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banner Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Davis: An 'interesting' legend
Steve Davis
Davis intends to continue despite a poor season
Steve Davis will not be playing at the World Championship for the first time in 22 years and BBC Sport Online's Saj Chowdhury looks back at the man who once dominated snooker.

To see Steve Davis not at the Crucible is like seeing Lawrence Dallaglio in tights.

In other words, it just does not seem right, but that is what has happened to the six-time world champion.

Steve Davis' failure to qualify for the 2001 Embassy World Championship has cast doubts over his future in the game.

Romford's finest bowed out to Andy Hicks 10-6 in the final qualifying round for April's Crucible showpiece - a sad exit for such a legend.

Terry Griffiths
Griffiths believes that Davis has reached the end of the road

Another former world champion Terry Griffiths called for Davis to quit from the game, saying that his current form has been nothing short of "embarrassing".

But as with all sportsmen, having tasted glory for so long, it must be difficult to let go.

Davis replied in typically stubborn fashion: "I could retire, but I'm bloody well not going to."

Of course it's that attitude and self-belief which has made him one of the greats of the game.

Along with Margaret Thatcher, Brat Pack films and Stock Aitken and Waterman, he became a symbol of the 1980s.

Davis made frequent appearances on television (who can forget the Heinz Baked Beans commercials..erm..) and was labelled as "interesting", in that ironic sense.

Davis began playing snooker at the age of 12, and despite not having a spectacular record as an amateur, he won the National Under-19 Billiards Championship in 1976.

Agent Barry Hearn soon signed up the talent to the Matchroom stable in 1978 and after winning the Pontins Open, "the Nugget" turned to the professional snooker scene and never looked back.

Barry Hearn
Hearn discovered Davis
Davis qualified for the Embassy World Championship at his first attempt in 1979 and then reached the quarter-finals of the UK and World events the following year.

The talent was there for all to see, but in 1981 Davis entered the World Championship as favourite having already claimed four titles that season.

The snooker world finally sat up and took notice.

He met the old master Doug Mountjoy in the final and after a good tussle, Davis eventually came through winning 18-12.

The champion was thrashed 10-1 by Tony Knowles the following year in Sheffield, but that was a minor hiccup.

Total domination followed.

There were further world titles, but the one that will always be remembered is, of course, the 1985 final against Irishman Dennis Taylor.

The event holds one of the highest television viewing figures for a sporting event in Britain, and those who stayed up past midnight, realised they were watching some of the best drama ever witnessed on the small screen.

Dennis Taylor
Taylor prevented Davis from winning three on the trot
Davis was 8-0 ahead until the bespectacled Ulsterman began his fightback, and while Davis had the upper-hand during most of the match, Taylor held on to take the scores to 17-17.

The last-frame decider went down to the epic "black ball" contest which was eventually won by Taylor.

Davis was also beaten to the crown the following year by little known player Joe Johnson, but exacted revenge on the player in the 1987 final.

After winning in 1988 at the expense of Griffiths and then in 1989 beating John Parrott, Davis' winning run at the Crucible came to an end - as a young Scot, by the name of Stephen Hendry took over the mantle.

Davis continued to win titles, but they came few and far between, as a new breed of stars, led by Hendry took the game to a higher level.

Whatever Davis decides, the statistics which read six world crowns, 77 titles in total and career earnings in excess of 5m cannot be tarnished.

Snooker afficionados will be hoping that Davis hangs up his boots (cue) before he further "embarrasses" himself, but tell Lawrence Dallaglio to wear a pair of tights.

Exactly.

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