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Cliff Wilson (10 May 1934 – 21 May 1994[2]) was a Welsh professional snooker player. He became 1978 World Amateur Champion. After turning professional he got into the world's top 16 in 1988 at the age of 54, despite very poor eyesight and a number of other ailments.

Cliff Wilson
Cliff Wilson.jpg
Born(1934-05-10)10 May 1934
Tredegar, Monmouthshire
Died(1994-05-21)21 May 1994 (aged 60)
Sport country Wales
Highest ranking16 (1988–89)
Career winnings£241,965[1]
Highest break136 (1989 Grand Prix)[1]
Century breaks6[1]
Best ranking finishQuarter-final (5 times)
Tournament wins

Amateur yearsEdit

Wilson was a talented amateur snooker player who grew up in the same town, Tredegar, as his friend and snooker rival Ray Reardon. He won the National Under-19 Championship in 1952 and 1953 and the Welsh Amateur Championship in 1956.

Giving up the gameEdit

Snooker's popularity was on the wane during the 1950s and it was extremely difficult to join the small, closed professional circuit. Wilson became disillusioned with the game and gave up snooker completely for fifteen years. During this time he worked at the steelworks at Llanwern.[2]

Turning professionalEdit

Wilson's interest in the game rekindled in the early 1970s and, after winning the IBSF World Amateur Championship in 1978, he finally turned professional the following year at the age of 45.[2]

He broke into the top sixteen for one season, 1988/89, a remarkable achievement for someone aged 55. He later went on to win the first World Seniors Championship in 1991 (beating Eddie Charlton 5–4 in the final), at the time picking up a cheque for £16,000, his highest prize winnings.

His popular exhibitions went under the banner "You've never seen anything like it!"

He was known as a fast player and a dangerous potter; but, although he played in the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre on eight occasions, he never progressed beyond the first round – a record he shares with Rex Williams.

He played a young Ronnie O'Sullivan in the 1992 UK championship, winning 9–8[2] against the then 16-year-old who won the championship the following year.

The highest break of his career was 136 at the 1989 Grand Prix.

Illness and deathEdit

Towards the end of his life, Wilson suffered from a number of problems with his back, knee and heart, eventually developing an 'inoperable disease of the liver and pancreas'. Although he continued to play professionally, recording a century break in the 1994 International Open in January 1994, he succumbed in May of that year, aged 60.[3]

Performance and rankings timelineEdit

Tournament 1979/
Ranking[4] [nb 1] UR 23 26 20 23 22 23 17 16 18 28 32 33 47
Ranking tournaments
Dubai Classic[nb 2] Tournament Not Held NR 2R 1R 1R LQ LQ
Grand Prix[nb 3] Not Held 3R 3R 2R QF 2R 3R 3R 1R 2R 2R 2R LQ
UK Championship Non-Ranking Event 2R 1R 1R 2R 2R 2R 2R 1R 3R 1R
European Open Tournament Not Held 2R 1R 3R 1R LQ LQ
Welsh Open Tournament Not Held 3R LQ LQ
International Open[nb 4] Not Held NR QF LQ LQ 3R QF 2R 1R QF Not Held 1R 1R
Thailand Open[nb 5] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event Not Held 1R 2R 1R LQ LQ
British Open[nb 6] Non-Ranking Event 1R 2R 3R 2R 3R 1R 1R 1R LQ LQ
World Championship 1R 1R 1R 1R LQ LQ 1R LQ 1R 1R 1R LQ LQ LQ LQ
Non-ranking tournaments
The Masters A A A A A A A A A 1R A LQ WD LQ A
Former ranking tournaments
Canadian Masters[nb 7] NR Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking 2R Tournament Not Held
Hong Kong Open[nb 8] Non-Ranking NH WD Tournament Not Held
Classic Non-Ranking Event 1R 2R 1R QF 2R 2R 1R 2R 2R Not Held
Strachan Open Non-Ranking Event 2R Not Held
Former non-ranking tournaments
International Open[nb 9] Not Held LQ Ranking Event Not Held Ranking
Classic A A A 1R Ranking Event
British Open[nb 10] LQ LQ LQ RR LQ Ranking Event
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 1R Not Held
Welsh Professional Championship SF F SF SF F SF SF QF SF QF QF QF Not Held
World Seniors Championship Tournament Not Held W Not Held
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
  1. ^ He was an amateur.
  2. ^ The event was also called the Dubai Masters (1988/1989)
  3. ^ The event was also called the Professional Players Tournament (1982/93–1983/1984)
  4. ^ The event was also called the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  5. ^ The event was also called the Thailand Masters (1983/1984–1986/1987) and Asian Open (1989/1990–1992/1993)
  6. ^ The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  7. ^ The event was also called the Canadian Open (1979/1980–1980/1981)
  8. ^ The event was also called the Australian Masters (1979/1980–1987/1988)
  9. ^ The event was also called the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  10. ^ The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)

Career finalsEdit

Non-ranking finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runner-ups)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1981 Welsh Professional Championship   Ray Reardon 6–9
Runner-up 2. 1984 Welsh Professional Championship (2)   Doug Mountjoy 3–9
Winner 1. 1991 World Seniors Championship   Eddie Charlton 5–4

Pro-am finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runner-ups)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1976 Pontins Autumn Open   Paul Medati 7–4
Runner-up 1. 1980 Pontins Spring Open   Willie Thorne 3–7[5]
Runner-up 2. 1981 Pontins Spring Open (2)   John Hargreaves 2–7[5]

Amateur finals: 5 (4 titles, 1 runner-up)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1954 English Amateur Championship   Geoff Thompson 9–11
Winner 1. 1956 Welsh Amateur Championship   V. Wilkins Unknown
Winner 2. 1977 Welsh Amateur Championship (2)   Dai Thomas 8–1
Winner 3. 1978 World Amateur Championship   Joe Johnson 8–1
Winner 4. 1979 Welsh Amateur Championship (3)   Geoff Thomas 8–5


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ a b c d Hodgson, Guy (27 May 1994). "Obituary: Cliff Wilson". The Independent. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Ranking History". Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b

External linksEdit