Snooker’s Oldest World Champions

Ronnie O'Sullivan is showing that age is no hinderance having moved back to the top of the world rankings and he would top this list if he were to win the world title again.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

With snooker’s famous Class of 1992 still going strong in the table game, in the lead-up to this year’s World Championship we take a look at the oldest players to be crowned global green-baize kings.

Modern Era

1 Ray Reardon (aged 45 years & 203 days when victorious in 1978)

The Welshman, winner of six World Championship crowns, captured his last big one at the Crucible in 1978.

However, given that Dracula, as Reardon was known, claimed his final career world-ranking triumph aged 50 years and 14 days in 1982, there is clearly still hope for this year’s Crucible fortysomethings.

Reardon first won the world title in 1970 so was the undisputed king of Seventies snooker, although his great rival John Spencer was crowned the first king of the Crucible Theatre when the sport moved there in 1977.

2 Ronnie O’Sullivan (aged 44 years & 254 days when victorious in 2020)

Two members of the Class of 92, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams, are the second and third oldest world champions in the modern era.

O’Sullivan leapfrogged Williams into second place on the list when victorious over Kyren Wilson in the 2020 final.
And with the Rocket, another six-time champion of the world, still eyeing Stephen Hendry’s record of seven Crucible crowns and John Higgins and Williams still producing top-drawer snooker, it’s quite possible that Reardon won’t head the chart for much longer.

3 Mark Williams (aged 43 years when victorious in 2018)

Mark Williams had threatened to do his press conference wrapped only in a towel if he was to capture a third world title in 2018, and the Welsh potting machine was true to his word after defeating fellow Class of 92 luminary John Higgins in the Sheffield marathon.

Williams had won his first two world crowns in 2000, when proving too good for compatriot Matthew Stevens, and 2003, when defeating the 1998 champion Ken Doherty.

So it was a long wait of 15 years until Williams returned to the winner’s circle with a victory that seemed to surprise himself as much as anyone.

Days of Yore

4 Joe Davis (aged 45 when victorious in 1946)

Having dealt with snooker’s modern-era champions, it’s only right that the early legends of the game are remembered and long before Reardon, Steve Davis, Hendry and O’Sullivan ruled the baize, the man they all had to beat was Joe Davis.

The Derbyshire cueman, snooker’s first world champion in 1927, dominated the game until 1940, winning all world crowns in those years.

The tournament took a break during World War Two but when it returned in 1946, Davis claimed his 15th and final world championship triumph aged 45.

His younger brother Fred would go on to win the World Championship eight times between 1948 and 1956.

5 John Pulman (aged 44 when victorious in 1968)

The man who relieved Fred Davis of the world title was Devonian potter John Pulman.

Following his 1957 final victory over Jackie Rea, there was no World Championship staged between 1958 and 1963, but when the tournament returned, Pulman was the man to beat in the Sixties, taking the title twice in 1964, three times in 1965 and also in 1966 and 1968 (there was no event in 1967).

Pulman was 44 when defeating Eddie Charlton in the 1968 final.

Aaron is Mr Versatile – he covers all sports but with a particular passion for football, tennis and snooker.
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