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Raymond Reardon, MBE (born 8 October 1932) is a Welsh[1] retired snooker player who dominated the sport in the 1970s, winning six World Championships, and is widely considered as one of the greatest players of all time. Despite being a genial figure, his dark widow's peak and sharp-toothed grin earned him the nickname "Dracula".

Ray Reardon
MBE
Born (1932-10-08) 8 October 1932 (age 87)
Tredegar, Monmouthshire
Sport country Wales
NicknameDracula
Professional1967–1992
Highest ranking1 (1976–1980, 1982–1983)
Career winnings£307,207
Highest break146: 1972 Park Drive 2000
Century breaks53
Tournament wins
Ranking5
Non-ranking21
World Champion
  • 1970
  • 1973
  • 1974
  • 1975
  • 1976
  • 1978

Readon was world champion in 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1978, and was world runner-up in 1982. In 1969 he became the inaugural winner of Pot Black. Reardon was snooker's first dominant force of the modern era and was the first number one ranked player, when rankings were introduced in the 1976/77 season- holding that spot for the next five years. His dominance during the 1970s prefigured that of Steve Davis in the 1980s and Stephen Hendry in 1990s. He regained the number one ranking in 1982, but thereafter his form declined, and he dropped out of the elite top-16 ranked players after the 1986/87 season. He retired from the professional game in 1992.

Reardon remained one of snooker's top players into his 50s, and thus set a number of records which still stand. He is snooker's oldest world champion (in 1978, aged 45 years and 203 days), the oldest player to win the Masters (in 1976, aged 43 years and 114 days), the oldest player to win a ranking event (in 1982, 50 years and 14 days), and the oldest player to hold the number one ranking (1982, 50 years old). Reardon also worked with Ronnie O'Sullivan in a coaching role, helping him to win the 2004 World Championship title.

Early lifeEdit

Reardon was born on 8 October 1932, in the coal mining community of Tredegar in Monmouthshire.[1] Wanting to play snooker, he turned down a place at Grammar School to become a miner at Ty Trist Colliery, aged 14, following in the footsteps of his father. After a rockfall in which he was buried for three hours, he quit mining and became a police officer when his family moved to Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.[citation needed]

Amateur careerEdit

Aged 15, Reardon beat fellow Welshman Jack Cowey in the British youth championship. Having won the Welsh amateur title from 1950–1955, Reardon failed to win the English title when he entered the event in 1956 and 1957. Finally upon re-entering the 1964 event, he won the English Amateur title, defeating John Spencer 11–8 in the final. This victory led to an invitation to tour South Africa. This proved to be so successful that Reardon was offered the chance to tour it again as a professional. On the back of this, Reardon resigned as a policeman and duly turned professional in 1967.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Reardon's first appearance at the World Championship was in 1969, and he won his first title the following year, beating John Pulman 37–33 in London. After winning the title, Reardon was in big demand for exhibitions and on the holiday camp circuit. Winning the first ever Pot Black in 1969 made him instantly recognisable; Reardon and John Spencer were the first to capitalise on the snooker boom in the early 1970s.[citation needed]

EntertainerEdit

Reardon also became popular because he added a touch of humour and entertainment to his game. A deadly long potter and tactician in his prime, he played seventeen World Championship matches without defeat and won the title four years in succession. He won his second in 1973 in Manchester when he beat Eddie Charlton 38–32, but the match of the championship was the semi-final between Reardon and Spencer, which Reardon won 23–22.

Reardon beat Graham Miles the following year, and in 1975, when it was held in Melbourne, Australia, he had a tough quarter-final with Spencer which he won 19–17. He then beat Alex Higgins 19–14 before meeting local hero Eddie Charlton in the final. Reardon initially trailed by 29 frames to 23, putting Charlton two frames away from the title, but Reardon then won seven consecutive frames to lead 30–29. Charlton took the sixtieth frame to tie the match but Reardon took the vital sixty-first and won his fourth title.

