1985 World Snooker champion Dennis Taylor set for Motherwell
Snooker great Dennis Taylor – who is on stage in Motherwell tonight (Thursday) – has been reminiscing about the unforgettable 1985 World Championship final.
With a packed Crucible Theatre audience and 18 million television viewers watching, the affable Northern Irishman pocketed the final black to see off Steve Davis 18-17 in a nail biting contest.
“Both of us had never been under that type of pressure before,” Taylor (71) told the Motherwell Times.
“To go down to the last few balls and the last black after 17 days was something new for both of us, even though Steve was going for his third world title in a row.
“The pressure was just incredible at the end and I think it showed with Steve over cutting the black.
“It was the most severe pressure I’ve ever felt.
“I took ages on the shot and really didn’t grip the cue.
“I just let it be very loose in my hand.
“I had earlier had the first proper chance and made a complete mess of it but that last one was easier than the one that Steve missed.
“When it went in it was hard to describe. After trying for 13 years to win the world championship suddenly it was there.
“To beat a player that dominated the game throughout the ’80s was quite a feeling.
“We didn’t realise that 35 years later people would still be talking about it.
“Steve says even though he lost that one it was great to be involved in a bit of snooker history that people remember more than any other game.”
Taylor won that final wearing the famous “goggles” glasses designed by Jack Carnham, a BBC commentator who was also a snooker professional but more of a billiards player.
Taylor said: “Jack’s family business when he was growing up was making spectacle frames.
“So I went and stayed with him and he made them by hand in 1983.
“He said: ‘You could get these made in a few hours’ but I said I wanted him to make them.
“He finished up making the pair that I won the world championship with.
“I probably wouldn’t have won it without me wearing the – as they looked like – purely upside down glasses.
“There was a bit more to it than that.
“I started wearing those glasses about 18 months before winning the world title.
“I had pretty poor eyesight and I previously had tried contact lenses in 1979 and they were brilliant.
“In fact I should have won the world championship that year. I beat Steve Davis, Ray Reardon who was six-time champion and lost in the final to Terry Griffiths.
“But I couldn’t get on with contact lenses so I knew that I definitely needed the glasses.
“If I take the glasses off now and try to play, the balls look like rugby balls!”
Dennis, Steve Davis and fellow legend John Virgo are all appearing at Motherwell Concert Hall next Thursday for popular show ‘An Evening With Snooker Greats’.
For tickets, see https://culturenl.co.uk/an-evening-with-snooker-greats/
Dennis said: “When we do these shows together we tend to re-enact the last few balls after we play the little match and talk through the last few shots. It’s good to be back in Scotland because we used to play in Motherwell at the Regal Masters.
“Steve’s quite amusing. We have a lot of fun with the crowd after the interval with the Q and A session.”
With trick shots involving the audience and world-famous impressions of other players on offer, it promises to be a great night.
Dennis may even re-enact his famous finger wagging celebration after winning the 1985 final.
He added: “I used to commentate for ITV then and the guy who was head of sport for them was with me for the whole 17 days.
“I spotted him in the crowd and wagged my finger to say: ‘I told you I’d do it in the end’.”