2012-11-07 13:32:22 - The inaugural 'Legends Cup' in 2012 has set a precedent as a nostalgic season highlight for snooker connoisseurs. Although the snooker legends circuit is still a relatively new concept, having only been established the past few seasons, the events have already earned an esteemed reputation. 'Snooker Legends' was conceived by director Jason Francis and features legends and ambassadors of the game including Jimmy White, Cliff Thorburn, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Tony Knowles and Dennis Taylor. Our compere and rhetorical host is John Virgo, who integrates some delightful trick shots and repartee, with a degree of expert commentary. The legends official event referee is Michaela Tabb: a dedicated and remarkably industrious lady ambassador, who completes the distinguished family of sporting personalities and friends. The one family member no longer present in person is of course Alex Higgins, whose spirit and profound influence on the game is still foremost in the minds of his colleagues and fans, especially at the annual legends evening at the Crucible, Sheffield.
Snooker Legends- A Renaissance of Organic Talent and Spontaneity.
The reunion of the snooker legends as a collective is a real treat for all those who have watched the evolution of snooker unfold. The culmulative titles and accolades accrued by the participants of the snooker legends circuit make for some quite startling facts and figures. For example Jimmy White MBE, is former Masters Champion, World Seniors champion 2010 and has shared the World Doubles crown with Alex Higgins. Ronnie O'Sullivan, also the world's most popular snooker player, has won 4 World titles and 4 Masters titles; Stephen Hendry MBE has been crowned World Champion no less than 7 times and Cliff Thorburn CM was the first overseas winner of the World
Championship title in 1980. These facts make for axiomatically impressive reading. It is though the humility, humour and human qualities of all these players that endear the public to attend the legends events each season. In an era dominated by computers, telecommunications and technology, it is a delight to see families representing many generations sharing a memorable night out in a truly organic social environment, where talent and spontaneity are highly valued.
During my teenage years, I was certainly enamoured with the game of snooker. Each summer season, there was an unfortunate co-incidence between the media coverage of the World Snooker Championship in May and the beginning of the academic exam period. Over time, academic achievements provide a firm foundation, although I would consider that my interest in snooker has maturated equally well. I could not have envisaged that quite a few years on, I would be watching the founding fathers of modern snooker still diligently alert and duelling on snooker baize throughout the United Kingdom, from the Sheffield Crucible, to Hertfordshire. I have enjoyed some wonderful annual entertainment at legends matches in Broxbourne Herts. and this year in Radlett, I attended the Jimmy White 'v' Stephen Hendry night. There are already some projective matches organised for 2013 in the snooker legends diary, including the 'Legends Cup' next May, coupled with some wonderful memorabilia box set DVDs that may well provide some welcome stocking fillers this Xmas. Undoubtedly, the definite highlight of 2012 was the remarkable Grosvenor House testimonial for Jimmy White in June. Jason Francis and Barry Hearn excelled themselves by taking their part in initiating a seminal testimonial for the whirlwind to celebrate Jimmy's esteemed thirty years in snooker. The afternoon entertainment featured a challenge match between Jimmy and Ronnie O'Sullivan and the evening culminated in music from Ronnie Wood and friends. A marvellous accolade; I wish I had been there!
May the legends tour go from strength to strength... I hope too that there will be a few more nostalgic fixtures in London town for those dedicated to the game in the capital in future, together with more live streams of matches to capture the magic of the moment first hand. This would be a heart warming method of returning debonair characters from the heyday of snooker such as Kirk Stevens, back into their rightful place in the living rooms of snooker lovers.
To stay in touch with the Snooker Legends circuit, see the legends homepage:
For some photographic exemplars of my experiences at legends matches & social events, see my photo gallery: (Photo credits- Derry and Linda Thorburn.)
More by author Stephanie Lynne Thorburn-
See American Chronicle author's page: www.americanchronicle.com/authors/view/2968
For a selection of succinct titles see True Fire, Stephanie Thorburn: