Tony Knowles, the pin-up boy of snooker in the early 1980s, announced himself to the public when he sensationally thrashed reigning champion, Steve Davis, in the opening match of the 1982 world championship.
Tony’s father was the steward of a local Conservative Club and introduced his son to snooker at the age of nine. With plenty of time for practice, he forsook a career as a graphic artist and turned to the green baize full time, although he didn’t apply for professional status until 1979.
He won the 1972 National Under-19 title and in practice, made his first century break. He added a second Under-19 title two years later.
His professional career got off to a slow start and it was over a year before he won a match in a major tournament. He qualified for the World Championship in 1981, losing in the first round to Graham Miles.
The following autumn he reached the UK quarter-final and then came the 1982 world. He had to qualify again and was drawn to play the defending champion, Steve Davis. No one was prepared for what happened.
The Bolton cueman led 4-0 at the first interval and ended the session 8-1 up before running out a 10-1 winner. He went on to the quarter finals before Eddie Charlton beat him 13-11.
That run at the Crucible catapulted Knowles into the top 16 and he started the next season by winning the opening ranking event, the Jameson International. On his return to Sheffield a run to the semi-finals pushed him up to fourth in the world.
1983/84 brought further success. Runner up spot in the Scottish Masters to Steve Davis was followed by his second ranking title, The Professional Players, culminating in a career high of second in the rankings.
The next season he reached two more finals, the Jameson International and the English Professional, but Davis beat him on each occasion.
Knowles maintained a ranking in the low twenties until well into the nineties before failing to retain his place for the 1997/98 tour.
He still occasionally plays in senior events, and runs a bar in the Lake District.