Former Crucible king Ken Doherty joins Michael McMullan for the new episode of the WST Podcast.
Looking back on the build up to the 1997 World Championship, Doherty recalls: “I said to Ronnie O’Sullivan, ‘let’s practise for this together.’ Every day for two weeks before we went to Sheffield, we played each other from 10am to 6pm. It really sharpened me up, but he was absolutely flying, making a lot of 147s. I felt he would be the man to beat at the Crucible. Stephen Hendry hadn’t lost there for five years, but I thought Ronnie was the player who could beat him.
“Then Ronnie made a 147 in the first round, which is probably the greatest frame of snooker we’ve ever seen, it will never be repeated. But then he went out to Darren Morgan in the second round, and I beat Steve Davis 13-3. That gave me so much confidence. Going into the final I was nervous because Hendry was almost unbeatable, and playing him at the Crucible was like playing an away game in football, he was so used to playing in those conditions with one table. I knew the chance wouldn’t come along very often and I had to seize the day.
“When he came back from 15-7 to 15-12, that was the only time I got really nervous. I was sitting in my chair telling myself ‘please don’t collapse.’ So when I eventually cleared up to win 18-12 it was just magical. I still get goosebumps when I think about it.”
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