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With the 2010 World Championship almost upon us, skysports.com looks back at the 10 greatest Crucible finals.
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The highly-fancied Alex Higgins went in search of his second world title 30 years ago, and he looked good for it when leading Canadian Cliff Thorburn 9-5 in the final. However, the showmanship of Higgins proved his undoing as Thorburn clawed his way back before edging a classic 18-16.
After prevailing in a classic semi-final against Jimmy White, popular Northern Irishman Alex Higgins went on to score a second World Championship triumph at the expense of Ray Reardon. At 49 years and seven months old, Welsh legend Reardon remains to this day the oldest participating finalist, however this match will be forever remembered as the one which saw Higgins celebrate in style with his wife and baby daughter.
Jimmy White made the first of six losing final appearances in 1984 when 'Romford Slim' Steve Davis picked his pocket in a classic World Championship encounter. After keeping his nose in front during a nail-biting final session, Davis eventually held his nerve to become the first player at the Crucible to retain the title.
The 'black-ball' and most famous World Championship final was played out between snooker legends Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis back in 1985. The 14 hour-50 minute epic was eventually completed at 12.19am when Taylor made history by taking the sudden-death frame on the black. The finger- wagging celebrations which followed remain one of the sport's greatest moments.
150-1 outsider Joe Johnson made history on May 5 1986 when his fairytale run ended in title ecstasy. Leading 13-11 heading into the final session, Bradford-born Johnson was irrepressible thereafter and blew Davis away with an inspired potting display to scoop the title.
After smashing in a 147 break against Tony Drago en route to the '92 final, Londoner Jimmy White was at the top of his game heading into a second final showdown with young Scotsman Stephen Hendry. And, at 14-8 ahead it seemed a maiden Crucible title was destined to head his way. However, Hendry had other ideas, sensationally reeling off 10 successive frames to clinch his second Championship.
It was Crucible heartache for fan-favourite Jimmy White yet again in 1994 when he fell at the final hurdle for a sixth, and what now looks a final time.
The showdown between 'The Whirlwind' and Hendry turned out to be the best of their four World finals together, however that came as no consolation to White who lost out in the deciding frame.
Stephen Hendry's record ninth Crucible final appearance ended in defeat as England's Peter Ebdon claimed his first World Championship crown following a titanic tussle. The final also marked a landmark for referee John Williams who officiated in his 10th Crucible showpiece before retiring from the game soon afterwards.
Welshman Mark Williams claimed his second World Championship title in 2003, but only after Ireland's Ken Doherty had staged an amazing comeback. Seemingly down and out at 10-2 behind, "Crafty Ken" sensationally brought the match level at 16-16 before Williams regained his composure to triumph 18-16.
Shock winner Shaun Murphy became the first qualifier since Terry Griffiths in 1979 to claim the famous prize when he edged out Matthew Stevens in the final. At 22-years-old, his impressive tournament triumph - which also included victories over former world champions John Higgins, Steve Davis and Peter Ebdon - saw him become the second youngest winner of the event.
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