The World Seniors Championship: A complete Crucible backstage experience

The World Seniors Championship: A complete Crucible backstage experience

Sourav Duleep

Snooker’s most iconic venue

This isn’t just a blog; this is a story! A story of two young men who grew up watching Snooker and dreamt of visiting the Crucible one day. To the outside world, the Crucible Theatre is just another venue. To the world of snooker, it’s the holy grail. The place where nerves are trembling, tears are shed, and destinies are fulfilled. The Crucible is the home of snooker.

On this sunny Saturday afternoon, Sourav and Charlie, snooker enthusiasts from Cue & Case, found themselves driving to Sheffield to attend the semi-finals of the World Seniors Snooker Championship. A historic event crafted to honour the legends who made the sport what it is. Some of these legends may never set foot on the professional stage again, but the World Seniors celebrates their contribution to snooker and presents them with an opportunity to reminisce about their prime. As they approached the Crucible, their minds were filled with the excitement of having front-row tickets and backstage passes, courtesy of renowned referee, Michaela Tabb.

 

Behind the scenes at The Crucible

They entered the lounge to be greeted by 1980 World champion Cliff Thorburn, the first man to make a 147 break at the Crucible. Among the other personalities present in the lounge were legendary commentator and former player Neal Foulds and veteran Mike Dunn. After snapping a few photographs and securing autographs on their Cue Case, Sourav and Charlie were taken on a backstage tour of the venue by Michaela Tabb herself. With rumours swirling about the Crucible possibly losing its World Championship status in 2027, they felt fortunate to experience its grandeur before anything might change. Their complete backstage experience included a walkthrough of all activities behind the scenes to put the event together, an insight into the players’ point of view and an introduction to the team that pulls the strings.

 

Backstage at the Crucible Theatre

The World Championship Arena

On came the main attraction, as they entered the empty arena, walking the same path as the players would soon take. The Crucible was unlike any venue they’d ever seen. It was rustic, vintage and preserved like an antiquity that echoed thousands of matches. An intimate setting for a tussle on the green baize where every spectator felt equally part of the action. The Crucible was a theatre, and snooker was the drama. As the sport grows and the need for a larger venue beckons, one ponders whether the atmosphere at the Crucible can ever be matched.

The Snooker table in the arena

The semi-final

It was time for them to take their seats and welcome the players as the arena filled up. Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo and Malta’s Tony Drago walked into huge rounds of applause. Their friendship off the table put aside momentarily as they contested for a place in the final. Fans anticipated an attacking match; little did they know just how special it would be. There was a stark contrast between the hard-fought first frame and the remainder of the match. A series of quickfire breaks from either player saw the scoreline at 2-1 to Figueiredo within an hour in the best-of-seven encounter. There was no stopping the Brazilian as he put on a brilliant display, eclipsing Drago’s tournament high break of 91, knocking in the first century of the week. Having brought the house down, he followed it up with consecutive centuries and secured a comfortable 4-1 victory in what he described as the performance of his life.

The Trophy

Igor Figueiredo went on to lift the trophy in a momentous occasion for his career, and for the people of Brazil. It was the first instance of a South American claiming the gold on the world stage, one sure to inspire a generation of young snooker talents. The Crucible experience was everything Sourav and Charlie could have hoped for. Tickets are highly sought-after, and one can consider themselves lucky to have a seat to witness the action. But to be part of the inner circle even temporarily, is a rare occurrence, one that snooker fans can only dream of. A once-in-a-lifetime experience that they’ll never forget.