Cliff Thorburn

Last updated
Cliff Thorburn
CM
Cliff-Thorburn-2010.jpg
Born (1948-01-16) January 16, 1948 (age 71)
Victoria, British Columbia
Sport countryFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Nickname
  • The Grinder
  • Champagne Cliff
Professional19721996
Highest ranking 1 (1981/82)
Career winnings£988,098
Highest break 147 : (2 times)
Century breaks 92
Tournament wins
Ranking 2
Non-ranking23
World Champion 1980

Clifford Charles Devlin "Cliff" Thorburn CM (born January 16, 1948) is a Canadian retired professional snooker player. Nicknamed "The Grinder" because of his slow, determined style of play, he won the World Snooker Championship in 1980, making him the first world champion in the sport's modern era from outside the United Kingdom. He remains the only world champion from the Americas. He was runner-up in two other World Championships, losing to John Spencer in the 1977 final (the first ever held at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre) and to Steve Davis in the 1983 final. During his second-round encounter with Terry Griffiths in 1983, Thorburn became the first player to compile a maximum break in a World Championship match.

Order of Canada order

The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit, which is the personal gift of Canada's monarch.

Canadians citizens of Canada

Canadians are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, several of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Canadian.

Snooker Cue sport

Snooker is a cue sport which originated among British Army officers stationed in India in the later half of the 19th century. It is played on a rectangular table covered with a green cloth, or baize, with pockets at each of the four corners and in the middle of each long side. Using a cue and 21 coloured balls, players must strike the white ball to pot the remaining balls in the correct sequence, accumulating points for each pot. An individual game, or frame, is won by the player scoring the most points. A match is won when a player wins a predetermined number of frames.

Contents

Thorburn's other notable achievements include holding the number one ranking during the 1981/82 season and winning the prestigious invitational Masters three times, in 1983, 1985, and 1986, which made him the first player to win the Masters more than once and the first to retain the title. He retired in 1996 and was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. [1] During his snooker career, Thorburn maintained a near-scratch handicap in golf, which he had taken up in his youth; as his snooker career scaled down, he appeared occasionally in charity fundraiser golf events in Canada, as a celebrity.

The snooker season 1981/1982 was a series of snooker tournaments played between 27 June 1981 and 28 May 1982. The following table outlines the results for ranking events and the invitational events.

The Masters is a professional invitational snooker tournament. Held every year since 1975, it is the second-longest running tournament behind the World Championship. It is one of the Triple Crown events, and although not a ranking event, it is regarded as one of the most prestigious tournaments on the circuit. The reigning champion is Judd Trump.

The 1983 Benson & Hedges Masters was a professional non-ranking snooker tournament that took place between from Sunday 23 January to Sunday 30 January 1983 at the Wembley Conference Centre in London, England. The event was increased to 16 players and extended from 6 to 8 days. Although there were 16 players they were not the top 16 ranked players that would compete in the following years. BBC Television coverage did not start until 26 January and so only two of the eight first round matches were televised.

Career

Early career

Thorburn first went to England to play snooker professionally in the early 70s. He had met John Spencer in Canada, who had advised him to go to the UK to improve his game. He was soon considered a contender for tournaments, and finished runner-up in the world championship in 1977.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

John Spencer (snooker player) English former professional snooker player, 3-time world champion (1969, 1971, 1977), 1975 Masters champion

John Spencer was an English professional snooker player who won the World Professional title at his first attempt, was the first winner at the Crucible Theatre, was the inaugural winner of the Masters and Irish Masters and was the first player to make a 147 break in competition. This is regarded as an unofficial maximum break as the event used non templated tables. Spencer was born in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

1980s

Cliff Thorburn met Alex Higgins in the final of the 1980 World Championship. He won the match 18–16 to take the championship, [2] and rose to number two in the world rankings. The BBC's coverage of the final had been interrupted by the broadcast of live footage of the SAS storming the Iranian Embassy. The following season, Thorburn reached number one in the world rankings.

Alex Higgins Northern Irish former professional snooker player, twice world champion (1972, 1982)

Alexander Gordon Higgins was a Northern Irish professional snooker player, who is remembered as one of the most iconic figures in the game. Nicknamed Hurricane Higgins because of his fast play, he was World Champion in 1972 and 1982, and runner-up in 1976 and 1980. He won the UK Championship in 1983 and the Masters in 1978 and 1981, making him one of eleven players to have completed snooker's Triple Crown. He was also World Doubles champion with Jimmy White in 1984, and won the World Cup three times with the All-Ireland team.

