Snooker developed in late Victorian times out of billiards, which itself had started in the Middle Ages. Today, snooker has a world-wide following, thanks largely to Joe Davis and his brother Fred. Joe dominated the game for almost half a century and it became a competitive sport in 1927 when he established the first professional World Championship. Joe won the first crown and continued to do so right until 1946. Then Fred stepped in and was the dominant player for the next eleven years.
When colour TV took off in the 1950s and '60s, snooker suffered quite a lull, until the BBC hit upon the idea of 'Pot Black,' a popular televised snooker tournament that was screened for 16 years. By the time it came off the air in 1985, snooker was well and truly back on the public's radar and the knock-on effect from 'Pot Black' had been dramatic.
The World Championship was revised in knock-out format and has now been televised since 1976. Viewers were spellbound when Cliff Thorburn completed the first televised 147 break – the magical maximum score – in 1985.
As with professional football, snooker rapidly became a sport of exceptionally talented personalities, from the extrovert ranks of Alex Higgins and Jimmy White to the cool, calm and collected Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry. As snooker has continued to grow, the top class tournaments have drawn talent from across the globe, including Ding Junhui of China and Marco Fu from Hong Kong.
The World Snooker Championship is without doubt the sport's most prestigious tournament. It takes place at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre across two weeks between April and May. As well as the coveted title, the winner also picks up £250,000 in prize money, plus world ranking points.
Although the Crucible Theatre only has a capacity of around 1,000 spectators, it has been the home of the World Snooker Championships since the mid 1970s, so early booking is strongly advised!
Yorkshire is not only home to the world's most prestigious snooker tournament, it's also proud to host the next in line, the UK Snooker Championship. This is held during December at the Barbican Centre in York and, like its illustrious counterpart, attracts the top names in British snooker. Steve Davis won the title six times in the 1980s and Stephen Hendry took the prize five times in the following decade.
Snooker's Premier League competition is held at various venues across the UK between September and December. Again, there are substantial prizes and the best players around. Only the top ranked players in the world take part, as the event is organised by invitation only.
Further afield, Cardiff International Arena hosts the Welsh Open (which Stephen Hendry has won three times) from late February through to March.
For smaller groups, our comfortable 8-str people carrier is ideal. Or, for arriving in real style, choose our luxury limousine and enjoy a complementary glass or two of bubbly on the way!