Gaz on Stephen Hendry
The rivalry that changed snooker forever explained to me by Jimmy White back in the late 70’s and all through the 80’s. Steve Davis was the king of snooker and his consistency was just too much for the other pro's. Quality players such as Jimmy White, Alex Higgins, Cliff Thorburn, and Dennis Taylor, Steve was called the ginger magician or the nugget he was simply too good, he had the whole game, a great tactical player and a heavy scorer, he was dedicated and had his dad and Barry Hearn in his corner. Steve was the man no doubt about it.
Then a player emerged out of the pack and his name was Stephen Hendry from Scotland. He was beating players that where hardened pro's and the snooker world started to take notice. He was young and aggressive and looked set for stardom but ,it did not happen straight away. Sure he was beating everyone but not Davis, this is where Jimmy filled me in on what went down on a walk along a beach on the morning of the final. Hendry called Jimmy's room at the hotel near the venue they where playing at, and said do you want to go for a walk, Jimmy agreed and they met and this is what happened on that beach walk that changed snooker FOREVER.
Jimmy was out of the comp beaten the day before. Hendry and Davis were playing the final that night, and as they walked Hendry explained to Jimmy his game plan for the final, he explained that he was going to play different. Jimmy he said, when it gets to tactics, shot selection, and safety Davis is too good and is beating us easy, and Jimmy it hurts. My game plan tonight will be to go everything and make the game fast and more open, even to the extent of playing bad percentage shots. I don't care if I lose but at least I will be playing my game. If the bad percentage shots start to go in then i’m dictating play i’m setting the trend for my game. Jimmy settled in to watch the final and sure enough Hendry came out with full on attack. Jimmy said Davis actually looked shocked at what Hendry did as he dismantled Davis beating him easily and guess what every snooker player in the world had seen it.
Within the next 5 years you had players turning pro like O’Sullivan, Williams, and Higgins. They where not playing the Davis type snooker they where playing and approaching the game like Hendry. Hendry that night in hindsight took the reigns of snooker and fulfilled his dreams of becoming the best player on the planet as he won 7 world titles and dominated world snooker. He was asked once how do you practice safety he said I don't.the snooker we all watch today the amazing attack game would make players of the past turn in there grave, the standard of our game now is silly they are more like magicians than snooker players.good potting. Gaz