1985 - TAYLOR BEATS DAVIS ON FINAL BLACK
It has been said that only being there could do justice to the extraordinary drama of Dennis Taylor’s capture of the 1985 world title, but I’m not so sure.
Snooker and colour television had long been proved a perfect match and this was night they came together to deliver sporting theatre that will endure long after most other world finals are forgotten.
Steve Davis was looking for his fourth world title and third in succession. When he led 8-0, a heavy, humiliating defeat for Taylor seemed a certainty.
It is to his great credit that he clawed his way back into contention – a testament to his character and self belief.
At just after 11pm it was 17-17. There then followed a frame that, had it been the first of the opening day, would have caused even hardened snooker fans to turn off.
As it was, 18.5 million viewers in Britain were entranced.
True, the safety was of high quality but there was much understandable tension. The highest break was just 22.
It took 69 minutes to resolve. Taylor is, of course, remembered for potting the final black but he also potted a great brown, a great blue and a great pink to take it down to the final ball.
Had Davis won it would not have been any less of a spectacle but would have lost something of its appeal: Davis was supposed to win. That’s what he did.
That he missed the black, cutting it back into a blind pocket, was proof that even the greats are fallible.
Taylor’s pot, followed by his much earned celebration, are perhaps snooker’s most famous images.
This was the peak of the 1980s snooker boom. It was the final vindication of the BBC’s decision to throw its weight behind the green baize game, which became an instant favourite with the viewing public after the introduction of colour television.
Even Davis, heartbroken by his failure to kill the match off, managed an ironic nod towards this as he was interviewed by David Vine.
“It was all there in black and white,” he said.