Tag Archives: Jimmy White

A Snooker Anecdote…

I’m sitting here watching the first semi-final of the World Senior Snooker Championship, between Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry. They have both (visibly) aged, and they don’t do it like they used to, but it’s a fun reminder of the many battles these guys had during the nineties.

It’s also the 63rd birthday of my favourite snooker player of all – Steve Davis.

I met Steve once. It was early 2002 and I was at the cinema with my mate Andy watching the previews before The Royal Tenenbaums. I saw two guys walking towards us, and I turned to Andy to exclaim how much one of them looked like Steve Davis (he was here for the Scottish Open). Of course, he didn’t watch snooker, so he had no idea who I was talking about. But as he got closer I quickly realised it actually was him.

Before I could figure out what to do, Steve and the other guy (who I assumed was his manager) squeezed into our aisle and excused themselves so they could get past us. I quickly shot out my hand and said, “Hi Steve, I’m a big fan. How are you?” He graciously bundled the big tub of popcorn and super-sized Coke to one side and shook my hand…

After the movie, (in fact, as soon as the credits began) I dashed to the toilet so I could avoid a repeat of the awkward moment when I had met my idol two hours earlier. My intention was to stay there long enough for the screen to empty and I could save myself any further embarrassment, which was a fine idea, until Steve walked in to the bathroom and went to the urinal next to mine.

So there I am in a public toilet, standing next to a snooker legend I had looked up and respected for years… with my dick out.

I zipped up and went to wash my hands (yes, something I did even before Covid-19), looked in the mirror, and told myself not to say anything. Just be quiet. There’s nothing else to say – you’ve introduced yourself, and he shook your hand. What more do you want? Dry your hands and walk away. It was already weird before the bathroom, you certainly didn’t need to add any more fuel to that particular fire. And besides, you don’t talk to a guy while he’s at the urinal, everyone knows that!

Of course, instead of taking the sensible route I asked Steve if he had enjoyed the movie, and I immediately wanted to fall into the sink and slip down the drain. I’m not really sure what he said – I was out of there before my embarrassment bubbled to the surface.

So if you ever hear Steve Davis tell a story about the creepy guy he met in a toilet one day, that was me!

Anyway, happy birthday Steve!

Perhaps I ought to chalk it…

Willie-Thorne-dead-How-did-Willie-Thorne-die-1296963Today would have been my grandad’s 91st birthday. Like a lot of guys of his generation, he didn’t like to celebrate it, but now that he is gone it’s a day I always recognise, and I try to take the time to remember the good times that we shared.

Today is also the day that snooker legend Willie Thorne died. He was 66 years old.

It’s not a name that will mean anything to a lot of people but as a long-time snooker fan, I found myself very saddened by his departure this morning. I am old enough to have watched him while he was still an active player, but too young to have seen him in his heyday. Coincidentally, snooker was a sport that I always enjoyed watching with my grandad. In fact, Willie Thorne was one of his favourites.

Willie Thorne honed his craft in the eighties – in an era when snooker was exploding in the mainstream, and there were a lot of larger-than-life personalities in the game, from Jimmy White to Dennis Taylor to Alex Higgins, and many others. Chas & Dave even reached the UK Top Ten with their song, Snooker Loopy in 1986 – that’s how big the game was in those days.

Although he would not be in the conversation as one of the sport’s all-time greats, with his polished head and thick moustache Willie Thorne was certainly one of snooker’s biggest and most recognisable characters, and he will surely be missed.

Now old Willie Thorne, his hair’s all gone, and his mates all take the rise
His opponent said, “cover up his head cos it’s shining in my eyes”
When the light shines down, on his bare crown
It’s a cert he’s gonna walk it
It’s just not fair, giving off that glare
“Perhaps I ought to chalk it”