Achievements of former snooker world champion Cliff Thorburn to be celebrated in Sheffield as part of special event in run up to World Championships

Sheffield will underline its tag as the home of snooker when former greats of the sport battle it out in the build up to this year’s World Championships.

Thursday, 28th February 2019, 3:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th February 2019, 3:12 pm
Cliff Thorburn in action at the Crucible in 1977

As well as playing host to the game's top 32 players for 17 days between April 20 and May 6, the Crucible Theatre will also stage the Sheffield Masters –  featuring former World Snooker professionals.

The tournament will celebrate the achievements of former world champion Cliff Thorburn, from Canada, and will be held on Thursday, April 11.

Cliff Thorburn in action at the Crucible in 1977

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It will also include a visit from Sarah Fountain Smith, the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner to the UK as well as a champions’ dinner the night before.

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said: “It’s going to be a lot of fun.

“The Sheffield Masters is a World Seniors Snooker tour event that’s been put together to bring all of our past masters back and to bring some of the sport’s great characters back.

“We have got a great passion towards Sheffield – we love the place, we love the Crucible and we love the people. It’s just a great place to be.

Mark Williams and John Higgins in the final of 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

“We spend a lot of time there during the year, I hold a lot of meetings there and it’s just a wonderful city and it’s great to see it developing and we have seen our sport grow with it.”

Former professionals including Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty, John Virgo, John Parrott, Joe Johnson, Dennis Taylor and Jimmy White will also be rolling back the years when they take to the baize at the home of snooker.

The event will also see a golf day at Dore and Totley Golf Club on Wednesday, April 10 and a champions’ dinner and auction 10 at The Kenwood Hall Hotel and Spa taking place on the evening of April 10. 

There will be a raffle and auction with all proceeds being donated to the Sheffield charity Eden Dora Trust for Children with Encephalitis.

Steve Davis in action at last year's Sheffield Masters.

Organisers are now now looking for sponsors for the golf day , the pre-champions dinner drinks reception and the dinner itself .

Tickets are also on sale for the snooker tournament , the golf day and for tables of eight or 10 at the champions’ dinner at The Kenwood Hotel and Spa . 

The Canadian Deputy High Commissioner's husband –  Richard Smith –  will be playing in the golf tournament on the morning of Wednesday April 10.

Mr Ferguson said: “Sheffield Masters was there last April and it was kind of a bit more of an exhibition format but it’s become more competitive now as we have developed it.

World Professional Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Sealed with a kiss - Stephen Hendry with the trophy gets a kiss from girlfriend Mandy Tart - 30th April 1995

“The Seniors tour has gone from one or two events to around six and, very importantly, one of them is now in Sheffield.”

Mr Thorburn, from British Columbia, Canada, famously defeated Alex Higgins 18-16 at the Crucible in 1980 to become the sport’s first world champion from outside the UK.

He remains the only champion from the Americas.

Mr Ferguson said: “The whole concept of the event is to honour Cliff and celebrate his career.

“What has he done in the sport and for the sport is amazing. He was the first oversees World Championship winner and he helped to make the sport go global.”

The tournament will also be broadcast live on national TV – on FreeSports.

For more information on the snooker tournament or to book tickets visit or call 0114 2496000.

Or for more information on The Eden Dora Trust for Children with encephalitis, run by Petrina Sill email [email protected]

And to find out more about sponsorship opportunities , to book to play in the golf day or to buy a table at The Champions dinner , email [email protected]