Player Profile Ray Reardon MBE

Born: 8 October 1932. Tredegar, Monmouthshire, Wales
Professional Career: 1967 - 1992
Highest Break: 146 (1972 Park Drive 2000 Tournament)
Career Centuries 27
Highest Ranking 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.

Career Highlights
World Professional Snooker Champion 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978
World Professional Snooker Championship Runner up 1982.
Benson & Hedges Masters champion 1976
Professional Players Tournament champion 1982
Yamaha International Masters champion 1983
Welsh Professional champion 1977, 1981, 1983
Champion of Champions winner 1978
Highland Masters champion 1982
Forward Chemicals Tournament champion 1979
Park Drive 2000 champion 1971 (Autumn)
World Cup winner 1979, 1980 (Welsh Team)
BBC Pot Black champion 1969, 1979
Pontins Professional champion 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978
Pontins Spring Open champion 1975
Welsh Amateur champion 1950 - 1955
English Amateur champion 1964
© Chris Turner 2009
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