The 1980 World Snooker Championship was a professional ranking snooker tournament that took place between 22 April and 5 May 1980 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.

Snooker world rankings 1980/1981 Wikimedia list article

The professional snooker world rankings for the top 27 snooker players in the 1980/1981 season are listed below.

In 1983, Thorburn was made a Member of the Order of Canada. That same year, he became the first player to make a maximum break at the World Championship. He compiled the break in the fourth frame of his second round match against Terry Griffiths (a match he went on to win 13–12). While he was completing the break, play stopped on the tournament's second table because his friend and fellow Canadian Bill Werbeniuk wanted to watch. He subsequently went on to reach the final, but lost to then world number 1 Steve Davis. His wife had a miscarriage during his semi-final, but Thorburn refused to blame this for his loss, instead saying that he was fatigued after his three back-to-back final-frame victories: a 13–12 win over Terry Griffiths in the second round; another 13–12 win over Kirk Stevens in the quarter finals; and a gruelling 16–15 victory (from 13–15 behind) in his semi-final against Tony Knowles, which finished at 2:30am and left him physically exhausted before the final which commenced later that same day. He stated that, after finishing the semi-final in the early hours of the morning, he simply had nothing left for the final less than thirteen hours later against the in-form Steve Davis, who eventually defeated him 18–6, with a session to spare.

Maximum break The highest single score in cue sport Snooker

In snooker the maximum break is 147, also known as a maximum, a 147, or orally, a one-four-seven. A player compiles a maximum break by potting all 15 reds with 15 blacks for 120 points, followed by all six colours for a further 27 points. A maximum break is regarded as the highest possible achievement in a single frame of snooker, and is often compared to a nine-dart finish in darts or a 300 game in ten-pin bowling.

World Snooker Championship Annual professional snooker ranking tournament

The World Snooker Championship is the leading snooker tournament both in terms of prestige and prize money. The first championship was held in 1927 and was won by Joe Davis. Davis won the first 15 championships before retiring from the event, undefeated, after his 1946 success. In the 1950s snooker went into a period of decline and the championship was not held after 1952, although an unofficial championship was held until 1957. In 1964 the championship was revived on a challenge basis and in 1969 the championship became a knock-out event again. Since 1977 it has been played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. The tournament is currently played over 17 days and ends on the first Monday in May. In the modern era, the best record is that of Stephen Hendry, who won the title seven times. Steve Davis and Ray Reardon both won six times while Ronnie O'Sullivan has won five titles. The current champion is Judd Trump, whose 2019 win was his first.

Terrence Martin Griffiths, is a retired Welsh snooker player and current snooker coach and pundit. He became World Champion in 1979 at the first attempt, and was runner-up in 1988. He achieved the notable feat of reaching at least the quarter-finals of the World Championship for nine consecutive years from 1984 to 1992. He also won the Masters in 1980 and the UK Championship in 1982, making him one of only eleven players to have completed snooker's Triple Crown. He was known for his slow, cautious, yet elegant style of play.

Thorburn was a three-time champion of The Masters, the most prestigious non-ranking event on the snooker calendar for many years, during its tenure at the Wembley Conference Centre near London, England. He defeated Ray Reardon 9–7 in the 1983 final, Doug Mountjoy 9–6 in 1985, and Jimmy White 9–5 in 1986. He became the first player ever to retain the Masters title.

Raymond Reardon, is a Welsh retired snooker player who dominated the sport in the 1970s, winning six World Championships, and is remembered as one of the best players of the 20th century. Despite being a genial figure, his dark widow's peak and sharp-toothed grin earned him the nickname "Dracula".

Doug Mountjoy is a retired Welsh snooker player. He was a mainstay of the professional snooker circuit during the late 1970s and 1980s, and remained within the top 16 of the world rankings for eleven consecutive years. He began his professional snooker career by clinching the title at the 1977 Masters tournament, which he had entered as a late replacement. He won both the 1978 UK Championship and the 1979 Irish Masters, and reached the final of the 1981 World Championship where he lost to Steve Davis. He also finished in second place at the 1985 Masters, but by 1988 he had dropped out of the top 16.

