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Thursday, 16 April, 1998, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Tributes to cue king Fred Davis
Fred Davis
Potting talent: Fred Davis climbed to the top in both snooker and billiards
One of snooker's most popular players, Fred Davis, has died at his home in Denbigh, North Wales. He was aged 84.

Although he often lived in the shadow of his elder brother Joe, Davis won the world snooker title eight times between 1948 and 1956, and was also a world champion at billiards twice.

His greatest rival John Pulman, who held the world snooker title between 1964 and 1968 when it was contested on a challenge basis, described Davis as the toughest competitor he had to face.

"Joe was the greatest player in terms of ability, but I always said Fred was the greatest match-player," said the former television snooker commentator.

"Fred was so tenacious and had a wonderful temperament. He was likely to be at his best when the pressure was on, which of course is a very important attribute in snooker."

Record-breaker

Davis was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, in 1913. He spent 60 years as a professional player and entered the record books as the oldest person to win a world championship in any sport when he became the 1980 world billiards champion aged 66.

He was one of only two men who climbed to the very top of both snooker and billiards. The other was his brother Joe.

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association presented Fred - one of its founding members - with a special award in 1988. He was also awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1977 for his services to the game.

Fondly remembered

Davis was renowned for his cheerful personality around the snooker table and had been described as "always smiling while kicking his opponent in the teeth."

Snooker champions Steve Davis and Ken Doherty praised his contribution to the game.

Steve Davis - no relation - said: "It was a privilege to have played Fred, ironically in my first ever televised game on Pot Black. Fred always smiled when he was concentrating, which is something I envied him for."

Current world champion Doherty, who starts the defence of his title at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre on Saturday, said: "Fred contributed an awful lot to snooker.

"He was a great character and a great champion. He and his brother Joe gave great service to the game."

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