A Brief History of World Snooker Championships in Nottingham

17 April 17 words: Gav Squires

We take a dive into the geographical history of the World Snooker Championship, and dig up an old rivalry…

The World Snooker Championship has just started at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. For most people, it is indelibly linked with the city of Sheffield, where the final has been held since 1977, and the only connection to our fair city is when Anthony ‘Sheriff of Pottingham’ Hamilton plays. However, prior to its Sheffield residency, the championship was held all over the shop, including right here, in Nottingham. 

The quarter finals of the first ever World Snooker Championship were held in Nottingham at the Lord Nelson Hotel, Carlton Street, now known as the Six Barrels Draft House. Local lad Tom Dennis beat Fred Lawrence eight to six on the 9 and 10 December, 1926. Dennis would go on to win his semi-final in Birmingham, before losing the final to Joe Davis in the same city.

In 1928, the tournament was changed to a challenge event, where people played for the right to challenge the holder, Joe Davis, for the title. One of these matches took place at Lounge Hall on Shakespeare Street, Nottingham. Again, Tom Dennis, made a play for the title, but was defeated twelve to five by Tom Newman on the 29, 30 and 31 of March.

Lounge Hall went on to host the final in 1929. Tom Dennis tried his luck again, winning his semi-final in Loughborough before playing his nemesis Joe Davis for the crown. The final was held over 33 frames starting on Monday 4 March, ending on Thursday 7 March. Joe David led through the entire match, winning by seventeen frames to twelve. He was awarded the trophy by former Nottingham Forest and England footballer, and Nottinghamshire cricketer, Dr Tinsley Lindley OBE.

The 1930 final was held in London, where Joe Davis beat Tom Dennis yet again. In 1931, the final was back at Lounge Hall. Only two players entered the tournament, the arch rivals, Tom Dennis and Joe Davis. At one point, our Dennis was leading nineteen to sixteen, but Davis remained unbeatable in the end, winning twenty five to twenty one. Our guy just couldn’t get a break.

In 1933, the quarter final between Walter Donaldson from Glasgow and Willie Leigh from Derby was held at Lounge Hall, with the Scot winning by thirteen frames to eleven over three days between 23 and 25 of March. The final that year was held in Chesterfield, with Joe Davis keeping a firm grip on the champion title.

The World Snooker Championship came to Nottingham for the final time in 1934. Once again, only two players entered the tournament, and so only the final was played, starting on Monday 2 April and finishing on Friday 6 April. The first three days of the best of 45 frame match were held at Lounge Hall, with the final two days held in Kettering. The mighty Joe Davis won his eighth world title by defeating Tom Newman by twenty five frames to twenty two.

The World Snooker Championship may be set to be held in Sheffield until at least 2027, but it does have its moments of history, right here in Nottingham.

Read our interviews with world-ranked Notts snooker players Anthony Hamilton and Michael Holt

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