1977 Dry Blackthorn Cup

The 1977 Dry Blackthorn Cup was a professional invitational snooker tournament on 21 December 1977. Created by promoter Mike Barrett, who later promoted boxing matches involving Frank Bruno,[1] it was played at the Wembley Conference Centre in London and featured four professional players.[2] This was the first snooker event to be held at the venue,[3] which from 1979 to 2006 hosted the Masters Championship.[4]

Dry Blackthorn Cup
Tournament information
Dates21 December 1977
VenueWembley Conference Centre
FormatNon-ranking event
Total prize fund£4,350
Winner's share£2,000
Highest break Ray Reardon (WAL) 77
Champion Patsy Fagan (IRL)
Runner-up Alex Higgins (NIR)

The event attracted around 1,500 spectators,[1] and was televised, with a forty-minute programme on ITV being broadcast on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1977.[5]

The tournament was played on a knockout basis,[1] and all three matches were the best-of-seven frames.[6] The participants included three players who between them had won each edition of the World Snooker Championship since 1969: John Spencer (1969, 1971, 1977), Ray Reardon (1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976) and Alex Higgins (1972).[7] The fourth player was Patsy Fagan, who had won the 1977 UK Championship earlier in the month.[6]

Fagan won the Dry Blackthorn Cup, beating Higgins 4–2 in the final. Fagan received prize money of £2,000 as the winner, and Higgins received £1,000 as runner-up.[7][8] Spencer and Reardon received £500 each as losers in the semi-finals. £50,000 would have been awarded to any player making a maximum break of 147.[6] To cover the potential award of the maximum break prize, promoter Mike Barrett paid an insurance premium of £500.[9]

The highest break of the tournament was 77, compiled by Ray Reardon.[3] The total prize fund of £4,350 was a record for a one-day snooker tournament.[1]

The following year, Barrett promoted the 1978 Champion of Champions event at the same venue. Like the Dry Blackthorn Cup, this was an invitational event for four players. Fagan, Reardon and Higgins participated in the 1978 tournament, along with Doug Mountjoy.[2][10]

Main drawEdit

Results are shown below. Players in bold are match winners.[11]

Best of 7 frames
Best of 7 frames
  Patsy Fagan (IRL) 4
  John Spencer (ENG) 2   Patsy Fagan 4
  Alex Higgins (NIR) 4   Alex Higgins 2
  Ray Reardon (WAL) 2


  1. ^ a b c d Morrison, Ian (1985). The Hamlyn Encyclopedia of Snooker. Twickenham: Hamlyn Publishing. p. 32. ISBN 0600501922.
  2. ^ a b "Other Non-Ranking and Invition Events, first held before 1980". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b Morrison, Ian (1989). Snooker: records, facts and champions. Enfield: Guinness Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 0-85112-364-3.
  4. ^ Haigh, Phil (13 January 2018). "Where is the Masters snooker held? Venue, prize money and schedule for 2019 tournament". Metro. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Full Christmas holiday television and radio programmes". The Times. London. 24 December 1977. p. 6 – via The Times Digital Archive. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Fagan takes on three world champions". The Times. London. 21 December 1977. p. 8 – via The Times Digital Archive. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  7. ^ a b Everton, Clive (1985). Guinness Snooker – The Records. Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 56–60. ISBN 0851124488.
  8. ^ J Hennessey (24 May 2013). Alex Higgins: Snooker Legend: Eye of the Hurricane. Mainstream Publishing. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-1-78057-825-5.
  9. ^ Hubbard, Alan (17 December 1977). "Sportseye: snooker gets cue for new image". Sports Argus. p. 3 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "No trouble says Aird". Belfast Telegraph. 3 October 1978. p. 21 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "Fagan wins Dry Blackthorn cup". Snooker Scene. Everton's News Agency. February 1978. p. 5.