Cliff Thorburn Canadian snooker player

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Cliff Thorburn
Thorburn in 2010
Born (1948-01-16) January 16, 1948 (age 72)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Sport country Canada
  • The Grinder
  • Champagne Cliff
Highest ranking1 (1981/82)
Highest break147: (2 times)
Tournament wins
World Champion1980

Clifford Charles Devlin Thorburn CM (born January 16, 1948)[1] is a Canadian retired professional snooker player. Nicknamed "The Grinder" because of his slow, determined style of play, he won the World Snooker Championship in 1980, defeating Alex Higgins 18–16 in the final to become the first world champion in the sport's modern era from outside the United Kingdom.

Thorburn was runner-up in two other World Championships, losing 21–25 to John Spencer in the 1977 final (the first ever played at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre) and 6–18 to Steve Davis in the 1983 final. One of his most celebrated moments came during his second-round encounter with Terry Griffiths in 1983, when he became the first player to compile a maximum break in a World Championship match. He was the second player (after Davis) to make a 147 break in professional competition.

Thorburn's other notable achievements include holding the number one ranking during the 1981–82 season and winning the prestigious invitational Masters three times, in 1983, 1985, and 1986. This made him the first player to win the Masters more than once and the first to retain the title.

He retired from the professional tour in 1996 and was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. At the age of 70, he won the 2018 Seniors Masters at the Crucible Theatre.

Early life

Thorburn was born on 16 January 1948 in Victoria, British Columbia.[2] He was brought up by his grandparents after his parents separated when he was eighteen months old.[3] He played pool and lacrosse in his youth,[2] and set a one-game scoring record of ten goals in the Greater Victoria Minor Lacrosse Association "midget division" in 1958.[4] He left school at the age of 16, and travelled across Canada playing pool and snooker money matches, taking jobs as a dishwasher and working on a garbage truck to help earn money for his stakes. In 1968 he entered his first tournaments, and won the Toronto City Championship. He spend time with Fred Davis and Rex Williams when they toured Canada in 1970, and afterwards became a resident professional at the House of Champions club in Toronto.[3] In July 1970, he reportedly made a maximum break of 147 against Fred Hardwick.[5] He won the North American championship in 1971, making six century breaks during the tournament, equalling the record for century breaks in a single tournament jointly held by Joe Davis and George Chenier.[6]

Early professional career

Thorburn played John Spencer in a series of three exhibition matches in 1971, and although he lost all three matches,[2] Spencer recommended to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association that Thorburn should be accepted as a professional.[3] Thorburn travelled to England in 1973, and on the day he arrives, the reigning world snooker champion Alex Higgins offered to play him for £5 a frame. Thorburn, receiving 28 points start in each frame, claims to have beaten Higgins in every frame they played, and that Higgins refused to pay up.[7]:87

At the 1973 World Snooker Championship, his first tournament on the professional snooker circuit, Thorburn defeated Dennis Taylor 9–8 in the first round then lost 15–16 to Williams in the second round. Later that year, he had a 4–0 win over Pat Houlihan at the 1973 Norwich Union Open before losing 2–4 to Higgins in the quarter-final. In the 1974 World Snooker Championship he defeated Alex McDonald 8–3 in qualifying then lost 4–8 to Paddy Morgan in the first round. He started the 1974–75 snooker season with a victory in the 1974 Canadian Open, winning against Willie Thorne and Graham Miles to reach the final, where he won 8–6 against Taylor.[8] He reached the quarter-finals of the 1975 World Snooker Championship with wins over Morgan and Miles, losing the quarter-final 12–19 to Eddie Charlton, and, the following year, lost 14–15 to Higgins in the first round of the 1976 World Snooker Championship.[9]:59

