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UK Championship
World Ranking Event since 1984

A Brief History of the UK Championship
 
One of the oldest events in the calendar, what was originally known as the United Kingdom Professional Snooker Championship began life in 1977. In those days it was open only to British residents and passport holders. With sponsorship from ball manufacturers, Super Crystalate, the first event, with a field of twenty-four was held at the Blackpool Tower Circus with Irishman, Patsy Fagan taking the £2000 first prize. 1978 the event found a new home, The Preston Guild Hall where it became a regular event for the next twenty years. New sponsors were found in bookmakers, Coral who backed the event for eight years. During that time Steve Davis was the dominant figure winning four times and runner up once. Alex Higgins appeared in four Coral finals, winning one and Terry Griffiths lost two out of his three finals.
 
1983 was one of the great finals. Alex Higgins had lost a final frame decided the previous year to Terry Griffiths and was up against Steve Davis who opened up a 7-0 lead only to watch Alex level at 11-11 and then come back again to take the last two frames for a 16-15 victory.
 
The UK has always been regarded as the second most important event primarily as matches in those early days were always ‘best of 19’ with a final over 31 frames. In more recent times, early rounds have been reduced to ‘best of nine’ but later rounds are still played over seventeen frames.
 
In 1984 the event was opened up to all professionals and was granted ranking status since when it has always carried more points than any event outside the world championship. Tennents, another division of the same parent company as Coral, took over the sponsorship in 1986 and Steve Davis won another two titles. Then along came Stephen Hendry who was expected to cruise past a revived Doug Mountjoy in the 1988 final. Doug had won the title ten years earlier but was enjoying a revival in form. To everyone’s surprise, the Welshman won 16-12 and went on to take the next event on the calendar as well. Stormseal were the sponsors for the next two years which resulted in Hendry beating Davis in both finals.
 
John Parrott added the UK in 1991 to the world title he had won a few months before. There were no sponsors that year but Royal Live Assurance stepped in for the next four years which saw, in 1992 Jimmy White gain his only victory in the event and the following year Ronnie O’Sullivan lift the trophy to become the youngest ever winner of any ranking event. Stephen Hendry then won the next three. In 1994 he set up a record with seven centuries in the final and the following year he made the first televised 147 break in the event. A feat which he repeated in 1999. No one else has made a televised UK maximum although Willie Thorne, Peter Ebdon and Nick Dyson have achieved one in the early rounds.
 
In 1997 Liverpool Victoria become the sponsors and after one more year at Preston the event moved to Bournemouth where the company had its headquarters. Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams shared the honours at Bournemouth but now the event moved on to York’s Barbican Centre seeking a new backer. No sponsor initially came forward but Ronnie O’Sullivan took the title for a third time. At long last sponsorship was obtained for 2002 in the shape of Powerhouse but only for one season initially. Mark Williams clinched his second win in the event. Travis Perkins stepped in with a three-year sponsorship deal in 2003 which also saw Matthew Stevens finally win a ranking title. The title went outside the British Isles for the very first time in 2005 when 18 year-old Ding Junhui from China beat Steve Davis, nearly 30 years his senior. Ding was only four months old when
Davis won his last UK title in 1987.
 
Maplin Electronics signed a three year title sponsorship deal in 2006 and that year saw Peter Ebdon , playing better than anyone could remember, take the title for the first time and become only the ninth player to win both the World and UK titles.

