Ipswich: Corn Exchange-bound Steve Davis snookers my chances of being a world champ

Snooker Legends' Steve Davis. Photo: Lustig Photography

Snooker Legends' Steve Davis. Photo: Lustig Photography - Credit: Archant

Six-times World Snooker Champion Steve Davis has just dashed any lingering hopes I had of following in his footsteps. Laughing when I tell him how bad I am, it turns out relentless practice isn’t enough.

Snooker Legends' Jimmy White

Snooker Legends' Jimmy White - Credit: Archant

“Like many things, the amount of time people spend on it can have an effect... it’s whether you’ve got the knack for it, or not. Some people do and it’s frustrating for those who don’t.”

The Nuggett is swapping Ant and Dec and the Australian jungle for Ipswich Corn Exchange when this year’s Snooker Legends tour comes to the Corn Exchange on May 9.

He’ll take on people’s champion, and fellow I’m A Celebrity... survivor, Jimmy “Whirlwind” White in a repeat of the 1984 World Final with Dennis Taylor compering and showing off some trick shots.

“I tend to think I’ve probably got the edge (over White in terms of previous clashes) but I’m not strong on stats. We played a few times in the World Championship and I think I’ve probably done better than Jimmy in those... we’ve had so many matches it’s hard to remember them all.”

The tour is meant to be a fun night out, a celebration of all things good historically about the game which has become a pastime for millions. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win.

“Primarily you hope it’s a good night, there’s nothing at stake. Because you’re naturally competitive you still want to be on the table as opposed to sitting in your seat, you still want to beat the other guy because you want to be the guy knocking the balls in because that’s what you want to do. (It’s) not life or death but you still enjoy the challenge of the night.”

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Davis admits part of him would still like to be centre stage come day of the big final; competing but not always getting as far as you’d like is part of the circle of life. He’s not one for looking back, laughing when I ask if he has a trophy room.

“I’ve got bundles of videos or DVDs now somewhere, but I never look at any of them. To be honest, the pleasure is the actual process of doing it (playing) really. Once it’s done it’s done and you just move on to the next one.

“It’s nice to have been involved in something I love doing and turned into a profession... I was lucky enough to be there in the first wave of the (game’s) popularity in the 1980s which are considered now to be the golden period for the game in the UK. I’ve been lucky enough to see it becoming popular in other countries where it hadn’t before like Germany and China,” says Davis, who still plays and competes there.

“I’ve had some good times. I don’t really spend too many hours either contemplating the past decades of the games let alone watching them or looking at trophies. A lot of the trophies you give back.”

You’d think commentating was less stressful than playing, but that’s not always the case he says; admitting he often question’s people’s choice of shots.

“I’d say the general standard today is far more aggressive than the general standard of player from yesteryear. The game has become much more attacking as the years have gone on, it’s much kill or be killed as opposed to wait and try and strangle somebody.

“As many times as you question their shots you’re also in admiration for the ones they take. As many times as you think you picked out what you think is the right shot, somebody comes out with a shot that surprises you so you can learn while your commentating effectively.”

Both are better than downing balls of a different kind on hit ITV1 show I’m A Celebrity.

“I didn’t get too much of that to be quite honest,” says Davis, who had to turn down a previous invitation due to his snooker commitments.

“Everyone has different experiences in there, I bypassed most of those just by luck more than anything I suppose, but I just enjoyed it, it was a bit like Centre Parcs without the food really.”