The 1977 World Snooker Championship was the first to be held at the Crucible Theatre. Thorburn became the first Canadian world snooker championship finalist. He whitewashed Chris Ross 11–0 in qualifying, then recorded a 13–6 win over Williams. In the quarter-final, he won in the deciding frame, 13–12, against Charlton.[9]:60 He overcame Taylor 18–16 in the semi-final, and twelve hours later was facing Spencer in the final. Spencer built a 4–2 lead at the end of the first session, but Thorburn won four of the next six frames and they finished the second session level at 6–6. Thorburn took the first two frames of the third session, and it finished with them level again, at 9–9. Thorburn built a 13–11 lead during the fourth session, and extended it to 15–11 before Spencer won four consecutive frames to make it 15–15; the next session again saw them share the frames, finishing at 18–18. Spencer won three frames in a row to lead 21–18, with Thorburn taking the next two, to trail by just a single frame. Spencer took the last frame of the session, leading 22–20. In the last session, Thorburn again narrowed the gap to one frame, but then Spencer won three in a row to achieve victory at 25–21.[10]:33–34

Thorburn reached the final of the 1978 1978 Masters with wins over Doug Mountjoy and Spencer, losing 5–7 to Higgins in the final. He was knocked out of the 1978 World Snooker Championship by Charlton, 12–13 in the quarter-finals.[8] In the 1978–79 snooker season he defeated Tony Meo 17–15 in the final to win the 1978 Canadian Open after having trailed 6–10 at the end of the first day of the final,[9]:61 but lost his opening matches in both the Masters (4–5 to Perrie Mans) and the World Championship (10–13 to John Virgo).[11]:169 He retained his Canadian Open title in 1979, taking a 10–3 lead over Terry Griffiths before winning the match in the deciding frame, at 17–16.[9]:63


1980 world snooker champion

Thorburn had defeated Virgo 6–1 in the round robin phase of the 1980 Bombay International, but lost 7–13 to him in the final.[9]:63 He won 5–3 against Virgo in the first round of the 1980 Masters, then lost 3–5 to Griffiths in the Quarter-final.[9]:64 In advance of the 1980 World Championship, he practiced at a club near the Crucible that was owned by a friend, and gave up smoking and drinking alcohol for a week before the tournament. His first match was against Mountjoy, with Thorburn finishing their first session 3–5 behind. In the evening, he played cards and drank alcohol with friends until 5:00 am, resuming the match the next day by winning the first five frames in succession. Thorburn won the match 13–10.[3] In the quarter-final, he beat Jim Wych 13–6, having led 5–3, 9–3 and 10–6.[12] He led David Taylor 5–3 after their first semi-final session, and 11–4 at the end of the second.[13] In the last session of the match, Thorburn extended his lead to 15–7 by the mid-session interval, then won 16–7 with a break of 114 in the 23rd frame.[14]

Thorburn became the first player to reach a second final at the Crucible. His opponent was Higgins, the 1972 champion.[10]:35 Thorburn won the first frame, with Higgins then winning the next five. Thorburn won the seventh to make it 5–2, with Higgins complaining after the frame that Thorburn had been standing in his line of sight, a claim that author and sports statistician Ian Morrison called "unfounded."[10]:35 Higgins led 6–2 at the end of the first session, extending this to 9–5 before Thorburn levelled the match at 9–9.[10]:35 Writing in The Times, Sydney Friskin described the match to this point as a contrast of styles: "the shrewd cumulative processes of Thorburn against the explosive break-building of Higgins." He also noted that each player had accused the other of distracting them during the match.[15] Thorburn won the 19th and 20th frames, with Higgins taking the following to the make it 11–11.[10]:35 Thorburn went ahead at 12–11 and 13–12, with Higgins then levelling the match both times, and winning the next to leave Thorburn one behind at 13–14.[16] In the final session, Higgins won the first frame then Thorburn won the next two, before Higgins squared the match at 15–15. Thorburn led 16–15, and missed an easy brown ball that let Higgins in to make it 16–16.[10]:35 With a break of 119, Thorburn moved within a frame of victory at 17–16. In the 34th frame, leading 45–9 in points, he laid a snooker for Higgins, and made a 51 break after than to win the title.[10]:35 The BBC's television coverage of the final had been interrupted by the broadcast of live footage of the Iranian Embassy Siege.[17] The conclusion of the final was watched by 14.5 million television viewers.[9]:66 Thorburn is generally regarded as the first player from outside Britain to win the world championship, with Horace Lindrum's win in the match 1952 World Snooker Championship usually being disregarded.[3] After the match, Higgins said of Thorburn "he's a grinder",[18] and the nickname "The Grinder" was subsequently associated with Thorburn, seen as apt for his slow, determined style of play.[3] Thorburn has aspired to be known by the nickname "Champagne Cliff", but admitted later that it never caught on.[19]