 

Roll Of Honour             

Year Venue Sponsor Winner
Runner Up Score 1st Prize
1977 Tower Circus, Blackpool Super Chrystalate Patsy Fagan Doug Mountjoy 12-9 £2,000
1978 Guild Hall, Preston Coral Doug Mountjoy David Taylor 15-9 £3,500
1979 Guild Hall, Preston Coral John Virgo Terry Griffiths 14-13 £4,500
1980 Guild Hall, Preston Coral Steve Davis Alex Higgins 16-6 £6,000
1981 Guild Hall, Preston Coral Steve Davis Terry Griffiths 16-3 £10,000
1982 Guild Hall, Preston Coral Terry Griffiths Alex Higgins 16-15 £11,000
1983 Guild Hall, Preston Coral Alex Higgins Steve Davis 16-15 £12,000
1984 Guild Hall, Preston Coral Steve Davis Alex Higgins 16-8 £20,000
1985 Guild Hall, Preston Coral Steve Davis Willie Thorne 16-14 £24,000
1986 Guild Hall, Preston Tennents Steve Davis Neal Foulds 16-7 £60,000
1987 Guild Hall, Preston Tennents Steve Davis Jimmy White 16-14 £70,000
1988 Guild Hall, Preston Tennents Doug Mountjoy Stephen Hendry 16-12 £80,000
1989 Guild Hall, Preston Stormseal Stephen Hendry Steve Davis 16-12 £100,000
1990 Guild Hall, Preston Stormseal Stephen Hendry Steve Davis 16-15 £110,000
1991 Guild Hall, Preston none John Parrott Jimmy White 16-13 £35,000
1992 Guild Hall, Preston Royal Liver Assurance Jimmy White John Parrott 16-9 £70,000
1993 Guild Hall, Preston Royal Liver Assurance Ronnie O'Sullivan Stephen Hendry 10-6 £70,000
1994 Guild Hall, Preston Royal Liver Assurance Stephen Hendry Ken Doherty 10-5 £70,000
1995 Guild Hall, Preston Royal Liver Assurance Stephen Hendry Peter Ebdon 10-9 £70,000
1996 Guild Hall, Preston none Stephen Hendry John Higgins 10-9 £70,000
1997 Guild Hall, Preston Liverpool Victoria  Ronnie O'Sullivan Stephen Hendry 10-6 £75,000
1998 Bournemouth International Centre Liverpool Victoria  John Higgins Matthew Stevens 10-6 £75,000
1999 Bournemouth International Centre Liverpool Victoria  Mark J. Williams Matthew Stevens 10-8 £78,000
2000 Bournemouth International Centre Liverpool Victoria  John Higgins Mark J. Williams 10-4 £78,000
2001 Barbican Centre, York none Ronnie O'Sullivan Ken Doherty 10-1 £100,000
2002 Barbican Centre, York Powerhouse Mark J. Williams Ken Doherty 10-9 £84,500
2003 Barbican Centre, York Travis Perkins Matthew Stevens Stephen Hendry 10-8 £84,500
2004 Barbican Centre, York Travis Perkins Stephen Maguire David Gray 10-1 £70,000
2005 Barbican Centre, York Travis Perkins Ding Junhui Steve Davis 10-6 £70,000
2006 Barbican Centre, York Maplin Electronics Peter Ebdon Stephen Hendry 10-6 £77,000
2007 Telford International Centre Maplin Electronics Ronnie O'Sullivan Stephen Maguire 10-2 £100,000
2008 Telford International Centre Maplin Electronics Shaun Murphy Marco Fu 10-9 £100,000
2009 Telford International Centre Pukka Pies Ding Junhui John Higgins 10-8 £100,000
2010 Telford International Centre 12BET.com John Higgins Mark J. Williams 10-9 £100,000

Maximum Breaks
Final Stage
Willie Thorne 1987 Last 32 v. Tommy Murphy
Peter Ebdon 1992 Last 64 v. Ken Doherty
Stephen Hendry 1995 Last 16 v. Gary Wilkinson
Stephen Hendry 1999 Last 16 v. Paul Wykes
David Gray 2004 Last 32 v. Mark Selby
Ronnie O'Sullivan 2007 Semi Final v. Mark Selby
Ding Junhui 2008 Last 16 v. John Higgins
Qualifying Rounds
Nick Dyson 2000 Qual Rd 2 v Robert Milkins


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© Chris Turner 2008