The Big Four of Snooker: Part - 1

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MILLARD ROCCO

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Snooker News
  • The Big Four of Snooker: Part - 1

The sport of snooker has been dominated by Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn, John Spencer and Steve Davis from 1976 until late 80’s and early 90’s. Present era can be labeled as the dominion of the ‘big four’ which includes Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

These cueists dominate the world snooker scene and still look very much in the form to keep their dominion intact. Stephen Hendry however, is losing grip over his game and touch languidly, consequently he is going down the world rankings. Nonetheless, these four has been in command for number of years.

Stephen Hendry – The Scottish cue can undoubtedly be called the snooker’s all time great. He started playing snooker when he was 12 years old, and turned professional in 1986 following his victory in the Scottish under-16 championship.

Moving on to become the youngest-ever Scottish champion, Hendry also became the youngest-ever player to have qualified for the world snooker championship. However, he did not just stop there as he went on to become the youngest-ever player to win the world snooker championship in 1990 when he was 21-years-old.

Stephen’s had a glistening snooker career, as he won the world snooker championships seven times in his career, a record that still stands high.

The 41-years-old legendary snooker player has the distinction over other players in terms of winning more ranking titles than any of the snooker player ever. Stephen has as-many-as 36 ranking as-well-as numerous non-ranking titles under his belt. With immense experience up his sleeves, Stephen is on the top of all time prize money winner’s list.

Stephen has been ranked No.1 for consecutive eight years, from 1990 until 1998, which is also one of many other records he hold. With nine maximum breaks of 147, Stephen is considered as the most successful player ever.

Hendry has been a relaxed and tender player who likes to play the game slow and accurate. Stephen’s break building skills are unmatched as he mastered the art of potting the blue ball with pace allowing the cue-ball to roll back into the rack of red balls to open them up. His ability to pot long balls accurately played a vital role in his success; nonetheless Hendry has not always been a sloth player, as the way he played depended entirely on his mood. He has played aggressive snooker for some time, and compiled an amazing number of 700 competitive century breaks.

However, now when he is above 40-years of age, he seems to be losing his concentration and dominion as he has dropped to 14th spot in the world ranking, which is not very bad either for a player his age. Despite his decline, nick-named the golden boy, the ice man, pride of Scotland and king of crucible, Hendry will always be remembered as a legend.

Mark Williams – Known as the Welsh potting machine, Mark is one of the big four. Mark has won the world championship twice in his career in 2000 and 2003, and still surges for more wins.

The 35-years-old left-handed cueist started playing snooker at an early age, as he brought the first trophy home when he was just 11-years old. Scoring his first century at the age of 13, Williams realized that he should make a career out of the sport.

Encouraged by his father who was a miner and used to do double shifts in-order to finance Williams, allowing him to take part in the competitions around, Williams carried on with his passion for the sport.

Williams was also a successful boxer at school, as he was undefeated in 12 consecutive fights. However Williams chose to pursue his snooker career, he got professional status in 1992. Finishing his first season ranked 119th, Williams moved briskly into the bracket of world top-16 within the next three seasons.

Williams is the only player after Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry to have won the Triple Crown in a season, winning World championship, the Masters and the UK championship in 2002/2003.

He is believed to be one of the greatest cueists when it comes to the long potting and accuracy. With solid technical skills, Williams has compiled over 200 century breaks.

Interestingly, Williams is slightly color blind, potting brown ball once believing it to be a red, he often gets confused about the balls.

Mark has been ranked No.1 for three consecutive seasons in his career, and is now ranked number-3 in the world rankings.

Williams has prodigious experience under his belt and continues to look for more victories, he still has the stamina and passion to win major events.

To be continued…