CUEVIEW - Willie Thorne Exclusive
StBlazeySnooker | On 28, Nov 2012
Today I was lucky enough to chat on the phone to the legend that is ‘The Great WT’ snookers Mr Maximum, yes Willie Thorne. Willie was very candid with his answers and we hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did talking to him.
STBS – What is your full name please
WT – Willie Thorne
STBS – Your Highest Break
WT – 198 – but it’s 14 years since i played
STBS – Are you Left/Right Handed or both
WT – I’m right handed and couldn’t make a 20 break left handed
STBS – Bio about yourself (in no more than 200 words)
WT – Born in Anstey, Leicester in March of 1954, snooker was introduced into Willie’s life from a young age. When his brother Malcolm asked for a 6ft x 3ft snooker table for Christmas, in true brotherly style, Willie started playing the game at every opportunity, quickly becoming obsessed. As he perfected his game, his parents were supportive of his passion; his mother bought him his first snooker cue when Willie turned 14, a cue he continued to use, with adaptations, throughout his entire career.
Honing his skills as a junior player, Thorne became national under-16 champion at both snooker and English billiards in 1970. Since then, Willie’s snooker playing career became a certainty. In a career spanning three decades, Willie can now boast holding a total of 14 tournament victories worldwide.
“The Great WT”, as he is affectionately known, was a regular in the Top 16 World Ranking players for well over a decade and is one of the top record breakers for the highest number of 147 breaks in the history of snooker (190), earning him his recognisable nickname “Mr Maximum”. Willie has definitely established himself as one of the greatest characters of snooker for over 25 years.
Willie Thorne on Jonathan Barron…“One of the best talented amateur players I have ever seen, but he never really seemed to want to turn pro, I used to go down to Cornwall quite a lot playing the likes of Charlie Gay and various exhibitions, Jonathan always seem to be a bit shy really, but I do have some really fond memories of Cornwall that’s for sure.”
STBS – What was your first ever memory of snooker?
WT – Purely by accident really, my brother had a table given to him as a christmas present, i hadn’t really noticed the game really till then and we started playing together. My father worked in amine and the mine closed, so he took a job at the local conservative club, I went with him and started playing on full size tables.
STBS – At what age did you start playing snooker and why?
WT – I started playing at about 13 and then I started entering the boys championships at 14.
STBS – What has been your greatest achievement in snooker?
WT – Winning my first major tournament which was the mercantile credit classic, i only won the won ranking event but won 14 other tournaments around the world, I could seem to win abroad but not in this country.
STBS – Who is the most famous professional player you have played or met? (can be modern or older era)
WT – The player with the most ability is undoubtably Ronnie O’Sullivan, the best break builder I have ever seen was Stephen Hendry, and the best match player is Steve Davis
I think if they all played there very best then Ronnie would win, although its difficult to say as they all played in different eras
STBS – Who is your favourite TV commentator?
WT – Neal Foulds, well that’s not fair I love them all really, all the people I work with 🙂
STBS – What has been the most memorable snooker match you have ever seen?
WT – There have been so many really, playing wise it was the UK final when I let 13-8 and got beat 16-14. There have been so many matches that have been superb so it’s a hard one to call but if I had to it would be the final of the Charity Challenge Birmingham , Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stephen Hendry, Ronnie was 8-2 behind and levelled at 8-8 and then Hendry made a 147 in the final frame to win.
STBS -Who is the most under-rated player in professional snooker?
WT – Well Stuart Bingham was until just recently, was always a class player but had never really got the results he wanted until the last few tournaments really, other players that spring to mind hmmm I suppose Jimmy White obviously all those world finals and never won the world championship.
STBS – Funniest moment in your snooker experience?
WT – That has to be Bill Werbenik when he was playing on the opposite table to me and his pants split, and he doesn’t wear any underwear soooo, that would be censored these days
STBS – Who is your bogey player?
WT – Probably Doug Mountjoy, I played Terry Griffiths about 10 times and lost to him once, Mountjoy played Griffiths I don’t know how many times and beat him, but I played Mountjoy 3 times and lost every one, there is no form line to that is there really.
STBS – What is your favourite Professional and why?
WT – When Ronnie O’Sullivan is playing I prefer to watch him play but he is such a genius, I like working with Shaun Murphy, done a bit of coaching with him, and enjoy watching him play. But commentating and watching wise it has to be Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Images Courtesy of: Willie Thorne