All sports rely on an influx of fresh, new talent but you can’t quite beat the legends rolling back the years for excitement.
Yesterday’s play at the 888.com World Championship was thrilling as first Stephen Hendry, then Steve Davis evoked memories of their respective heydays by hitting the comeback trail at the Crucible.
Hendry pulled it off, rallying from 6-3 and 9-7 down to see off Mark Allen 10-9.
Davis just came up short, losing 10-8 to Stuart Bingham after fighting from 8-3 adrift to 8-8.
Hendry’s recovery proved that the Crucible has inspired him to produce close to his best form. Although Allen slipped up, the Scot finished off in style, in one visit in the decider.
“There are a lot of good players capable of winning the title but as long as I’m still in it they’ve got a headache,” he said afterwards.
And who could possibly argue with that?
Davis lost out after messing up position from blue to pink in an extraordinary 17th frame. He had Bingham on the ropes and failed to land the knockout blow but what a great performance it was.
Gone are the days 50 year-old Davis is booed at venues. The support he enjoyed from the crowd last night was amazing.
Nobody can go on forever, but Hendry and Davis are a breed apart because the competitive fire burns deeper in them than any of the players who have followed them.
They would always look to the next tournament after picking up a trophy. They never got comfortable.
Hendry believes he can land an eighth world title. As long as he remains in the event then this possibility cannot be written off.
As for Davis, he will have to qualify next year. Regardless, I repeat what I said in my closing line of commentary for Eurosport last night: He’s walked off the Crucible stage for what may be the last time, but hasn’t he left us with some wonderful memories.