#OTD in 1949 – Birth of snooker player and world champion, Dennis Taylor, in Coalisland, Co Tyrone.

Dennis Taylor’s sole world championship victory in 1985 over world number one Steve Davis provided probably the most compelling moments in snooker history. In a final comprising of the best of 35 frames, Taylor lost all frames in the opening session to ultimately fall behind 8-0. A whitewash was on the cards as Davis was recognised at that time as possibly the greatest player to ever play the game.

Played over two days, Taylor fought back to level at 11-11 only to once again be close to knockout when Davis took a 17-15 lead, thus needing only one frame from the final three. He didn’t get that one frame! Taylor fought back to 17-17 and in a final frame lasting 68 of the most mesmerising minutes ever in televised sports history, watched by 18.5 million BBC viewers in the UK, and probably everyone in Ireland, Taylor finally potted the black for a most unlikely victory. It was the first time in two days of snooker, he led Steve Davis!

Taylor and Davis played a one frame game during the 2010 World Championship to commemorate the 25th anniversary of a piece of sports history.

The BBC states: “A record viewing audience of 18.5 million were tuned to BBC2, the largest after midnight figure ever recorded and BBC2’s best ever figure. It was also, at the time, the largest British audience for a sporting event.”

In addition to being a world-class snooker player, Taylor is an accomplished raconteur with wonderful comedic skills who now commentates on snooker for the BBC. Taylor has also made guest appearances on Big Break, They Think It’s All Over, Russian Roulette, A Question of Sport, The Weakest Link and The Sooty Show. In 2005, he was one of the celebrities taking part in the third series of the successful BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, reaching eighth place with his partner, Izabela Hannah.


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