Following his world championship victory, Thorburn bought a house in England with the intention of spending more time in Britain.[3] He won the Canadian Open for a third successive year in 1980, defeating Griffiths 17–10 in the final,[9]:65 and was part of the Canada Team that reached the final of the 1980 World Challenge Cup, where they lost 5–8 to Wales.[20] He led Higgins 5–1 in the semi-final of the 1981 Masters, but lost the match 5–6.[21] At the 1981 World Championship, as defending champion, he reached the semi-final where he lost 10–16 to Steve Davis.[22] Following a 4–10 loss to Jimmy White in the first round of the 1982 World Snooker Championship, Thorburn decided to move back to Canada.[3] Thorburn had been number two in the 1980/1981 world rankings, and reached number one in the 1981/1982 rankings. He won the 1983 Masters, recovering from 2–5 behind against Charlton to win 6–5 in the semi-final, and defeating Ray Reardon 9–7 in the final.[9]:73

1983 world championship maximum break

In 1983, he became the first player to make a maximum break at the World Championship,[23] and only the second player (after Davis at the 1982 Classic), to make an official maximum.[24] He compiled the break in the fourth frame of his second round match against Griffiths.[3] The break started with Thorburn fluking a red. While he was completing the break, play stopped on the tournament's second table because his friend and fellow Canadian Bill Werbeniuk wanted to watch.[23] The match against Griffiths ended at 3:51 am, with Thorburn emerging as the winner,13–12. He then defeated Kirk Stevens 13–12 in the quarter-final (from 10–12 behind), and Tony Knowles 16–15 in the semi-final (from 13–15 behind).[25] During the semi-final, which finished at 12:45 am,[2] Thorburn had learnt that his wife Barbara had suffered a miscarriage on the day that he made his maximum break.[26] In the final, he played Steve Davis. From 2–2 after the first four frames, Davis won four in a row to leave Thorburn 2–6 behind, extending this to 2–9 at the start of the second session, and 5–12 at the end of the first day. Davis wrapped up victory on the second day, at 18–6, with this being the first final at the Crucible to be completed in only three sessions.[10]:39 Snooker historian Clive Everton commented of Thorburn's performance in the final that the long matches he had played in reaching the final "left him so drained .. that he was able to offer only token resistance."[9]:75

1984 to 1989

He enjoyed a resurgence in form during the 1984–85 season.[27]:22 He reached the final of the Grand Prix, where he lost to Dennis Taylor 2–10. In the semi-final, Thorburn had defeated the reigning world champion Steve Davis 9–7.[28] He also reached the final of the Classic in January 1985, where he met Thorne, with Thorne winning five frames in a row after the pair had been tied at 8–8. to win 13–8.[29] Thorburn was again runner-up in the 1986 Classic, this time losing to Jimmy White in the final 12–13. Thorburn fluked a pot on the green ball in the deciding frame, to leave White requiring penalty points from Thorburn in order to win. White potted the brown and blue, then laid a snooker on the pink. Thorburn failed to hit the pink, which gave White the penalty points he needed, and White then potted the pink and black to win the title.[30]

He won further Masters titles by defeating Mountjoy 9–6 in 1985, and White 9–5 in 1986.[8] He became the first player ever to retain the Masters title, and the first to win it three times.[27]:29

Thorburn experienced success in the Scottish Masters, an invitational event which opened the snooker season, in 1985 and 1986. He defeated Willie Thorne 9–7 in the 1985 final, and Alex Higgins 9–8 the following year.[8] He won the opening ranking event in the 1985–86 snooker calendar, the Matchroom Trophy, where he beat Jimmy White in the final 12–10, having trailed 0–7.[31] He was then runner-up in the corresponding event the following two seasons, 9–12 to Neal Foulds in 1986, and 5–12 to Davis in 1987.[8]

