Where are they now?




As both Snooker and Billiards are now recognised as young men’s games, I find myself wondering what happened to certain players who graced our television screens only a few short years ago.

Most people who keep even a casual eye on Snooker these days are well aware of the coaching skill of Terry Griffiths. Terry was world Snooker champion in 1979 and won a host of other titles throughout his career including both Benson & Hedges titles and was a stalwart of the top sixteen for many seasons. It is also common knowledge that Terry has a Snooker club in Llanelli in South Wales and that he promotes events to support the development of young players throughout the country. 

I find myself wondering about other players who will have shared the spotlight with Terry in many a match up and down the country. I know that Mike Hallett, a former Masters runner up often does excellent commentary work for Sky Sports but what does he do for the rest of the year? I know that it is really none of my business but can’t help being interested.

I read with more than a little disappointment of the retirement of Darren Morgan some years ago. Darren withstood a terrible few years both on and off the table. I for one was behind him, in fact I was in the audience when he won his recent, Pontins professional title and enjoyed every minute of it. A friend of mine was with me and got a little carried away, shouting “best in Wales Darren”, the comment was meant as a compliment as Darren had just beaten Mark Williams. Perhaps Darren will open a snooker club, like Mr Griffiths.

I hope that his fellow professionals support him should he make such a choice, as a good launch can make such a difference to a new club.

I also wonder about Tony Meo, Tony was for many years the youngest player to make a 147 in a competition, until Ronnie O’Sullivan took the record a few years ago. Tony showed a side of his Snooker playing ability, a style that proved him worthy of his top sixteen position when carrying Steve Davis in the world doubles championships. Seriously Tony was determined and resolute throughout the doubles tournaments that he and Steve won, often taking full advantage when Steve forced an opening. Just the kind of doubles partner that anyone would want at this level. Perhaps Tony runs a chain of quality clothing stores or a restaurant, I am afraid that I can not say.

Another player with tremendous talent was the New Zealander, Dene O’Kane, I remember him playing Steve Davis in the world team cup, what a match. Dene may well work for his local library as custodian of his beloved “Spencer on Snooker” book, the one that he studied as a youngster due to lack of sufficiently skilled opposition. I also like that particular book, so feel a particular empathy for Dene as he used it to hone his game. 

I also remember the play and the infectious, knowledgeable commentaries of David Taylor, the “Silver Fox”. I always had the feeling that the Fox would have been happier running a bookshop, selling antiquarian books rather than competing on the Snooker circuit. His ability was tremendous, he once famously completed three consecutive total clearances, a world record at the time. I know that he used a Burwat Champion cue for a time, whether his record breaking clearances were made with such a cue is a mystery to me, I would like to think that they were. I also remember David’s commentary on Steve Davis’s 147, never has a person seemed so supportive and positive about what was unfolding on the table as he was that night, another piece of history that was enhanced by David’s involvement.

I hope that the players that I have mentioned are all well and that should a seniors world championship ever take place as a major undertaking, that they would be given the opportunity to take part. Darren you may have to wait a while, but I hope that you would give it a go, as a former Asian Open champion, you will one day be a fine edition to such an event.

David Smith

© Copyright March 2003 David Smith