Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Hendry rolls back years to his Glory Days

It was a time for reminiscing this week as the World Championship snooker returned to our screens for just the 17 days of action from Sheffield.



It hasn’t exactly been the calm and quiet start you would expect from a world of silence and decorum, with Mark Williams setting the ball rolling with a blast about the Crucible before a tip was chalked in anger and then Mark Allen, Antrim’s ambassador to China, having another pop.

I know Antrim well. It’s quite big but even at a push there’s not enough to go to war with China, and I can’t wait to see their faces in the Riverside Snooker Club as a tank trundles down High Street looking for snooker lippy.

No such problems with Stephen Hendry (pictured) who fired in a 147 to show that while form may be temporary, class — on and off the baize — is permanent.

However, I did watch this on the Beeb’s red button service entitled ‘Hendry’s 147’ so it did take a little of the mystery out of that tricky red, but no matter.

It was fantastic, his 10th maximum in tournament play Neal Foulds told us, and having made a 43 myself I know the sort of pressures Hendry was under, although clearly not as much as it was affecting Foulds.

“This is very similar to the one Cliff Thorburn had on this very table,” he said, echoing Trigger’s award for his broom on Only Fools and Horses. I believe the table has had 17 new cloths and 14 new cushions since Cliff and his fags made his 147 in 1983.

It may feature in next week’s edition of ‘Glory Days’, a ‘journey through the extensive sporting archive of BBC Northern Ireland,” our tour guide, Jackie Fullerton, told us on Monday night, although he did look as if he was stuck in the middle of a car boot sale.

We started with the 70s and it was the usual wander down memory boulevard, clips surrounded by music and contributions by the great and good of local sport and Liam Beckett too. With hair.

It was informative too, for example a caption telling us that Brazil won the World Cup in 1972, not bad having won it two years previously (obviously someone on secondment from Final Score) and learning that Jackie is a useless flicker, as he took two goes to move his wee Subbuteo man.

But a promising start and I look forward to the Eighties this week. If Paul Hardy’s Irish Cup final goal is not on, I’ll be borrowing a tank from Mark Allen and heading to Belfast.

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