In 1988 Thorburn was fined £10,000 and two ranking points, and banned for two ranking tournaments, by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. The Association's disciplinary committee had decided that Thorburn had brought the sport into disrepute, as a drug test that he took at the 1988 British Open showed that he had "minute traces of cocaine in his urine sample."[32][33]

He compiled another maximum break in the 1989 Matchroom League, during a match against White.[34]

Later years

Thorburn in 2007

Thorburn last qualified for the World Championship in 1994,[8] where he faced Nigel Bond in the first round. Thorburn led by 9–2 but eventually lost 9–10.[35] He retired from the professional tournament circuit after the 1995–96 snooker season.[3] In 2001, he won the pro-am Canadian Amateur Championship; he had previously won the tournament in 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1977.[36]

During the 2006 World Championship, Thorburn flew to Sheffield to unveil a life-size painting of the first televised maximum break that he made at the tournament in 1983. Painted by the artist Michael Myers, the work is on display at the Macdonald St. Paul's Hotel in Sheffield.[37] In 2010, Thorburn returned to the UK to compete on the Snooker Legends Tour where he faced Alex Higgins, Jimmy White and John Parrott.

At the age of 70, Thorburn won the 2018 Seniors Masters at the Crucible Theatre, defeating Jonathan Bagley 2–0 in the final.[38][39]

Personal life

Thorburn is the father of two children, Jamie and Andrew.[40] His manager Darryl McKerrow was killed in a hunting accident during the 1984–85 season, and Thorburn was subsequently managed by Robert Windsor, until joining Barry Hearn's Matchroom Sport in January 1988.[2]

In 1984, Thorburn was made a Member of the Order of Canada.[1] In 2001, he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.[41]

His instruction book, Cliff Thorburn's Snooker Skills, was published in 1987 by Hamlyn, and his autobiography, Playing for Keeps, written with Everton, was published by Partridge Press in the same year.[42][43]

