Name: Mark Davis
DOB: 12th August 1972
Turned Pro: 1991
Highest Ranking: #13 (2013)
Highest Break: 143 (China Open 2010)
Career Highlights: 2009 & 2012 Six Red World Champion, 2012 UK Championship, Wuxi Classic and Australian Goldfields Open semi-finalist, 2010 Shanghai Masters quarter-finalist, 2001 Regal Scottish Open & 1996 German Open QF, 2002 B&H Champion, 2007 German Open Champion
An ever-present on the main tour since the 1991/2 season, whilst Mark has rarely threatened to trouble the very top of the rankings, he is a dangerous player in the qualifying draws and one who has recently played as well as he has done at any point in his career.
Moving slowly up the rankings, Mark first qualified for the World Championship in 1994 where he lost out 10-6 to former world champion Terry Griffiths in the last 32 at the Crucible. He did however make it back a year later when he was to defeat Ken Doherty to make it to the last 16 for the first time where he was defeated 13-7 by Peter Ebdon. His run had at least done enough to move him into the top 60 where he has generally managed to remain ever since.
The only exception to date was during a few difficult years towards the end of the 1990′s where he dropped to as low as 77th, though a career-best equalling run to the quarter-finals of the 2001 Regal Scottish Open soon sent him back in the right direction. He followed this up with a win in the non-ranking B&H Championship event in 2002 to qualify for the Masters tournament the following January.
Mark in action at the 2010 Shanghai Masters
Although he was now 36 years old, Mark enjoyed an excellent year in 2008, managing to qualify for his fourth appearance at the Crucible in April, as well as defeating Ding Junhui on the way to the last 16 of the Northern Ireland Trophy just four months later.
A significant factor behind this revival would appear to have been the work he has done with leading coach Stephen Feeney, which began midway through the 2007/8 season. Having ironed out certain alignment problems that were affecting his game, he had become a much more dangerous player again and his improved form continued as he was to lose just two first round matches in 2008/9.
Following this improved form Mark began the 2009/10 season ranked back inside the world’s top 48 and importantly well up on the one-year rankings. His results continued to be impressive as he reached the last 48 at the season opening Shanghai Masters before wins over Li Hang, Steve Davis and impressively world number 7 Marco Fu took him all the way to the last 16 of the Grand Prix in Glasgow. At one stage it looked like he might go further as he led Peter Ebdon 3-2 but the 2001 world champion showed his class with breaks of 87, 135 and 64 to progress.
Mark could not repeat this run at December’s UK Championship but another opening match win ensured that he would remain well-placed at 31st in the provisional rankings with three events to go.
Despite his consistent form in the ranking events however, the highlight of Mark’s season so far was to come in Killarney as he became the inaugural Six Red World Snooker Champion. Through to the final with victories over the likes of Mark King, Joe Swail, Mark Joyce and Jamie Cope, he then saw off Mark Williams by a 6-3 scoreline. Having collected £10,000 and a world championship trophy, Mark told Global Snooker:
“It’s great. I’ve really enjoyed it here. I had a few lucky rubs in earlier matches which helped, but I made some good breaks in the final.
“The venue was superb and the organisation and hospitality was second to none. Now I wish every tournament could be held here and every event be 6-red! “The kids will be delighted. They’ll know they’ll get an extra special Christmas Present now.”
His coach Steve Feeney added:
“I am delighted for Mark, he has worked so hard and this is just reward for him, a world title is the pinnacle of any player’s career.”
Having broken through to the top 32 for the first time at the end of the previous season, Mark continued his excellent form through to 2010/11 as he won matches at each of the first 10 events carrying ranking points. His best run was a semi-final at the PTC3 event before a maiden quarter-final appearance at the Shanghai Masters ensured that he would finish just outside the top 16 at the first mid-season rankings revision. For a while it appeared as though that Shanghai run could see him go even further but it was not to be as after a tremendous start he was ultimately be denied a first semi-final by Scotland’s Jamie Burnett.