A special recognition of Reardon's status within the game came in January 1976 when, during the recording of the Ladbroke International Series at Thames Television, Reardon was surprised by Eamonn Andrews, clutching his This Is Your Life book.[3] Reardon had actually been suggested as a candidate for the programme by Snooker Scene editor, Clive Everton. The snooker playing fraternity was represented by Alex Higgins, John Pulman, Jackie Rea, Graham Miles, John Spencer, Eddie Charlton, Cliff Thorburn and female professional Joyce Gardner.[4]

Reardon won his fifth title the next year in Manchester, beating Alex Higgins 27–16. Earlier that year, he had won the Benson and Hedges Masters in London, his second snooker title after the World Championship. In this event Reardon defeated John Pulman in the quarter-final 4–1, in a match of such poor quality that the highest break was 22 (by Pulman). Reardon improved his form in the semi-final to defeat Eddie Charlton 5–4 and Graham Miles 7–3 in the final.[5] Reardon would never win the event again but defeated Rex Williams 4–1 and Graham Miles 5–2 in the 1977 event only to lose 7–6 to Doug Mountjoy in the final.[6]

Reardon's unbeaten run at the World Championship ended at the first Crucible championship in 1977, when he lost to John Spencer in the quarter-finals 6–13, his first defeat since Rex Williams in 1972.

Reardon regained the title in 1978 winning it for the sixth and final time by beating Doug Mountjoy 13–9 (after trailing 7–2), Bill Werbeniuk 13–6, Eddie Charlton 18–14 and finally Perrie Mans 25–18 in the final.[7] Reardon remains the oldest winner of the World Championship at the age of 45 years and 6 months. Straight after this Reardon regained the Pontins Professional title, defeating John Spencer 7–2 in the final.[8]

Towards the end of 1978 Reardon beat Patsy Fagan 6–1 and Alex Higgins 11–9 in a high quality final to win the one-off 'Champion of Champions' event sponsored by the Daily Mirror and held at the Wembley Conference Centre.[9]

1979 saw Reardon regain his Pot Black title by defeating Doug Mountjoy 2–1 in the final. It was Reardon's first win since he won the inaugural event in 1969, although he was runner up in 1970, 1972 and 1980.[10] That same year Reardon joined Mountjoy and then World Champion Terry Griffiths, to win the first 'World Challenge Cup' for Wales, defeating England (Fred Davis, John Spencer and Graham Miles) easily 14–3 in the final.[11]

Indian summerEdit

After Reardon's sixth world title he remained one of the world's best players for some years. He lost to Dennis Taylor in the 1979 quarter-final, and by David Taylor at the same stage in 1980. He went a step further in 1981, beating John Spencer 13–11 and Bill Werbeniuk 13–10 before being surprisingly beaten by fellow Welshman Doug Mountjoy in the semi-finals in what was Mountjoy's best ever World Championship performance. Mountjoy scored a championship record break of 145 during the match, which he won 16–10.[12]

It was the rise of Steve Davis in 1980–81 that saw Reardon and his generation lose their grip on the game. However, despite Davis' domination between late 1980 and the spring of 1982, Reardon remained a major force in the game. At 49, he reached the World final in 1982, losing to Alex Higgins 15–18.

For the 1982/3 season Reardon returned to number one in the world rankings, which in those days were based only on performances at the World Championships over previous years. His career went through an Indian summer. He won the Players Professional Tournament in late 1982, beating Jimmy White 10–5 in the final.[13], reached the final of the Benson & Hedges Masters, losing 7–9 to Cliff Thorburn, and went on to win the 1983 International Masters, where he beat Steve Davis 2–1 in the semi-final group stages, before defeating Jimmy White 9–6 in the final, having trailed 5–3.[14] Reardon also regained the Welsh Professional Title, hammering Terry Griffiths 9–4 and Doug Mountjoy 9–1 in the semi final and final respectively.[15] This led him to be fancied in some quarters for that year's World Championship, but he suffered his earliest ever defeat in the competition, losing 13–12 in a high-quality second round match to Tony Knowles.

Reardon also had the distinction of whitewashing Steve Davis twice during the latter's prime; firstly, 6–0 in the 1982 Highland Masters semi-final (an event Reardon went on to win)[16] and secondly in 1988 (see below).

Reardon reached the semi-finals of the World Championships once more, in 1985 (losing 16–5 to Davis). He last played at the Crucible in 1987, losing to Steve Davis again in the second round.

World Number OneEdit

When the snooker world rankings were introduced in 1976, Reardon was the first number one, retaining that position until 1981/1982.[1] His win in the 1982 Professional Players Tournament at the age of 50 led to his recapturing the world number one position in the first set of rankings to be calculated on tournaments other than the World Championship.