Performance and rankings timeline


Tournament 1972/
Ranking[44] No ranking system 13 6 5 5 2 1 3 3 3 2 2 4 6 7 18 36 36 41 54 41
Ranking tournaments
Thailand Classic[nb 1][8] Tournament Not Held NR A 1R 1R 1R LQ LQ LQ
Grand Prix[nb 2][8] Tournament Not Held 3R QF F SF 1R 2R A 2R 1R 1R LQ LQ 1R LQ
UK Championship[8] Non-Ranking Event SF 3R QF QF QF 2R WD 1R LQ LQ LQ LQ
German Open[8] Tournament Not Held LQ
Welsh Open[8] Tournament Not Held 1R LQ LQ LQ LQ
International Open[nb 3][8] Tournament Not Held NR 2R F 1R W F F A 1R Not Held LQ 2R 1R LQ
European Open[8] Tournament Not Held QF 1R SF 2R 1R LQ LQ LQ
Thailand Open[nb 4][8] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event Not Held 1R 1R LQ LQ 1R SF WD
British Open[nb 5][8] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 3R 3R SF SF 3R 1R 1R 1R LQ 1R LQ LQ
World Championship[8] 2R 1R QF 1R F QF 1R W SF 1R F QF QF SF 1R SF 1R QF LQ LQ LQ 1R LQ LQ
Non-ranking tournaments
Australian Masters[nb 6] Tournament Not Held A A A RR[45] W[11]:201 1R[11]:201 A A QF NH R Tournament Not Held A A
Scottish Masters[8] Tournament Not Held F A SF QF W W SF NH QF A A A A A A
The Masters[8] Not Held 1R 1R A F QF QF SF QF W 1R W W SF QF QF 1R A LQ A A A A
Irish Masters[nb 7][8] Not Held A A A A A RR SF QF A QF QF SF QF QF 1R 1R A A A A A A
European League[nb 8] Tournament Not Held A Not Held RR RR RR RR A A A A A A
Pontins Professional[8] NH SF SF A SF RR A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A
Former ranking tournaments
Canadian Masters[nb 9][8] Not Held Non-Ranking Event Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking QF Tournament Not Held
Hong Kong Open[nb 10][8] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event NH LQ Tournament Not Held NR
Classic[8] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 1R F F 2R 2R SF 2R 1R 2R Tournament Not Held
Strachan Open[8] Tournament Not Held QF MR NR Not Held
Former non-ranking tournaments
Norwich Union Open[8] NH QF SF Tournament Not Held
World Matchplay Championship[8] Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
Holsten Lager International Tournament Not Held QF[46]:97 Tournament Not Held
Limosin International[8] Tournament Not Held SF Tournament Not Held
Bombay International[8] Tournament Not Held RR F Tournament Not Held
Pontins Camber Sands[8] Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
Champion of Champions[8] Tournament Not Held A NH RR Tournament Not Held
International Open[nb 11][8] Tournament Not Held 2R Ranking Event Not Held Ranking Event
Northern Ireland Classic[8] Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
UK Championship[8] Tournament Not Held A A A A 2R A A Ranking Event
British Open[nb 12] Tournament Not Held A RR[47]:30 2R[8] A A Ranking Event
Classic Tournament Not Held A QF[a][48] QF[8] QF[8] Ranking Event Tournament Not Held
Tolly Cobbold Classic[8] Tournament Not Held A A F A A SF Tournament Not Held
New Zealand Masters Tournament Not Held QF Not Held A A Tournament Not Held
Carlsberg Challenge[8] Tournament Not Held A SF A A A Tournament Not Held
KitKat Break for World Champions[8] Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
Pot Black A RR A A SF RR A A W[49] SF A A SF SF Tournament Not Held A A A NH
Hong Kong Masters[8] Tournament Not Held A A A QF QF A NH A A Tournament Not Held
Canadian Masters[nb 13][8] Not Held W QF QF QF W W W Tournament Not Held SF QF SF R Tournament Not Held
Canadian Professional Championship Tournament Not Held W Not Held SF W[10]:106 W[10]:106 W[10]:106 W[10]:106 SF[8] Tournament Not Held
Dubai Masters[nb 14][8] Tournament Not Held QF Ranking Event
Matchroom Professional Championship[8] Tournament Not Held A A QF Ranking Event
Norwich Union Grand Prix[8] Tournament Not Held RR A A Tournament Not Held
World Matchplay[8] Tournament Not Held 1R 1R A A A Not Held
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 3R Tournament Not Held
European Grand Masters Tournament Not Held QF[50] Tournament Not Held
World Masters[8] Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
European Challenge Tournament Not Held QF[51] A A Not Held
World Seniors Championship Tournament Not Held 1R[52] Tournament Not Held
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
  1. ^ The event was also called the Dubai Masters (1988/1989) and Dubai Classic (1989/1990–1994/1995)
  2. ^ The event was also called the Professional Players Tournament (1982/1983–1983/1984)
  3. ^ The event was also called the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  4. ^ The event was also called the Thailand Masters (1983/1984–1986/1987 & 1991/1992) and the Asian Open (1989/1990–1992/1993)
  5. ^ The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  6. ^ The event was also called the Hong Kong Open (1989/1990) and Australian Open (1994/1995)
  7. ^ The event was also called the Benson & Hedges Ireland Tournament (1974/1975–1976/1977)
  8. ^ The event was also called the Matchroom League (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  9. ^ The event was also called the Canadian Open (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  10. ^ The event was also called the Australian Masters (1979/1980–1987/1988 & 1995/1996) and Australian Open (1994/1995)
  11. ^ The event was also called the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  12. ^ The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  13. ^ The event was also called the Canadian Open (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  14. ^ The event was also called the Dubai Classic (1989/1990–1994/1995) and Thailand Classic (1995/1996)

Career finals

Ranking finals: 10 (2 titles, 8 runners-up)


