The Cannock Kid

Article by Elliott West

Let’s rewind the clock a few years and go back to the golden era of snooker when the clothes were loud and the music even louder. The sport was in a fabulous place and audience figures were high. One such player at this time was the lad from the north, Steve James.

James was a memorable figure and one that appeared on my television screen when I first started watching snooker. His distinctive hair, best described as a mullet and distinctive accent, masked a true genius on the baize. James was an attacking player and high break builder. The former postman,didn’t really win any titles in his career apart the Open in 1990, when he beat Warren King 10-8 in the final.

I was in awe when I first saw Steve play. His cue action was amazing and whizzed around the table like a clockwork toy, rarely missing  in his suit and half mast tie. The former number seven player was at the crest of a snooker wave when Davis was at his peak and Higgins on his decline. He played them all and won a few matches on the way, famously reaching the semi finals of the World Championship in 1991 after defeating Stephen Hendry in the previous round, the reigning champion. This really was the pinnacle of his career as Hendry was in his true prime at the time and if he hadn’t come across White in the next round he may have reached the final.

James is best known for his classic match against Alex Higgins in 1990 at the World Championship when he made the dream break of potting sixteen reds, a free ball, followed by all the reds and colours. This was the first time that this happened in competitive play and was fortunately televised. This frame is probably the most watched on You Tube as much as Higgin’s 69 break, Taylor winning the 85 final and Thorburn’s Crucible 147.

James had the world and cue in his hands, making two centuries in his debut at the Crucible, the quarter final that year and a 140 break on the way. However his luck was to run out when he left the baize. Like so many players at the time he spent money faster than a running tap. Despite making a vast fortune in career winnings; £758,213, James couldn’t keep his wallet in his pocket.

We were unable to locate where Steve James is now but from the team here at website we all hope you are keeping well.