Former World snooker champions on cue for Galway exhibition game

Former World snooker champion Ken Doherty who is coming to Galway in early June to take on Steve Davis in an exhibition match.
Former World snooker champion Ken Doherty who is coming to Galway in early June to take on Steve Davis in an exhibition match.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

TWO of snookers most loved figures, Ireland’s own former World Champion Ken Doherty and six-time winner Steve Davis, are to play an exhibition game at the Black Box Theatre in Galway on Thursday, June 7.

Over the past few weeks, Doherty and Davis have been working as pundits at the World Championships at the Crucible in Sheffield – the decider of which was played over Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. And what a final it was!

Having led 14 frames to seven at one stage in the third session on Monday, Wales’ Mark Williams had to withstand a determined rally from Scotland’s John Higgins before emerging victorious on a final count of 18-16.

Many snooker enthusiasts and pundits have described it as one of the most exciting, tense and best finales in some time. “It was an amazing final,” says Doherty when Talking Sport caught up with him on Tuesday morning. “Absolutely brilliant.

“Both players played out of their skins. John Higgins made a great comeback but Williams then came again. Anything that was thrown at him, he had an answer for. So, there was some really top-quality snooker from the two great champions.”

In the closing stages, Williams had an opportunity to see out the match but missed a pink ball to allow Higgins back to the table to take the frame. Given the momentum was all with the Scot in the final session – having levelled it at 15 frames apiece after being 15-10 down after the third set – it looked like Williams was about to miss out on a third World title.

“Yeah, he may have done but he (Williams) held his bottle very well. He really did,” praises Doherty. “A lot of people were doubting him when Higgins came back but he held his nerve very well and it was very impressive. You know, Higgins didn’t lose the final; it was more of a case that Williams won it.”

As this was a final between two men who have been around for a quarter of a century, 1997 World Champion Doherty is very familiar with both players. In 1998, he lost out on back-to-back titles when he was defeated by Higgins in the decider while, five years later, it was Williams who denied him a second Crucible final victory.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.