World Championship (1–2)
Other (1–6)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1977 World Snooker Championship England John Spencer 21–25
Winner 1. 1980 World Snooker Championship Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 18–16
Runner-up 2. 1983 World Snooker Championship (2) England Steve Davis 6–18
Runner-up 3. 1983 International Open England Steve Davis 4–9
Runner-up 4. 1984 Grand Prix Northern Ireland Dennis Taylor 2–10
Runner-up 5. 1985 The Classic England Willie Thorne 8–13
Winner 2. 1985 Matchroom Trophy England Jimmy White 12–10
Runner-up 6. 1986 The Classic (2) England Jimmy White 12–13
Runner-up 7. 1986 International Open (2) England Neal Foulds 9–12
Runner-up 8. 1987 International Open (3) England Steve Davis 5–12

Non-ranking finals: 23 (18 titles, 5 runners-up)

double-dagger denotes Hayton & Dee (2004) [8]

The Masters (3–1)
Other (15–4)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref.
Winner 1. 1974 Canadian Open Northern Ireland Dennis Taylor 8–6 double-dagger
Winner 2. 1974 Canadian Professional Championship[discuss] Canada Julien St Dennis 13–11
Runner-up 1. 1978 The Masters Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 5–7 double-dagger
Winner 3. 1978 Canadian Open (2) England Tony Meo 17–15 double-dagger
Winner 4. 1979 Canadian Open (3) Wales Terry Griffiths 17–16 double-dagger
Runner-up 2. 1980 Bombay International England John Virgo 7–13 double-dagger
Winner 5. 1980 Canadian Professional Championship (2) Canada Jim Wych 9–6 [53]
Winner 6. 1980 Canadian Open (4) Wales Terry Griffiths 17–10 double-dagger
Winner 7. 1981 Pot Black Canada Jim Wych 2–0 [49]
Runner-up 3. 1981 Tolly Cobbold Classic England Graham Miles 1–5 double-dagger
Runner-up 4. 1981 Scottish Masters England Jimmy White 4–9 double-dagger
Winner 8. 1983 The Masters Wales Ray Reardon 9–7 double-dagger
Winner 9. 1983 Australian Masters Canada Bill Werbeniuk 7–3 double-dagger
Winner 10. 1984 Canadian Professional Championship (3) Canada Mario Morra 9–2 [10]:106
Winner 11. 1985 The Masters (2) Wales Doug Mountjoy 9–6 double-dagger
Winner 12. 1985 Canadian Professional Championship (4) Canada Bob Chaperon 6–4 [10]:106
Winner 13. 1985 Scottish Masters England Willie Thorne 9–7 double-dagger
Winner 14. 1986 The Masters (3) England Jimmy White 9–5 double-dagger
Winner 15. 1986 Canadian Professional Championship (5) Canada Jim Wych 6–2 [10]:106
Winner 16. 1986 Scottish Masters (2) Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 9–8 double-dagger
Winner 17. 1987 Canadian Professional Championship (6) Canada Jim Bear 8–4 [10]:106
Runner-up 5. 2000 World Seniors Masters England Willie Thorne 0–1[b] [54]
Winner 18. 2018 The Seniors Masters England Johnathan Bagley 2–1 [39]

Team finals: 8 (2 titles, 6 runners-up)

Outcome No. Year Championship Team/partner Opponent(s) in the final Score Ref.
Runner-up 1. 1980 World Challenge Cup  Canada  Wales 5–8 [20]
Runner-up 2. 1981 World Mixed Doubles Championship  Natalie Stelmach (CAN)  John Virgo (ENG) &  Vera Selby (ENG) 239–263[c] [55]
Winner 1. 1982 World Team Classic  Canada  England 4–2 [20]
Runner-up 3. 1984 World Doubles Championship (2)  Willie Thorne (ENG)  Alex Higgins (NIR) &  Jimmy White (ENG) 2–10 [11]:226
Runner-up 4. 1986 World Cup (2)  Canada Ireland 7–9 [11]:243
Runner-up 5. 1987 World Cup (3)  Canada Ireland 2–9 [11]:243
Runner-up 6. 1987 World Doubles Championship (2)  Dennis Taylor (NIR)  Stephen Hendry (SCO) &  Mike Hallett (ENG) 8–12 [56]
Winner 2. 1990 World Cup (2)  Canada  Northern Ireland 9–5 [57]

