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World Matchplay
Invitation Event

Brief History of the World Matchplay
 
 
There have in fact been several events with similar titles. There was the Professional Match-Play championship played from 1952 until 1957 which effectively replaced the world championship when the players were in dispute with the then governing body. Results of this event can be found with those of the World Championship itself.
 
In late 1976, Eddie Charlton promoted an event in Melbourne which, with WPBSA approval, carried the title World Professional Match-Play Championship. It was a sixteen-man event but did not include John Spencer or several other top names and three of the lesser known Australian entrants could only manage a total of three frames between them. Charlton himself beat Ray Reardon 31-24 in the final but the event was never repeated.
 
Mare recently however Barry Hearn established the World Matchplay in 1988 as an invitation event for the top twelve players on the provisional ranking list and the event was the first in snooker to offer a six-figure prize with the winner of the inaugural event, sponsored by Everest, the double glazing company, at Brentwood in December 1988 receiving exactly £100,000.
 
Of the 12 players, the top eight seeds received a bye into the quarter finals. It was, appropriately enough, Steve Davis, the greatest player of that decade, who won the event and took away that first six-figure cheque, with John Parrott the runner up. The event was staged at the same venue for the next two years. John Parrott was the runner up for the second year running as Jimmy White took the big cheque in 1989 and, although Jimmy retained his title in 1990, Coalite had taken over as sponsors and the top prize was now only £70,000.
 
It moved to Doncaster in 1991 where Gary Wilkinson gained the only major win of his career as he beat Steve Davis in the final and Steve was the beaten finalist again in 1992, with James Wattana taking the title. 

Roll Of Honour             

Year Venue Sponsor Winner
Runner Up Score 1st Prize
1988 Brentwood Centre Everest Steve Davis John Parrott 9-5 £100,000
1989 Brentwood Centre Everest Jimmy White John Parrott 18-9 £100,000
1990 Brentwood Centre Coalite Jimmy White Stephen Hendry 18-9 £70,000
1991 The Dome, Doncaster Coalite Gary Wilkinson Steve Davis 18-11 £70,000
1992 The Dome, Doncaster Coalite James Wattana Steve Davis 9-4 £70,000



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© Chris Turner 2008