The 1985 Benson & Hedges Masters was a professional non-ranking snooker tournament that took place between 27 January and 3 February 1985 at the Wembley Conference Centre in London, England. The highest break of the tournament was 103 made by Cliff Thorburn, for which Thorburn earned £3,750.

He enjoyed a resurgence in form during the 1984/1985 season. He made the final of the Grand Prix, where he lost to Dennis Taylor 2–10. In the semi-final, Thorburn had unexpectedly beaten tournament favourite Steve Davis 9–7. He also made the final of the Classic in January 1985, where he met Willie Thorne in the final, with Thorne winning 13–8. Thorburn was again runner-up in the 1986 Classic, this time losing to Jimmy White in the final 12–13. Thorburn looked certain to win the title but White got a snooker in the deciding frame on the final pink and potted pink and black to win the title.[ citation needed ]

Thorburn enjoyed success in the 1985 and 1986 Scottish Masters, an invitational event which opened the snooker season. He defeated Willie Thorne 9–7 in the 1985 final, and Alex Higgins 9–8 the following year. He won the opening ranking event in the 1985/1986 snooker calendar, the Matchroom Trophy, where he beat Jimmy White in the final 12–10, having trailed 0–7 and 4–8. He was then runner-up in the same event the following two seasons.

Later years

Thorburn last qualified for the World Championship in 1994, where he faced Nigel Bond in the first round. Thorburn led by 9–2 but eventually lost 9–10. In 2001, he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. [1] The same year he won the pro-am Canadian Amateur Championship (snooker); he had previously won the tournament in 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1977. [3]

During the 2006 World Championship, Thorburn flew to Sheffield to unveil a life-size painting of the first televised maximum break that he made at the tournament in 1983. Painted by the artist Michael Myers, the work is on display at the Macdonald St. Paul's Hotel in Sheffield. [4] In 2010, Thorburn returned to the UK to compete on the Snooker Legends Tour where he faced Alex Higgins, Jimmy White and John Parrott.

His manager Darryl McKerrow was killed in a hunting accident during the mid-1980s.[ citation needed ] Thorburn was fined £10,000 and banned for two ranking tournaments in 1988 after failing a drug test.[ citation needed ]

He is the father of two children, Jamie and Andrew. Thorburn won around C$2.5 million in prize money during his 25-year career but also received a considerable income from sources including billiards equipment endorsements, exhibition games, a snooker instruction book and an autobiography, Playing for Keeps, published in 1987. [5]

