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The UK Championship is a professional snooker tournament, the second biggest tournament after the World Championship.

HistoryEdit

The UK Championship was first held in 1977 as the United Kingdom Snooker Championship, an event open only to British residents. Patsy Fagan won, beating Doug Mountjoy by 12 frames to 9, to win £2000.

The rules were changed in 1984 to allow all professionals to enter (although until 2005, only players from Britain and Ireland had ever won the event), and it was granted ranking status. It carried one and a half times as many ranking points as all other tournaments, with the exception of the World Championship until the 2009/2010 season.

The tournament has seen many memorable finals. In 1977 and 1979 it provided Patsy Fagan and John Virgo, respectively, with their first and only major tournament wins. In 1980, it was Steve Davis's first of his 73 professional tournament wins. In 1981, the Davis-Terry Griffiths final set the stage for four more final battles between Davis and Griffiths that were to dominate the rest of the season before their unexpected losses in the first round of the 1982 World Championship.

In 1983, Alex Higgins beat Davis 16-15 after having trailed 7-0 at the end of the first session, a loss for Davis that was to prefigure and perhaps contribute to his even more memorable loss of the 1985 World Snooker Championship final to Dennis Taylor. In 1985, Willie Thorne, then on the brink of emerging as a major force to be reckoned with in the game, led Davis 13-10 at the start of the evening session, only to miss a simple blue off its spot and lose 16-14. The victory regenerated Davis's confidence after his devastating World Championship loss; Thorne, on the other hand, never won another ranking title.

In 1988, Doug Mountjoy, widely viewed as just making up the numbers against the rising Stephen Hendry, produced a stunning display of character and ability to win 16-12 and become the second-oldest ever winner of a ranking event; even more astonishingly, he was to win the Mercantile Credit Classic the following month to become one of only four players ever to win two ranking tournaments in a row.

Stephen Hendry's 1989 win prefigured his decade of dominance similar to the one prefigured by Davis's win in 1980; its significance was emphasised by the fact that the losing finalist was Davis himself. Hendry's 16-15 win the following year, over Davis again, spoke to his unique qualities of nerve. The Hendry/Ken Doherty final of 1994 is considered by many players as one of Hendry's best performance, as he won 10-5 making 7 century breaks along the way, six of which were in the span of eight frames played. Doherty has appeared in two more memorable finals.

The 2001 final is important as Doherty was on the receiving end of the worst loss in UK Championship final history (since it became a 19 frame final in 1993), as Ronnie O'Sullivan (who, in 1993, became the youngest ever winner of the event, and indeed any event, at just 17 years of age) eased to a 10-1 win. Astonishingly, just three years later Stephen Maguire repeated the feat against David Gray. 2002 was Doherty's last UK final to date, and was the best and most dramatic as he was edged 10-9 by Mark Williams.

The 2005 tournament saw Davis reach his first ranking tournament final for almost two years at the age of 48 (and make his highest break in tournament play for 23 years) before losing 10-6 to 18-year-old Ding Junhui in the final that featured the widest age gap between finalists in professional tournament history. The following year, Peter Ebdon won the title and, in doing so, became the first and only man to have both won and lost a World and a UK Championship final to Stephen Hendry.

The 2007 final was won by Ronnie O'Sullivan for the fourth time, again with some ease, winning 10-2 in the final against Stephen Maguire. The tournament was also notable for the longest televised frame in history between Marco Fu and Mark Selby at 77 minutes and Ronnie O'Sullivan's maximum 147 break in the deciding frame of the semi-final.

The 2009 final saw the reigning world champion John Higgins lose to the Chinese Ding Junhui, after Higgins missed the chance to go 8-6 up after missing the brown.

The tournament has had many different sponsors over the years including Super Crystalate, Coral, Tennents, StormSeal, Royal Liver Assurance, Liverpool Victoria, PowerHouse, Travis Perkins, Maplin Electronics and is currently sponsored by Pukka Pies. It is one of the tournaments televised by the BBC and it is held towards the end of each calendar year. Prize money in 2005 was £500,000 ($966,549) with the winner receiving £70,000 ($135,316).

