Steve James (snooker player)

Last updated

Steve James
Born (1961-05-02) 2 May 1961 (age 60)
Cannock, Staffordshire
Sport countryFlag of England.svg  England
Professional1986–2002, 2004–2006
Highest ranking 7 (1991/1992)
Career winnings £758,213
Highest break 143 (1999 UK Championship)
Century breaks 72
Tournament wins
Ranking 1

Stephen James (born 2 May 1961) [1] is an English retired professional snooker player.



A former postman, the high point of his career was his sole ranking title – the Classic in 1990, beating Australian Warren King 10–6 in the final. His world ranking peaked at number seven the following season, the best of his five seasons in the top sixteen. [2]

On 14 April 1990, in his match against Alex Higgins at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, James became the first player to produce a 16-red total clearance in competitive play. In other words, he potted 16 reds and 16 colours consecutively, followed by all the coloured balls in order: a situation that was only possible because he was awarded a free ball before any red had been potted. [3]

A year later he reached the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship, beating defending champion Stephen Hendry in the quarter-finals (it was six years before anyone else beat Hendry in the tournament: Ken Doherty in 1997). He was beaten in the semi-final by Jimmy White, with whom he shares his birthday; coincidentally, the match began on their birthday, 2 May.

James became wealthy through snooker, but was banned from driving in 1996, [4] and in 1998 declared himself bankrupt after spending £700,000 on "fast living", even having to sell his practice table. [5] His financial problems saw him turn to drinking heavily. [2] A diabetic, James missed the British Open in 2004 due to a kidney infection. [6]

He was the first player ever to score two centuries on his Crucible debut, including a 140, the second highest by a debutant of all time. In addition to 1991, he reached the quarter-finals on his debut in 1988, and the last 16 on three further occasions.

Performance and rankings timeline

Tournament 1986/
Ranking [7] [nb 1] [nb 2] 66 32 16 9 7 10 13 17 26 24 24 37 44 64 62 [nb 3] [nb 3] [nb 2] 85
Ranking tournaments
Grand Prix [nb 4] LQ 1R 2R 1R SF 3R 3R 3R 1R SF 2R 1R 1R 1R LQLQAALQLQ
UK Championship LQLQ 2R 1R 2R QF 3R 2R 1R 1R 1R 1R 2R 1R LQLQAALQLQ
Malta Cup [nb 5] Not Held 1R SF 3R 2R 3R 1R 1R 2R LQNHLQNot HeldLQAALQA
Welsh Open Tournament Not Held QF 2R 3R 1R 1R 2R 2R LQLQLQLQAA 1R WD
China Open [nb 6] Tournament Not HeldNRLQLQLQLQNot HeldLQWD
World Championship LQ QF 1R 2R SF 1R 2R 2R LQ 1R LQLQ 1R LQLQLQLQLQLQA
Non-ranking tournaments
Pot Black Tournament Not Held 1R A SF Tournament Not HeldA
Former ranking tournaments
Canadian Masters NR 2R Tournament Not Held
Hong Kong Open [nb 7] NRNH 2R Tournament Not HeldNRTournament Not Held
Classic LQ 1R 2R W 1R 2R Tournament Not Held
Strachan Open Tournament Not Held 2R Tournament Not Held
Dubai Classic [nb 8] Not HeldNR 3R 2R SF 1R 1R LQLQ 1R Tournament Not Held
German Masters [nb 9] Tournament Not Held 1R LQ 2R NRTournament Not Held
Malta Grand Prix Tournament Not HeldNon-Ranking EventLQNRTournament Not Held
Thailand Masters [nb 10] NRNot Held 2R 1R 1R 1R 1R LQ 1R LQ 1R LQLQLQLQNRNot Held
Scottish Open [nb 11] LQ 3R SF 3R Not Held 3R 3R 1R 1R 2R 1R 1R 2R 1R LQAANot Held
British Open 2R 2R 1R SF 1R 2R 1R 2R 2R 2R 2R 1R LQLQ 1R LQAAWDNH
Irish Masters Non-Ranking EventAALQNH
Former non-ranking tournaments
English Professional Championship 2R LQ 1R Tournament Not Held
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
World Masters Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
European Challenge Tournament Not Held QF ATournament Not Held
Thailand Masters ANot HeldRanking QF Ranking EventNRNot Held
Hong Kong Challenge AAANH QF QF Tournament Not Held
Indian Challenge Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
Scottish Masters AANHA SF SF AAAAAAAAAAANot Held
Belgian Masters Tournament Not Held QF Not HeldATournament Not Held
World Matchplay Not HeldAA 1R 1R ATournament Not Held
Belgian Challenge Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters AAAA QF QF AAAAAAAAAARanking EventNH
Indian Masters Tournament Not Held F Tournament Not Held
Pontins Professional AAAAA W SF AAAAAAATournament 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 Heldevent was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Eventevent is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Eventevent is/was a ranking event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Eventevent is/was a minor-ranking event.
  1. From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. 1 2 New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
  3. 1 2 He was an amateur.
  4. The event was also called the LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004)
  5. The event was also called the European Open (1988/1989–1996/1997 and 2001/2002–2003/2004) and Irish Open (1998/1999)
  6. The event was also called the China International (1997/1998–1998/1999)
  7. The event was also called the Australian Masters (1986/1987–1987/1988 and 1995/1996) and Australian Open (1994/1995)
  8. The event was also called the Dubai Masters (1988/1989), Thailand Classic (1995/1996) and Asian Classic (1996/1997)
  9. The event was also called the German Open (1995/1996–1997/1998)
  10. The event was also called the Asian Open (1989/1990–1992/1993) and Thailand Open (1993/1994–1996/1997)
  11. The event was also called the International Open (1986/1987–1989/1990 and 1992/1993–1996/1997) and Players Championship (2003/2004)

Career finals

Ranking finals: 1 (1 title)

OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScore
Winner1. 1990 The Classic Flag of Australia (converted).svg Warren King 10–6

Non-ranking finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runners-up)

OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScore
Winner1. 1992 Pontins Professional Flag of England.svg Neal Foulds 9–8
Runner-up1. 1992 Indian Masters Flag of England.svg Steve Davis 6–9
Runner-up2.2004 Challenge Tour - Event 3 Flag of England.svg Brian Salmon 2–6

Pro-am finals: 2 (2 runners-up)

OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScore
Runner-up1.1992 Pontins Spring Open Ulster Banner.svg Declan Hughes 2–7
Runner-up2.1993 Pontins Spring Open (2) Flag of England.svg Mike Hallett 6–7

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  1. White, Jason (2002) "Steve James: Crucible or bust for James; Last act beckons in great entertainer's compelling snooker tale", Sports Argus , 26 January 2002, (confirms May 1961)
  2. 1 2 "Booze nightmare for snooker star who blew fortune", Sunday Mercury , 28 June 1998
  3. Guinness World Records 2001, IBS Books, ISBN   978-1-892051-01-1
  4. "Snooker: James steps up a gear", The Independent , 15 February 1997, Retrieved 2010-05-22
  5. Larner, Tony (1999) "Bankrupt snooker ace Steve on cue for return", Sunday Mercury , 18 April 1999
  6. McLaughlan, Lee (2004) "Steve's Fit For Fresh Start", Sunday Mercury , 7 November 2004
  7. "Ranking History". Retrieved 7 April 2018.