Snooker Legends Hit The Crucible

Images(c) david muscroft and snookerlegends

The long awaited Snooker Legends Series got underway last week with a memorable evening at the Crucible Theatre. Click below to read how the evening unfolded and remember that if you want to go to one of the 15 remaining events you have the opportunity to win tickets with PSB by clicking here...

The Long anticipated Snooker Legends Tour ‘broke’ off to a full house at The Crucible Theatre on Thursday with those lucky enough to have secured a ticket claiming to have witnessed one of the most entertaining nights of snooker and nostalgia ever.

Much of the talk had been about Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins who had been taken into a Belfast hospital only 8 days earlier suffering from pneumonia, but with his first appearance for 16 years only 2 days away the ‘Hurricane’ checked himself out of hospital and made the trip across the water so as not to disappoint his adoring fans. The rolled up cuff on the bottle green shirt, again a throw back to his 1982 final, clearly showed his hospital identity band, he really is a man of remarkable spirit, even with his obviously failing health.

Images(c) david muscroft and snookerlegends

The evening was billed as a night of nostalgia; it was certainly that with not only Alex’s return but the return also of the 1980 World Champion Cliff Thorburn, the 1991 World Champion John Parrott and the peoples champion Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White. The blood red set, again inspired by the old Embassy colours and some old footage of Cliff, Alex and Jimmy set the scene and when ‘The Entertainer’ and ‘Pot Black’ music played we knew it was time to begin.

First out, and a vital cog in this whole production, was the 1979 UK Champion John Virgo.  As well as announcing the match ups, John entertained the crowd superbly with his trick shots.  Various audience members were given the chance to play some shots with ‘JV’ in the hallowed arena and how the audience revelled in some of the attempts.

John then moved on to introduce our referee, Michaela Tabb, just two days back from officiating the China Open final, it was lovely to see her in a more relaxed environment joining in the fun and banter.

Images(c) david muscroft and snookerlegends

Then we had the first semi final.  John Parrott and Jimmy White, a rematch of the 1991 World Championship Final.  The format was 2 frames with a re-spotted black decider if the match ended one all.  Jimmy got in first with a run of 74 to the yellow, the audience almost expectant of a century.  John Parrott, fresh from his duties with the BBC at the Grand National Meeting, captured the next frame with a 50 so we were into sudden death.  John broke and gave Jimmy first chance but a rattled black left JP a cut in to secure his place in the final.

Then the moment most of the audience had been waiting for, a rematch of the 1980 SAS final and the entrance of ‘The Grinder’ and ‘The Hurricane’. As Alex entered the arena a quick doff of his hat proved that despite all his trials and tribulations the storm was far from tranquil.  An edgy first frame, only interrupted by Alex’s berating of the returning Crucible Photographer David Muscroft, saw Cliff take it on the colours. The match had a slightly more serious feel than the first one, with jokes and audience interaction kept to a minimum, it was obvious to see that 30 years on, and despite so much water under the bridge, these two adversaries were desperate to beat each other.

Images(c) david muscroft and snookerlegends

Cliff won the second frame more comfortably and set up a meeting with John Parrott in the final.

At the start of the second half Jimmy and Alex took partners for a light hearted frame of doubles.  John Virgo commentated throughout with his thoughts and observations on our two guest players, and once again the theatre was full of applause.  After a few safety exchanges Jimmy got in and a run of 94 took him to a straight black for the century.  The Whirlwind then stepped aside and invited the raffle winner Roy Butcher to stroke in the black for his first, and I’m sure only, crucible century.  It was a marvellous moment.

Images(c) david muscroft and snookerlegends

The final became a one frame shoot out and John Parrott and Cliff Thorburn put on a great show.  John Parrott got in and made a 70 to take the trophy, presented by Michaela Tabb, and the audience stood to applaud not only his victory but what had been a great night.

After the event all the players lined up in the foyer to meet the fans and sign the memorabilia, a lot of people capped off a memorable night by meeting their heroes. This was the first of a 16 night tour; all details can be found on