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Pot Black
Junior Pot Black
Invitation Events

Brief History of Pot Black
This simple single frame tournament has an important place in the history of the game, as it was its success that was the springboard for the sports popularity on television which in turn was responsible for the huge revival in the professional game.
In 1969 there were only a handful of professional players but colour television had just begun and the BBC wanted a programme to promote the service. The formula for the programme was devised by Ted Lowe who was to become the voice of snooker for many years. Pot Black made household names of players like Ray Reardon, John Spencer and Eddie Charlton who were previously unknown to all but a few devotees of the game.
Various formats have been tried and the number of players varied from eight in the first year down to six and up to sixteen. Initially a straight knockout was used but thereafter it was played under a round robin format which ensured every player had more than one game. All matches were played over a single frame except for the final which has been decided in many different ways. Initially that too was over just one frame but in 1974 an aggregate score over two frames was tried. That was immediately abandoned and the single frame restored until 1978 onwards when it was contested over the best of three frames.
Recording took place in a single day in the BBC’s Pebble Mill Studios in Birmingham but the matches were shown, one at a time, in a half hour programme weekly throughout the winter. The snooker press co-operated by not revealing any results until the matches had been transmitted.
The event continued every year until 1986 by which time more and more events were being added to the snooker calendar and most of them shown on television and so the Pot Black format was out dated. It was revived in 1991 under a new ‘time-frame’ format which limited the maximum time each player could spend at the table but its television slot was moved from peak evening to afternoon and interest waned although it was continued in 1992. There was a special event for seniors which reunited all the old stars from the original series in 1997, but that appeared to be the end of the event but its place in snooker history was assured.
It was something of a surprise when it was revived under the title Pot Black Cup in 2005. Eight top players were invited and again it was single frame matches but in straight knockout format. In a change from the past, the whole event was shown live on television on one day. Shaun Murphy made a break of 111, the highest ever in the tournament beating the 110 of Eddie Charlton made way back in 1973. In the 2006 final, Mark Williams set a new record with a break of 119. In 2007 the word ‘Cup’ was dropped from the title and it reverted to the simple ‘Pot Black’.
A junior version of the event was held for three years from 1981 and many players who later went on to greater things, made their TV debuts in that event including John Parrott, Neal Foulds, Dean Reynolds and a very young Stephen Hendry. It was briefly resurrected in 1991 when Ronnie O‘Sullivan was the winner. This event then returned in 2006 as a side event during the world championship with the final on the main match table.

Roll Of Honour   

Pot Black         

Year Venue Winner
Runner Up Score
1969 BBC Studios, Birmingham Ray Reardon John Spencer 88-29*
1970 BBC Studios, Birmingham John Spencer Ray Reardon 88-27*
1971 BBC Studios, Birmingham John Spencer Fred Davis 61-40*
1972 BBC Studios, Birmingham Eddie Charlton Ray Reardon 75-43*
1973 BBC Studios, Birmingham Eddie Charlton Rex Williams 93-33*
1974 BBC Studios, Birmingham Graham Miles John Spencer 147-86**
1975 BBC Studios, Birmingham Graham Miles Dennis Taylor 81-27*
1976 BBC Studios, Birmingham John Spencer Dennis Taylor 69-42*
1977 BBC Studios, Birmingham Perrie Mans Doug Mountjoy 90-21*
1978 BBC Studios, Birmingham Doug Mountjoy Graham Miles 2-1***
1979 BBC Studios, Birmingham Ray Reardon Doug Mountjoy 2-1***
1980 BBC Studios, Birmingham Eddie Charlton Ray Reardon 2-1***
1981 BBC Studios, Birmingham Cliff Thorburn Jim Wych 2-0***
1982 BBC Studios, Birmingham Steve Davis Eddie Charlton 2-0***
1983 BBC Studios, Birmingham Steve Davis Ray Reardon 2-0***
1984 BBC Studios, Birmingham Terry Griffiths John Spencer 2-1***
1985 BBC Studios, Birmingham Doug Mountjoy Jimmy White 2-0***
1986 BBC Studios, Birmingham Jimmy White Kirk Stevens 2-1***
1991 BBC Studios, Birmingham Steve Davis Stephen Hendry 2-1***
1992 Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool Neal Foulds James Wattana #
1993 information not available Steve Davis MIke Hallett #
2005 RAC Club, London Matthew Stevens Shaun Murphy 53-27*
2006 RAC Club, London Mark J. Williams John Higgins 119-13*
2007 Sheffield City Hall Ken Doherty Shaun Murphy 71-36*
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Junior Pot Black
Year Venue Winner
Runner Up Score
1981 BBC Studios, Birmingham Dean Reynolds Dene O'Kane 151-79**
1982 BBC Studios, Birmingham John Parrott John Keers 169-70**
1983 BBC Studios, Birmingham John Parrott Steve Ventham #
1991 BBC Studios, Birmingham Ronnie O'Sullivan # #
2006 Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Stuart Carrington Anthony McGill 58-46*
2007 Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Mitchell Mann Jack Lisowski 76-23*
2008 Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Jason Devaney Duane Jones 61-28*

Seniors Pot Black
Year Venue Winner
Runner Up Score
1997 Goodwood House Joe Johnson Terry Griffiths n/a

* Final decided over a single frame
** Final decided on aggregate score over two frames
***Final decided on best of three frames
# Information not available

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©Chris Turner 2008