Reardon remains the oldest player, at 50, ever to win a ranking tournament. He has also won the State Express World Team Classic for Wales during the first two years of the tournament in 1979 and 1980 with Mountjoy and Terry Griffiths. He also won the Welsh Professional Championship in 1981 and 1983. His last final was the 1985 World Doubles when he partnered Tony Jones and lost to Steve Davis and Tony Meo 5–12. He was awarded the MBE in the same year.

Retirement and later yearsEdit

Reardon developed eyesight problems and started wearing 'Dennis Taylor-style' glasses later on in his career. He went out of the top 16 in 1987 but whitewashed Steve Davis 5–0 in the third round of the 1988 British Open. The victory was achieved with Reardon using his old cue with which he had won his world titles, having been encouraged to rebuild it, by Steve Davis. However, in the next round, played under TV lighting, Reardon suffered a drying of contact lenses and lost 5–2 to David Roe, having led 2–1.[17]

Reardon played his last competitive ranking match in the 1991 World Championship qualifying second round. He lost 10–5 to Jason Prince (losing three frames on the black). Upon this loss, Reardon announced that 'there was no bitterness on his part' but he would not be returning. Having slipped to 127th in the provisional ranking and now aged 58, Reardon called a halt to his formal playing career.[18] Reardon's last formal appearance in an event came in the 2000 Seniors event where he lost his opening one-frame match 69–46 to Graham Miles.[19]

Reardon maintains an active interest in the game. He also advised Ronnie O'Sullivan on his way to his 2004 World Championship victory, giving him psychological and tactical help.[20]

Reardon now resides in Torquay, Devon. He is currently the president of the golf club in Churston, Devon.[21] Reardon made a playing appearance at a Snooker Legends evening in Plymouth in July 2010.[22]

Performance and rankings timelineEdit

Tournament 1968/
69
1969/
70
1970/
71
1971/
72
1972/
73
1973/
74
1974/
75
1975/
76
1976/
77
1977/
78
1978/
79
1979/
80
1980/
81
1981/
82
1982/
83
1983/
84
1984/
85
1985/
86
1986/
87
1987/
88
1988/
89
1989/
90
1990/
91
Ranking[23] No ranking system 1 1 1 1 1 4 1 2 5 6 15 38 40 54 73
Ranking tournaments
Grand Prix[nb 1] Tournament Not Held W 3R 3R 1R 1R 1R LQ A LQ
Asian Open[nb 2] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event Not Held A LQ
Dubai Classic[nb 3] Tournament Not Held NR A LQ
UK Championship Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event QF 2R 2R 1R 1R LQ LQ
Classic Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 1R QF 1R 1R 1R 2R LQ A
British Open[nb 4] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 2R 1R 2R 2R 1R LQ A
European Open Tournament Not Held 1R A LQ
World Championship QF W SF QF W W W W QF W QF QF SF F 2R QF SF 1R 2R LQ LQ LQ LQ
Non-ranking tournaments
Scottish Masters Tournament Not Held QF QF A A A A A NH A A
The Masters Tournament Not Held F W F SF SF SF QF QF F QF QF 1R 1R A A A A
Irish Masters[nb 5] Tournament Not Held A SF F SF F RR F SF F QF 1R 1R A A A A A
Welsh Professional Championship Tournament Not Held W NH F W SF W SF SF QF QF QF QF QF QF
Matchroom League[nb 6] Tournament Not Held RR Not Held A A A A A
Former ranking tournaments
Canadian Masters[nb 7] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking 1R Not Held
International Open[nb 8] Tournament Not Held NR 2R 2R 2R 1R 2R 1R 1R A NH
Former non-ranking tournaments
Champion of Champions Tournament Not Held W NH RR Tournament Not Held
International Open[nb 9] Tournament Not Held 2R Ranking Event NH
Australian Masters[nb 10] Tournament Not Held A A A RR A A A A A NH A NH
Classic Tournament Not Held A SF SF 1R Ranking Event
UK Championship Tournament Not Held 2R 2R A SF QF SF QF Ranking Event
British Open[nb 11] Tournament Not Held F RR RR W 2R Ranking Event
Pot Black W F A F SF RR SF 2R RR SF W F SF RR F 1R 1R QF Tournament Not Held
Canadian Masters[nb 12] Tournament Not Held A A A SF A A A Tournament Not Held SF A A R 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. ^ The event was also called the Professional Players Tournament (1982/93–1983/1984)
  2. ^ The event was also called the Thailand Masters (1983/1984–1986/1987)
  3. ^ The event was also called the Dubai Masters (1988/1989)
  4. ^ The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  5. ^ The event was also called the Benson & Hedges Ireland Tournament (1974/1975–1976/1977)
  6. ^ The event was also called the Professional Snooker League (1983/1984)
  7. ^ The event was also called the Canadian Open (1978/1979–1980/1981)
  8. ^ The event was also called the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  9. ^ The event was also called the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986)
  10. ^ The event was also called the Hong Kong Open (1989/1990) and Australian Open (1994/1995)
  11. ^ The event was also called the British Gold Cup (1979/1980), Yamaha Organs Trophy (1980/1981) and International Masters (1981/1982–1983/1984)
  12. ^ The event was also called the Canadian Open (1978/1979–1980/1981)