Performance and rankings timeline

Tournament 1972/
73
1973/
74
1974/
75
1975/
76
1976/
77
1977/
78
1978/
79
1979/
80
1980/
81
1981/
82
1982/
83
1983/
84
1984/
85
1985/
86
1986/
87
1987/
88
1988/
89
1989/
90
1990/
91
1991/
92
1992/
93
1993/
94
1994/
95
1995/
96
Ranking [6] No ranking system 13 6 5 5 2 1 3 3 3 2 2 4 6 7 18 36 36 41 54 41
Ranking tournaments
Thailand Classic [nb 1] Tournament Not HeldNRA 1R 1R 1R LQLQLQ
Grand Prix [nb 2] Tournament Not Held 3R QF F SF 1R 2R A 2R 1R 1R LQLQ 1R LQ
UK Championship Non-Ranking Event SF 3R QF QF QF 2R WD 1R LQLQLQLQ
German Open Tournament Not HeldLQ
Welsh Open Tournament Not Held 1R LQLQLQLQ
International Open [nb 3] Tournament Not HeldNR 2R F 1R W F F A 1R Not HeldLQ 2R 1R LQ
European Open Tournament Not Held QF 1R SF 2R 1R LQLQLQ
Thailand Open [nb 4] Tournament Not HeldNon-Ranking EventNot Held 1R 1R LQLQ 1R SF WD
British Open [nb 5] Tournament Not HeldNon-Ranking Event 3R 3R SF SF 3R 1R 1R 1R LQ 1R LQLQ
World Championship 2R 1R QF 1R F QF 1R W SF 1R F QF QF SF 1R SF 1R QF LQLQLQ 1R LQLQ
Non-ranking tournaments
Australian Masters [nb 6] Tournament Not HeldAAARR W 1R AAQFNHRTournament Not HeldAA
Scottish Masters Tournament Not Held F A SF QF W W SF NH QF AAAAAA
The Masters Not Held 1R 1R A F QF QF SF QF W 1R W W SF QF QF 1R ALQAAAA
Irish Masters [nb 7] Not HeldAAAAA RR SF QF A QF QF SF QF QF 1R 1R AAAAAA
European League [nb 8] Tournament Not HeldANot Held RR RR RR RR AAAAAA
Former ranking tournaments
Canadian Masters [nb 9] Not HeldNon-Ranking EventTournament Not HeldNon-Ranking QF Tournament Not Held
Hong Kong Open [nb 10] Tournament Not HeldNon-Ranking EventNHLQTournament Not HeldNR
Classic Tournament Not HeldNon-Ranking Event 1R F F 2R 2R SF 2R 1R 2R Tournament Not Held
Strachan Open Tournament Not Held QF MRNRNot Held
Former non-ranking tournaments
Champion of Champions Tournament Not HeldANH RR Tournament Not Held
International Open [nb 11] Tournament Not Held 2R Ranking EventNot HeldRanking Event
Northern Ireland Classic Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
UK Championship Tournament Not HeldAAAA 2R AARanking Event
British Open [nb 12] Tournament Not HeldA RR 2R AARanking Event
Classic Tournament Not HeldA QF QF QF Ranking EventTournament Not Held
Pot Black A RR AA SF RR AA W SF AA SF SF Tournament Not HeldAAANH
Canadian Masters [nb 13] Not Held W QF QF QF W W W Tournament Not Held SF QF SF RTournament Not Held
Canadian Professional Championship Tournament Not Held W Not Held SF W W W W SF Tournament Not Held
Dubai Masters [nb 14] Tournament Not Held QF Ranking Event
Matchroom Professional Championship Tournament Not HeldAA QF Ranking Event
World Matchplay Tournament Not Held 1R 1R AAANot Held
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 3R Tournament Not Held
World Seniors Championship Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
Performance Table Legend
LQlost in the qualifying draw#Rlost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QFlost in the quarter-finals
SFlost in the semi-finalsFlost in the finalWwon the tournament
DNQdid not qualify for the tournamentAdid not participate in the tournamentWDwithdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Heldmeans an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Eventmeans an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Eventmeans an event is/was a ranking event.
  1. The event was also called the Dubai Masters (1988/1989) and Dubai Classic (1989/1990–1994/1995)
  2. The event was also called the Professional Players Tournament (1982/1983–1983/1984)
  3. The event was also called the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  4. The event was also called the Thailand Masters (1983/1984–1986/1987 & 1991/1992) and the Asian Open (1989/1990–1992/1993)
  5. The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  6. The event was also called the Hong Kong Open (1989/1990) and Australian Open (1994/1995)
  7. The event was also called the Benson & Hedges Ireland Tournament (1974/1975–1976/1977)
  8. The event was also called the Matchroom League (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  9. The event was also called the Canadian Open (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  10. The event was also called the Australian Masters (1979/1980–1987/1988 & 1995/1996) and Australian Open (1994/1995)
  11. The event was also called the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  12. The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  13. The event was also called the Canadian Open (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  14. The event was also called the Dubai Classic (1989/1990–1994/1995) and Thailand Classic (1995/1996)

Career finals

Ranking finals: 10 (2 titles, 8 runners-up)

Legend
World Championship (1–2)
Other (1–6)
OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScore
Runner-up1. 1977 World Snooker Championship Flag of England.svg John Spencer 21–25
Winner1. 1980 World Snooker Championship Ulster Banner.svg Alex Higgins 18–16
Runner-up2. 1983 World Snooker Championship (2) Flag of England.svg Steve Davis 6–18
Runner-up3. 1983 International Open Flag of England.svg Steve Davis 4–9
Runner-up4. 1984 Grand Prix Ulster Banner.svg Dennis Taylor 2–10
Runner-up5. 1985 The Classic Flag of England.svg Willie Thorne 8–13
Winner2. 1985 Matchroom Trophy Flag of England.svg Jimmy White 12–10
Runner-up6. 1986 The Classic (2) Flag of England.svg Jimmy White 12–13
Runner-up7. 1986 International Open (2) Flag of England.svg Neal Foulds 9–12
Runner-up8. 1987 International Open (3) Flag of England.svg Steve Davis 5–12

