The top sports competitors are measured during their careers by the major titles and trophies they win. There’s one achievement, though, attained by very few, that’s normally reserved for long after they finish playing — to have a major trophy named after them. It’s recently been announced that two of snooker’s greatest classic names have been honoured in this way.
The Alex Higgins Trophy
Alex “Hurricane” Higgins was not only one of the most successful snooker players ever, but also one of the most popular. One of only ten players to win the Triple Crown, Higgins won his first World Championship at the age of 22, the youngest ever till Stephen Hendry broke his record in 1990. World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn has described him as “one of snooker’s all-time greats.”
It wasn’t just titles that made Higgins great, though. His exciting, fast-paced style of play, which earned him his nickname, made him the most popular player of his time and attracted increasing numbers of viewers to the sport. His influence is often said to be a crucial factor in snooker’s immense appeal in the 1980s. When he died in 2010, thousands lined the streets of Belfast for his funeral.
The inaugural Northern Ireland Open will be held this autumn, from the 14th to the 20th November, and the world’s top snooker players will be competing for the Alex Higgins Trophy.
The Ray Reardon Trophy
Ray Reardon dominated snooker in the 1970s, winning the World Championship six times. A former miner from the Welsh Valleys, Reardon was a great entertainer as well as a great player, extremely popular despite his appearance earning him the nickname “Dracula”.
Reardon was supreme in most aspects of the game, but especially for his phenomenal long-potting. He was a consistently great player, at one stage winning seventeen World Championship matches without a defeat, taking him to four consecutive championships.
Unlike Higgins, Reardon, now 83, has lived to enjoy his honour, commenting “I'm ecstatic about it. It's a real honour.” The Welsh Open has been running since 1992, but next year’s tournament, played from the 13th to the 19th February, will be the first time players compete for the Ray Reardon Trophy.
Looking Forward to Great Snooker
The Welsh and Northern Ireland Opens are just two of the great snooker tournaments we at Hamilton Billiards are looking forward to. They’re made special, though, by their association with two of the finest players the UK has ever produced.
We’d like to congratulate Ray Reardon and the memory of Alex Higgins on this recognition of their greatness.