||Ray Reardon MBE
||8 October 1932. Tredegar, Monmouthshire, Wales
||1967 - 1992
||146 (1972 Park Drive 2000 Tournament)
||1st (1976/77 - 1980/81, 1982/83
Truly one of the games all-time greats, Ray Reardon was born
in Tredegar in Wales.
At the age of 14 he followed family tradition and went to work down the mines.
He took care, however to protect his hands, as he already had a great interest
in the game if snooker. He was once buried alive down a mine for 3 hours
following which he left the pit and joined the police force in Stoke-on-Trent.
He won the News of the World Amateur title in 1949 at the
age of 17 and then the Welsh Amateur title for six successive years from 1950
to 1955 before moving to Stoke. At Tredegar he had built up a friendly rivalry
with another gifted young amateur, Cliff Wilson, and their battles attracted
large crowds. In 1964 he won the English Amateur title beating in the final the
man who was to become his great rival over the next few years, John Spencer.
Further successes as an amateur brought him to the attention of sponsors and in
1967 he took the gamble of leaving a secure job, with no home of his own and
with a family to support, and turned professional.
In his first world championship in 1969 he lost in the first
round by the odd frame out of 49 to Fred Davis but the following year he
claimed the first of his six world titles with a 39-34 victory over John
Pulman. John Spencer, who had won the title in 1969, beat him in the
semi-finals of the next championship and he only reached the quarters in 1972.
Then came four successive world titles against Eddie Charlton, Graham Miles,
Charlton again and Alex Higgins.
The game was now becoming more popular, in part due to the
success of Pot Black on TV which Ray won in 1969, and new tournaments were
being set up. The first Benson & Hedges Masters was held in 1975 and Ray
lost in the final to Spencer but came back to win it the following year. He
beat Perrie Mans of South
Africa to win his sixth world title in 1978,
his only one at the Crucible. In the meantime he had become a regular at the
Pontins Festival and won the professional title there on four occasions and the
Welsh professional title three times.
He reached one more Embassy world final, losing to Alex
Higgins in 1982. His only other ranking title came in the Professional Players
Tournament later the same year and his final two wins came in 1983 with the
Yamaha International Masters and his third Welsh Professional title.
Ray was the first world No 1 when the rankings were
introduced in 1976, a position he held for five years. After a year gap, he
regained the top slot in 1982/3, the first player to do so.
Although he reached the world semi-finals in 1985, he began
to slide down the rankings and finally retired in 1992. Since then he took an
active role in the running of the WPBSA for a while and more recently has been
advising Ronnie O’Sullivan.
A master of the
safety game, he was also a brilliant potter until, like many older players, his
eyesight started to fail. Nicknamed ‘Dracula’, he was always in demand for chat
shows and long after his retirement would make the occasional appearance on
TV’s Big Break.
Ray was awarded the M.B.E. for services to snooker in the
Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 1985.
|World Professional Snooker Champion
||1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978
|World Professional Snooker Championship Runner up
|Benson & Hedges Masters champion
|Professional Players Tournament champion
|Yamaha International Masters champion
|Welsh Professional champion
||1977, 1981, 1983
|Champion of Champions winner
|Highland Masters champion
|Forward Chemicals Tournament champion
|Park Drive 2000 champion
|World Cup winner
||1979, 1980 (Welsh Team)
|BBC Pot Black champion
|Pontins Professional champion
||1974, 1975, 1976, 1978
|Pontins Spring Open champion
|Welsh Amateur champion
||1950 - 1955
|English Amateur champion
© Chris Turner 2009
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