Amateur finals: 11 (7 titles, 4 runners-up)

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref.
Winner 1. 1971 North American Championship  Ken Shea (CAN) 36–15 [6]
Winner 2. 1972 Canadian Amateur Championship [58]
Runner-up 1. 1973 North American Championship  Bill Werbeniuk (CAN) 22–26 [59]
Winner 3. 1974 Canadian Amateur Championship (2)  Julien St Dennis (CAN) 11–9 [60][61]
Winner 4. 1975 Canadian Amateur Championship (3)  Bill Werbeniuk (CAN) 11–1 [62]
Runner-up 2. 1975 North American Championship (2)  Bill Werbeniuk (CAN) 9–11 [63]
Winner 5. 1976 Canadian Amateur Championship (4)  Bill Werbeniuk (CAN) 9–2 [63]
Winner 6. 1977 Canadian Amateur Championship (5)  Robert Paquette (CAN) 10–6 [64]
Winner 7. 2001 Canadian Amateur Championship (6)  Tom Finstad (CAN) 4–3 [61]
Runner-up 3. 2002 Canadian Amateur Championship  Kirk Stevens (CAN) 1–6 [61]
Runner-up 4. 2003 Canadian Amateur Championship (2)  Alain Robidoux (CAN) 2–6 [61]


  1. ^ The quarter-finals were the first round
  2. ^ 8–84 points
  3. ^ aggregate points across four frames


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  2. ^ a b c d e Morrison, Ian (1988). Hamlyn Who's Who in Snooker. London: Hamlyn. pp. 107–110. ISBN 0600557138.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Williams, Luke; Gadsby, Paul (2005). Masters of the Baize. Edinburgh: Mainstream. pp. 103–111. ISBN 1840188723.
  4. ^ "Thorburn sets scoring record in midget ranks". Times Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia. 24 June 1958. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Pool shark runs 147". The Ottawa Journal. Ottawa. 17 July 1970. p. 18.
  6. ^ a b "Cliff Thorburn wins snooker championship". The Ottawa Journal. Ottawa. 7 December 1971. p. 28.
  7. ^ Everton, Clive (2012). Black farce and cue ball wizards. Edinburgh: Maintream. ISBN 9781780575681.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax Hayton, Eric; Dee, John (2004). The CueSport Book of Professional Snooker: The Complete Record & History. Rose Villa Publications. ISBN 978-0954854904.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Everton, Clive (1985). Guinness Snooker – The Records. Guinness Superlatives Ltd. ISBN 0851124488.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Morrison, Ian (1989). Snooker: records, facts and champions. Guinness Superlatives Ltd. ISBN 0851123643.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Hale, Janice (1987). Rothmans Snooker Yearbook 1987–88. Aylesbury: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0356146901.
  12. ^ Everton, Clive (1 May 1980). "Reardon goes out". The Guardian. London. p. 20.
  13. ^ Everton, Clive (3 May 1980). "Thorburn is so thorough". The Guardian. London. p. 22.
  14. ^ Hale, Janice (4 May 1980). "Professor Higgins's lesson". The Observer. London. p. 31.
  15. ^ Friskin, Sydney (6 May 1980). "Thorburn recovers useful ground in the 'cold war'". The Times. London. p. 12.
  16. ^ Everton, Clive (6 May 1980). "Thorburn pots the title". The Guardian. London. p. 22.
  17. ^ "1980: Thorburn outguns Higgins". BBC. 12 April 2002. Archived from the original on 3 April 2003. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  18. ^ Everton, Clive (7 May 1980). "Thoroughly thriving Thorburn". The Guardian. London. p. 25.
  19. ^ Sanderson, Pater (4 May 2001). "Cliff hangs on past memories". BBC. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  20. ^ a b c Morrison, Ian (1987). The Hamlyn Encyclopedia of Snooker. Twickenham: Hamlyn Publishing Group. pp. 137–140. ISBN 978-0-60055604-6.
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External links

First Maximum break-scorer
in World Championship

23 April 1983
Succeeded by
Jimmy White
Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Cliff Thorburn