Crucible curse phrase used in professional snooker

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The "Crucible curse" (also known as "The curse of the Crucible" or sometimes the "Crucible jinx") is a phrase used in professional snooker. It refers to the fact that every first-time snooker world champion has failed to retain the title the following year. The curse dates back to 1977, when the tournament moved to its current home, the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.[1][2][3][4]

Several world champions did successfully defend their first title prior to the championship's move to the Crucible Theatre; the last player to do so was John Pulman in 1964.[5] Since 1977, eighteen world champions have experienced the curse, the most recent being the 2019 World Champion Judd Trump who was beaten in the quarter-finals of the 2020 event.

The curse

The first-time world champions listed below all experienced the "Crucible curse", as they did not successfully defend their title at the following year's World Championship. In the years that are not listed, the "curse" was not applicable because the previous year's championship was won by a player who had held the world title previously.

Year[5][6] Defending champion[5][6] Progress Result Opponent Ref
1980 Wales Terry Griffiths Second round[a] 10–13 England Steve Davis [7]
1981 Canada Cliff Thorburn Semi-finals 10–16 England Steve Davis [8]
1982 England Steve Davis First round 1–10 England Tony Knowles [9]
1986 Northern Ireland Dennis Taylor First round 6–10 England Mike Hallett [10]
1987 England Joe Johnson Final 14–18 England Steve Davis [11]
1991 Scotland Stephen Hendry Quarter-finals 11–13 England Steve James [12]
1992 England John Parrott Quarter-finals 12–13 Scotland Alan McManus [13]
1998 Republic of Ireland Ken Doherty Final 12–18 Scotland John Higgins [14]
1999 Scotland John Higgins Semi-finals 10–17 Wales Mark Williams [15]
2001 Wales Mark Williams Second round 12–13 Northern Ireland Joe Swail [16]
2002 England Ronnie O'Sullivan Semi-finals 13–17 Scotland Stephen Hendry [17]
2003 England Peter Ebdon Quarter-finals 12–13 England Paul Hunter [18]
2006 England Shaun Murphy Quarter-finals 7–13 England Peter Ebdon [19]
2007 Scotland Graeme Dott First round 7–10 England Ian McCulloch [20]
2011 Australia Neil Robertson First round 8–10 England Judd Trump [21]
2015 England Mark Selby Second round 9–13 Scotland Anthony McGill [22]
2016 England Stuart Bingham First round 9–10 England Ali Carter [23]
2020 England Judd Trump Quarter-finals 9–13 England Kyren Wilson [24]

Of the eighteen players to have won their first world title at the Crucible Theatre, six lost in their first match as defending champion: Terry Griffiths in 1980, Steve Davis in 1982, Dennis Taylor in 1986, Graeme Dott in 2007, Neil Robertson in 2011, and Stuart Bingham in 2016. Most recently, Judd Trump fell to the curse at the quarter-final stage. Only two of the eighteen were able to reach the final as defending champions: Joe Johnson in 1987 and Ken Doherty in 1998.

Four players have won consecutive world titles at the Crucible (having already won the championship previously): Steve Davis (1983–1984 and 1987–1989), Stephen Hendry (1992–1996), Ronnie O'Sullivan (2012–2013), and Mark Selby (2016–2017). All of these players had already experienced the "Crucible curse" after winning their first world title.[5][25]

Pre-Crucible

Of all first-time world snooker champions, only three have retained their title at the next World Championship: Joe Davis in 1928, his brother Fred Davis in 1949, and John Pulman at his first challenge match in 1964. No player in the modern game (post-1969) has successfully defended a first world title, even before the tournament was staged at the Crucible Theatre.

John Spencer, Ray Reardon and Alex Higgins won the World Championship for the first time before the event was moved to the Crucible in 1977, and failed to retain the title the following year (although this could not be attributed to the "Crucible curse"). All three players subsequently won the championship at the Crucible for the first time, but then fell to the "curse" when they failed to successfully defend the title the following year.

Year[5][6] Defending champion[5][6] Progress Result Opponent Ref
Defending first world title:
1970 England John Spencer Semi-finals 33–37 Wales Ray Reardon [26]
1971 Wales Ray Reardon Semi-finals 15–34 England John Spencer [27]
1973 Northern Ireland Alex Higgins Semi-finals 9–23 Australia Eddie Charlton [28]
Defending first world title at Crucible Theatre:
1978 England John Spencer Last 16 8–13 South Africa Perrie Mans [29]
1979 Wales Ray Reardon Quarter-finals 8–13 Northern Ireland Dennis Taylor [30]
1983 Northern Ireland Alex Higgins Semi-finals 5–16 England Steve Davis [31]

Notes

  1. ^ Griffiths, along with the other top 8 seeds, received a bye in the first round, thus the second round was his first match.

References

  1. ^ Dee, John (14 April 2006). "Murphy aiming to exorcise the Crucible curse". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 21 April 2007.
  2. ^ Dee, John (28 April 2006). "Cruise for Ebdon as Crucible curse strikes champ". The Nation. Archived from the original on 14 July 2007. Retrieved 21 April 2007.
  3. ^ "Crucible Curse Strikes Ebdon". Sporting Life. 30 April 2003. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2007.
  4. ^ Jackson, Jamie (15 April 2011). "Australia's Neil Robertson aiming to break the curse of the Crucible". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Turner, Chris. "World Professional Championship". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d "Hall of Fame". Snooker.org. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  7. ^ "1980 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  8. ^ "1981 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  9. ^ "1982 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  10. ^ "1986 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  11. ^ "1987 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  12. ^ "1991 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  13. ^ "1992 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  14. ^ "1998 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  15. ^ "1999 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  16. ^ "2001 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  17. ^ "2002 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  18. ^ "2003 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  19. ^ "2006 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  20. ^ "2007 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  21. ^ "Betfred.com World Championship (2011) – Round 1". Snooker.org. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  22. ^ "Betfred World Championship (2015) – Round 2". Snooker.org. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Betfred World Championship (2016) – Round 1"". Snooker.org. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  24. ^ "Betfred World Championship (2020) – Quarter Final"". Snooker.org. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  25. ^ Dirs, Ben (6 May 2013). "Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Barry Hawkins to win fifth World title". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  26. ^ "1970 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  27. ^ "1971 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  28. ^ "1973 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  29. ^ "1978 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  30. ^ "1979 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  31. ^ "1983 World Championships Results". Snooker Database. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Crucible curse