10 to Willie Thorne, and then the World’s no.1, Cliff Thorburn, losing to Jimmy White 4-10.
With the Nugget gone, one man, little by little, became people’s favorite again to win again for the title. It was the Hurricane, Alex Higgins. He beat Jim Meadowcroft 10-5 in the First Round, last year’s finalist Doug Mountjoy in the deciding frame in the Second Round and Willie Thorne within 23 frames in the Quarter-finals.
Another man was also becoming another surge and source of entertainment for the sport. After his first round defeat to Davis in last year’s championship, Jimmy White, only 20, looked set to became the youngest ever World Champion. He beat Cliff Thorburn within 14 frames, the 1978 World finalist Perrie Mans 13-6, and will-be-then-rival Kirk Stevens 13-9 in the Quarter-finals.
Also, the old names were beginning to re-emerge, they were 6-times World Champion Ray Reardon and “Steady Eddie” Eddie Charlton. Reardon had a First Round Encounter with Jim Donelly. He beat the Scot 10-5. He then beat John Virgo 13-8 in the Second Round and Silvino Francisco 13-8 in the Quarter-finals. While Eddie beat Cliff Wilson 10-5 in the First Round, Canada’s Bill Werbeniuk 13-5 in the Second Round and Tony Knowles 13-11 in the Quarter-finals.
The Reardon-Charlton semi-final match, in which Reardon won 16-11, attracted little attention. Most the people looked up more in the other semi-final match, between Alex Higgins and Jimmy White.
The first session ended 4-4. The second session became much interesting when Jimmy made 4 consecutive frames, all of those frames were won with style and extraordinary potting abilities. Alex answers by taking the remaining 3 frames of the session to be just one behind at 7-8. The third session became more of a display of offensive capabilities. Alex leveled the match at 11-11 at the end of the third session. In the final session, Jimmy raced ahead to one frame behind from his first final at 15-13. But Higgins made a 73 break in the 29th frame to be just one frame behind. In the penultimate frame, Jimmy was on the table making the frame-winning break while Alex was agonizing on his chair, watching what would most likely to be his defeat, until at the break of 59, with a red and color away from sealing the frame and the match, he missed the only open red in the cluster with the rest.
“Alex breathes again”
Their roles became switched, with Jimmy agonizing in his chair as he witness Alex made the match saving break of 69 and took over the deciding frame to win by 16 frames to 15.
It was Ray Reardon vs Alex Higgins again. Their previous final encounter was at the 1976 World Snooker Final in which Reardon won 27 frames to 16.
Higgins took the first frame 61-41. Reardon won the next two with scorelines of 64-31 and 84-47. Alex answered back with a century. 2-2. Reardon pulled three in a row(64–53, 77–30, 65–55). Alex took the final frame of the First session, 87-28, to trail 3-5.
Higgins took the first frame of the session, 89-8. Reardon answered one back, 76-8, that was the one of the two frames he only took at that session. Higgins lead 10-7. Reardon took the third session to be just one frame behind at 12-13. At the mid-session interval, the match was tied at 15-15. After the interval, Alex pulled 3 consecutive frames, with the final one being a 135 break, to win 18-15.
Then mixture of emotions started to emerge.