Non-ranking finals: 22 (17 titles, 5 runners-up)

Legend
The Masters (3–1)
Other (14–4)
OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScore
Winner1. 1974 Canadian Open Ulster Banner.svg Dennis Taylor 8–6
Runner-up1. 1978 The Masters Ulster Banner.svg Alex Higgins 5–7
Winner2. 1978 Canadian Open (2) Flag of England.svg Tony Meo 17–15
Winner3. 1979 Canadian Open (3) Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Terry Griffiths 17–16
Runner-up2. 1980 Bombay International Flag of England.svg John Virgo 7–13
Winner4. 1980 Canadian Professional Championship Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Jim Wych 9–6 [7]
Winner5. 1980 Canadian Open (4) Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Terry Griffiths 17–10
Winner6. 1981 Pot Black Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Jim Wych 2–0
Runner-up3. 1981 Tolly Cobbold Classic Flag of England.svg Graham Miles 1–5
Runner-up4. 1981 Scottish Masters Flag of England.svg Jimmy White 4–9
Winner7. 1983 The Masters Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Ray Reardon 9–7
Winner8. 1983 Australian Masters Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Bill Werbeniuk 7–3
Winner9. 1984 Canadian Professional Championship (3) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Mario Morra9–2
Winner10. 1985 The Masters (2) Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Doug Mountjoy 9–6
Winner11. 1985 Canadian Professional Championship (4) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Bob Chaperon 6–4
Winner12. 1985 Scottish Masters Flag of England.svg Willie Thorne 9–7
Winner13. 1986 The Masters (3) Flag of England.svg Jimmy White 9–5
Winner14. 1986 Canadian Professional Championship (5) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Jim Wych 6–2
Winner15. 1986 Scottish Masters (2) Ulster Banner.svg Alex Higgins 9–8
Winner16. 1987 Canadian Professional Championship (6) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Jim Bear8–4
Runner-up5.2000World Seniors Masters Flag of England.svg Willie Thorne 0–1
Winner17.2018 The Seniors Masters Flag of England.svg Jonathan Bagley2–1

Team finals: 5 (2 titles, 3 runners-up)

OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipTeam/partnerOpponent(s) in the finalScore
Runner-up1. 1980 World Challenge Cup Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 5–8
Winner1. 1982 World Team Classic Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada Flag of England.svg  England 4–2
Runner-up2. 1986 World Cup (2)Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada Ireland 7–9
Runner-up3. 1987 World Cup (3)Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada Ireland 2–9
Winner2. 1990 World Cup (2)Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland 9–5

Amateur finals: 7 (5 titles, 2 runners-up)

OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScore
Winner1.1974 Canadian Amateur Championship Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Julien St Dennis13–11
Winner2.1975 Canadian Amateur Championship (2) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Bill Werbeniuk
Winner3.1976 Canadian Amateur Championship (3) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Bill Werbeniuk 11–1
Winner4.1977 Canadian Amateur Championship (4) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Robert Paquette10–6
Winner5.2001 Canadian Amateur Championship (5) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Tom Finstad4–3
Runner-up1.2002 Canadian Amateur Championship Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Kirk Stevens 1–6
Runner-up2.2003 Canadian Amateur Championship (2) Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Alain Robidoux 2–6

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References

  1. 1 2 "Five enter Canada's Sports Hall". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation . Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  2. "Then and Now: Cliff Thorburn". Yahoo! Sport. Eurosport. 17 November 2009. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010.
  3. "CBSA Champions & Runner-Ups". Canadian Billiards & Snooker Association. 2009. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009.
  4. "Artist puts a perfect frame on the map..." Sheffield Star . 15 April 2006.
  5. Cliff Thorburn; Clive Everton (December 1987). Playing for Keeps. Partridge Press. ISBN   978-1852250119.
  6. "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  7. "Other National Professional Championships – Canadian Professional Championship". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. 2011. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011.
Achievements
First Maximum break-scorer
in World Championship

23 April 1983
Succeeded by
Jimmy White