Career finalsEdit

Ranking finals: 6 (5 titles, 1 runner-up)Edit

Legend
World Championship (4–1)
Other (1–0)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1974 World Championship (3)   Graham Miles 22–12
Winner 2. 1975 World Championship (4)   Eddie Charlton 31–30
Winner 3. 1976 World Championship (5)   Alex Higgins 27–16
Winner 4. 1978 World Championship (6)   Perrie Mans 25–18
Runner-up 1. 1982 World Championship   Alex Higgins 15–18
Winner 5. 1982 Professional Players Tournament   Jimmy White 10–5

Non-ranking finals: 46 (21 titles, 25 runners-up)Edit

Legend
World Championship (2–0) [nb 1]
The Masters (1–3)
Other (18–22)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1969 Pot Black   John Spencer 1–0
Runner-up 1. 1970 Pot Black   John Spencer 0–1
Winner 2. 1970 World Championship   John Pulman 37–33
Winner 3. 1971 Park Drive 600   John Spencer 4–0
Winner 4. 1971 Park Drive 2000 – Autumn   John Spencer 4–3
Runner-up 2. 1972 Pot Black (2)   Eddie Charlton 0–1
Runner-up 3. 1973 Men of the Midlands   Alex Higgins 3–5
Winner 5. 1973 World Championship (2)   Eddie Charlton 38–32
Winner 6. 1974 Pontins Professional   John Spencer 10–9
Winner 7. 1974 International Park Drive Championship – Event 1   John Spencer #
Winner 8. 1974 International Park Drive Championship – Event 2   John Spencer #
Runner-up 4. 1974 International Park Drive Championship – Event 3   John Spencer 2–3
Runner-up 5. 1974 Norwich Union Open   John Spencer 9–10
Runner-up 6. 1975 The Masters   John Spencer 8–9
Winner 9. 1975 Pontins Professional (2)   John Spencer 10–4
Winner 10. 1976 The Masters   Graham Miles 7–3
Winner 11. 1976 Pontins Professional (3)   Fred Davis 10–9
Runner-up 7. 1976 Canadian Club Masters   Alex Higgins 4–6
Runner-up 8. 1976 World Professional Match-play Championship   Eddie Charlton 24–31
Runner-up 9. 1977 The Masters (2)   Doug Mountjoy 6–7
Winner 12. 1977 Welsh Professional Championship   Doug Mountjoy 12–8
Runner-up 10. 1977 Benson and Hedges Ireland Tournament   Alex Higgins 3–5
Winner 13. 1978 Pontins Professional (4)   John Spencer 7–2
Runner-up 11. 1978 Golden Masters   Doug Mountjoy 2–4
Winner 14. 1978 Champion of Champions   Alex Higgins 11–9
Winner 15. 1978 Pot Black (2)   Doug Mountjoy 2–1
Winner 16. 1979 Forward Chemicals Tournament   John Spencer 9–6
Runner-up 12. 1979 Irish Masters   Doug Mountjoy 5–6
Runner-up 13. 1979 Tolly Cobbold Classic   Alex Higgins 4–5
Winner 17. 1979 Golden Masters   Graham Miles 4–2
Runner-up 14. 1979 Kronenbrau 1308 Classic   Eddie Charlton 4–7
Runner-up 15. 1980 Pot Black (3)   Eddie Charlton 1–2
Runner-up 16. 1980 Welsh Professional Championship   Doug Mountjoy 6–9
Runner-up 17. 1980 British Gold Cup   Alex Higgins 1–5
Runner-up 18. 1980 Pontins Professional   John Virgo 6–9
Winner 18. 1981 Welsh Professional Championship (2)   Cliff Wilson 9–6
Runner-up 19. 1981 Irish Masters (2)   Terry Griffiths 7–9
Winner 19. 1982 Highland Masters   John Spencer 11–4
Runner-up 20. 1982 Pontins Professional (2)   Steve Davis 4–9
Runner-up 21. 1983 Pot Black (4)   Steve Davis 0–2
Runner-up 22. 1983 The Masters (3)   Cliff Thorburn 7–9
Winner 20. 1983 Welsh Professional Championship   Doug Mountjoy 9–1
Winner 21. 1983 International Masters   Jimmy White 9–6
Runner-up 23. 1983 Irish Masters (3)   Steve Davis 2–9
Runner-up 24. 1983 Pontins Professional (3)   Doug Mountjoy 7–9
Runner-up 25. 1990 European Grand Masters   Martin Clark 0–3

