World Championship: Title win was the pinnacle of my career - Terry Griffiths

Griffiths on 40 years at the Crucible
Terry Griffiths lost to Steve Davis in the 1988 World Championship final

Terry Griffiths acknowledges winning the World Snooker Championship 40 years ago changed his life.

A successful amateur player, Griffiths, from Llanelli, won the title at his first attempt, with a 24-16 victory over Dennis Taylor in April 1979.

The then 31-year-old's one and only world title at Sheffield's Crucible remains one of Welsh sports most enduring stories.

"From being a miner at 15 years of age in Pontarddulais, then I was a bus conductor and a postman and then went on to work in insurance," Griffiths recalls.

"Next thing I was champion of the world.

"It was a great thing for me - the pinnacle of my career."

Griffiths admits he found it difficult to handle the adulation that came with being a newly crowned world champion and found it hard being away from home playing in exhibition matches.

"It did change my life," said Griffiths, who received a cheque of £10,000 for beating Taylor.

"At the end of the day you don't really understand what's happened until you get older and have time to think about things,.

"I see my name on the trophy sometimes and have a replica of the trophy, which is all very nice."

Griffiths' road to the final saw him beat the previous year's runner-up Perrie Mans and a thrilling 13-12 victory over Alex Higgins in the quarter-finals.

"I'm in the final now, you know," was Griffiths' famous reaction when interviewed by the BBC's David Vine following his semi-final victory over Eddie Charlton.

The win over Charlton set up a final against Northern Ireland's Dennis Taylor, a more experienced player but also appearing in his first final.

Terry Griffiths and Dennis Taylor
Terry Griffiths is congratulated by Dennis Taylor after winning the 1979 World Snooker Championship

"I think people like it when underdogs come through something like that and win a tournament," Griffiths added.

"Dennis was a very good player - very experienced and I wasn't. I'd just been an amateur.

"I started well and as the game went on and on, I just couldn't play for a while and it was then 15-15.

"The next day was the big day and I played exceptionally well against him and won nine out of the 10 frames and won 24-16, which was incredible for me.

"Most people had never seen me play before.

"Dennis and me were good friends and we had to go to the reception but I didn't have a car.

"So I asked him if I could put the trophy in his boot and he said 'yes of course'.

"But afterwards he said 'I can't believe you asked me to put the trophy in the boot'. I was just asking him a favour!"

Griffiths has been a regular visitor to the Crucible ever since, where he has been on hand to coach a number of players.

"People still come to me for a photograph and an autograph and I finished playing 21 years ago," he said.

"I just love the place and love the Crucible Theatre and all the excitement it brings in snooker.

"We get it every year, no matter who is playing and you're going to get these matches that turn and people come from behind.

"I just love it but I won't again now because I've finished going to venues and coaching back home in the Terry Griffiths Matchroom only now. I'll miss it."

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