Most of our younger readers wouldn’t remember the night Dennis Taylor won the World Championships in 1985, which saw more than 18 million people stay up after midnight to watch the Northern Ireland man pot the final black against Steve Davis. That night was probably the most exciting night snooker has ever seen in it’s long history.
For those who watch snooker through the BBC, Dennis Taylor is also household name as he regularly commentates on the three big tournaments of the year (World Championships, UK Championships and Masters).
Recognised mostly by his ridiculous looking glasses whilst a professional player, Dennis Taylor has been entertaining the snooker crowds for more than 5 decades both on and off the table.
Dennis Taylor was born in 1949 and comes from a town called
Coalisland which is located in Tyrone, Nothern Ireland. Taylor turned professional in 1972 and quickly climbed the ranking ladder to mix with the best of the best. The following year, Dennis Taylor made his World Championship Debut but lost out narrowly to Cliff Thorburn in the first round, a loss Taylor found tough to take.
Taylor bounced back and continued to make headway and went on to establish himself as a top snooker player after reaching the semi-final of the World Championship in 1975, 1979 and then again in 1984.
Taylor won his first ranking title at the Rothmans Grand Prix, thrashing Cliff Thorburn 10-2 in the final.
1985 Final and Masters
The highlight of his career came when he won the World Championships in 1985, beating Steve Davis 18-17. The final was watched by more than 18 million people in the UK and was one of sport’s most iconic moments of the 80’s.
Not only was it a special moment for Taylor, but also for Steve Davis who missed the relatively easy black which is probably one of the most remembered moments of his career.
In 1987 Dennis Taylor won the Benson and Hedges Masters beating Alex Higgins 9-8 in the final. Taylor and Higgins went on in later years to have a bitter rivalry which shook Taylor somewhat.
Dennis Taylor/Alex Higgins controversy
At the snooker World Cup in 1990 Dennis Taylor and Alex Higgins had a massive row. During that row, Alex Higgins threatened to have Dennis Taylor shot, a threat Taylor took very seriously because of their sectarian divide and the troubles in Northern Ireland at that time.
After some time the two managed to put differences aside.
In 2000 Dennis Taylor decided to hang up his cue for good after dropping low in the ranking’s. Taylor decided to concentrate on commentating on snooker, something which he dipped in and out of throughout the 90’s.
To this day, Dennis Taylor remains one of the most recognisable voices in snooker with his cheery and up-beat tone which makes lots of snooker fans happy. Not only that, but Taylor has a deep understanding of snooker, making him one of the best snooker commentators today.