Team finals: 5 (2 titles, 3 runners-up)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Team/partner Opponent(s) in the final Score
Winner 1. 1979 World Challenge Cup   Wales   England 14–3
Winner 2. 1980 World Challenge Cup (2)   Wales   Canada 8–5
Runner-up 1. 1981 World Team Classic   Wales   England 3–4
Runner-up 2. 1983 World Team Classic (2)   Wales   England 2–4
Runner-up 3. 1985 World Doubles Championship   Tony Jones   Steve Davis
  Tony Meo
5–12

Pro-am finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runners-up)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1975 Pontins Spring Open   John Virgo 7–1
Runner-up 1. 1982 Pontins Spring Open   John Parrott 4–7
Runner-up 2. 1983 Pontins Spring Open (2)   Terry Griffiths 3–7

Amateur finals: 8 (7 titles, 1 runner-up)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1950 Welsh Amateur Championship   John Ford
Winner 2. 1951 Welsh Amateur Championship (2)   Richie Smith
Winner 3. 1952 Welsh Amateur Championship (3)   John Ford 5–3
Winner 4. 1953 Welsh Amateur Championship (4)   Aubrey Kemp 5–3
Winner 5. 1954 Welsh Amateur Championship (5)   John Ford
Winner 6. 1955 Welsh Amateur Championship (6)   John Ford
Runner-up 1. 1956 English Amateur Championship   Tommy Gordon 9–11
Winner 7. 1964 English Amateur Championship   John Spencer 11–8

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The World Championship did not become a ranking event until 1974

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Then and Now: Ray Reardon – Yahoo! Eurosport". uk.eurosport.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  2. ^ Reardon, Ray., Enjoying Snooker, St Michael Press, 1986, p15.
  3. ^ "Ray Reardon". Bigredbook.info. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  4. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, February 1976, pp16-17.
  5. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.), Snooker Scene, March 1976, pp16-17.
  6. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, March 1977, pp17-19.
  7. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, June 1978, pp9, 11, 16/17.
  8. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, June 1978, p20. Reardon won £1500.
  9. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, December 1978, p7.
  10. ^ Perrin, Reg., Pot Black, BBC Books, 1983, pp21/22.
  11. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, December 1979, p9.
  12. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, June 1981, pp10/11, 13 & 15.
  13. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, November 1982, p22.
  14. ^ Everton, Clive (ed.) Snooker Scene, April 1983, p9.
  15. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, April 1983, p 12/13.
  16. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, pp29 and 33. Reardon replaced Cliff Thorburn as world number one, Steve Davis was ranked fourth that year.
  17. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, April 1988, pp9 & 13.
  18. ^ Everton, Clive (Ed.) Snooker Scene, May 1991, p5.
  19. ^ Dee, John (Ed), CueSport Magazine, October 2000, p26.
  20. ^ "'Magic' Ronnie wows Reardon", BBC Sport, 2 May 2004. Retrieved on 13 July 2008.
  21. ^ "A message from the Club's President Ray Reardon Archived 5 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine", Club Website. Retrieved on 25 February 2009.
  22. ^ http://southwestshows.co.uk/2010/06/ray-reardon-to-join-snooker-legends-at-plymouth-pavilions-news/. See also main website at: snookerlegends.co.uk
  23. ^ "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017.