WinnersEdit

Year Winner Runner-up Final score Venue Season
non-ranking
1977 Flag of Ireland Patsy Fagan Flag of Wales Doug Mountjoy 12 - 9 Blackpool 1977/78
1978 Flag of Wales Doug Mountjoy Flag of England David Taylor 15 - 9 Preston 1978/79
1979 Flag of England John Virgo Flag of Wales Terry Griffiths 14 - 13 Preston 1979/80
1980 Flag of England Steve Davis Flag of Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 16 - 6 Preston 1980/81
1981 Flag of England Steve Davis Flag of Wales Terry Griffiths 16 - 3 Preston 1981/82
1982 Flag of Wales Terry Griffiths Flag of Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 16 - 15 Preston 1982/83
1983 Flag of Northern Ireland Alex Higgins Flag of England Steve Davis 16 - 15 Preston 1983/84
ranking
1984 Flag of England Steve Davis Flag of Northern Ireland Alex Higgins 16 - 8 Preston 1984/85
1985 Flag of England Steve Davis Flag of England Willie Thorne 16 - 14 Preston 1985/86
1986 Flag of England Steve Davis Flag of England Neal Foulds 16 - 7 Preston 1986/87
1987 Flag of England Steve Davis Flag of England Jimmy White 16 - 14 Preston 1987/88
1988 Flag of Wales Doug Mountjoy Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry 16 - 12 Preston 1988/89
1989 Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry Flag of England Steve Davis 16 - 12 Preston 1989/90
1990 Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry Flag of England Steve Davis 16 - 15 Preston 1990/91
1991 Flag of England John Parrott Flag of England Jimmy White 16 - 13 Preston 1991/92
1992 Flag of England Jimmy White Flag of England John Parrott 16 - 9 Preston 1992/93
1993 Flag of England Ronnie O'Sullivan Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry 10 - 6 Preston 1993/94
1994 Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry Flag of Ireland Ken Doherty 10 - 5 Preston 1994/95
1995 Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry Flag of England Peter Ebdon 10 - 3 Preston 1995/96
1996 Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry Flag of Scotland John Higgins 10 - 9 Preston 1996/97
1997 Flag of England Ronnie O'Sullivan Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry 10 - 6 Preston 1997/98
1998 Flag of Scotland John Higgins Flag of Wales Matthew Stevens 10 - 6 Bournemouth 1998/99
1999 Flag of Wales Mark Williams Flag of Wales Matthew Stevens 10 - 8 Bournemouth 1999/00
2000 Flag of Scotland John Higgins Flag of Wales Mark Williams 10 - 4 Bournemouth 2000/01
2001 Flag of England Ronnie O'Sullivan Flag of Ireland Ken Doherty 10 - 1 York 2001/02
2002 Flag of Wales Mark Williams Flag of Ireland Ken Doherty 10 - 9 York 2002/03
2003 Flag of Wales Matthew Stevens Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry 10 - 8 York 2003/04
2004 Flag of Scotland Stephen Maguire Flag of England David Gray 10 - 1 York 2004/05
2005 Flag of the People's Republic of China Ding Junhui Flag of England Steve Davis 10 - 6 York 2005/06
2006 Flag of England Peter Ebdon Flag of Scotland Stephen Hendry 10 - 6 York 2006/07
2007 Flag of England Ronnie O'Sullivan Flag of Scotland Stephen Maguire 10 - 2 Telford 2007/08
2008 Flag of England Shaun Murphy Flag of Hong Kong Marco Fu 10 - 9 Telford 2008/09
2009 Flag of the People's Republic of China Ding Junhui Flag of Scotland John Higgins 10 - 8 Telford 2009/10

ReferencesEdit

Template:UK Championship

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