Mark at the Southwest Snooker Academy in 2010
From there Mark qualified for the final stages of both the World Open and UK Championship as well as reaching the last 16 of the China Open in Beijing, notably defeating Stephen Maguire in the first round before losing to eventual winner Judd Trump.
There was however to be some disappointment as opening round defeats in the German Masters, Welsh Open and importantly the season-ending World Championship to Rory McLeod meant that he could not quite crack the elusive top 16, finishing the season ranked 19th.
Mark Davis enjoyed a strong start to the 2011/12 season as he reached the last 16 of the Australian Goldfields Open with victories against Tian Pengfei and Judd Trump, while consistent performances in the early PTC events culminated in a run to the final of PTC4 in Furth where he was only to be denied by Leicester’s Mark Selby.
Unfortunately for Mark however he was to win just four matches from his next five, defeat to Nigel Bond at PTC6 confirming that he would narrowly miss out on a place in the top 16 at the first mid-season seedings revision to Martin Gould.
Mark during his press conference at the 2011 UK Championship
It was to be a similar story during the following months as a last gasp defeat to Ding Junhui on the pink at the last 32 of the UK Championship left him needing 1,800 points from the final two PTC events of 2011 if he was to overhaul Ronnie O’Sullivan for that elusive top 16 place.
Agonisingly, although Mark was to put up a great effort, at one stage requiring just one more frame as he led Anthony Hamilton 3-2 at PTC11, it was Anthony who would win the match 4-3 and ensure that Mark would just fall short for a second time in the season.
- Click here to read my interview with Mark following his successful qualification for the 2011 UK Championship.
After the turn of the year, Mark’s best result came at the PTC Grand Finals where he defeated Tom Ford in the first round before losing to Stephen Maguire, while he also qualified for the final stages of the Welsh Open and the World Championship.
Mark was also to enjoy a successful run in the invitational Championship League, winning Group Four with a 3-1 victory against Mark Selby to qualify for the winner’s group.
Having narrowly missed out on a place in the top 16 during the previous season, there were those who thought that his best chance of moving up into that bracket had passed as the 2012/13 season got underway.
Mark however had other ideas, and made an excellent start by qualifying for the season-opening Wuxi Classic, where he defeated Ding Junhui, Jamie Burnett and Graeme Dott to reach the semi-finals of a full-ranking event for the first time in his career.
Though he lost out narrowly to Stuart Bingham in a deciding-frame, he was not to be disappointed, as the following week he took victory in the invitational 6-Red World Championship, an 8-4 victory against Shaun Murphy sealing his second world title under the shortened format of the game.
In action at the UKPTC3 event in Gloucester
The victories would keep on coming in Asia as the week after that, he reached his second ranking semi-final at the Australian Goldfields Open, notably defeating local hero Neil Robertson in the last 16, before eventually losing out to eventual champion and friend Barry Hawkins, in a thrilling semi-final.
From there Mark would continue to qualify for all of the year’s remaining full-ranking events, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the ET4 event in Bulgaria, before again losing to the eventual winner Judd Trump.
Perhaps the highlight of Mark’s year however was to come at the UK Championship, where he made it a hat-trick of semi-finals, with a last 16 victory against four-time world champion a particular high-point. As well as reinforcing the fact that he is now very much a threat in all of the major tournaments, the result was enough to move him up to 15th in the rankings, finally cracking that elusive top 16 bracket.
Following his brilliant run at the Barbican Centre however, Mark was to struggle to maintain his early-season form, losing his opening matches at the Masters, Welsh Open qualifiers and PTC Finals, as well as losing early at the Haikou World Open and China Open tournaments.
He was to finish the season on a stronger note however, despite having been forced to qualify for the World Championship as a member of the world’s top 16, due to the entry of the lower-ranked defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
At the qualifiers he was able to win a high-quality match with Liang Wenbo 10-6, before going on to shock four-time champion John Higgins at the Crucible to reach the last 16 stage, where he would lose to friend Stuart Bingham.
Non-ranking event wins (2)
Other event wins (2)
|6 Red World Championship||2009|
|Six Red World Championship||2012|