Alex Higgins – his greatest breaks

Alex Higgins, who would have celebrated his 71st birthday on Wednesday, remains one of the most famous names in snooker even a decade after his death.

Higgins helped lift sport into a new era of global television audiences with his volatile temperament and his ability to summon dramatic performances when it mattered.

Here the PA News Agency picks out five of Higgins’ greatest breaks:

69 v Jimmy White
1982 World Championship semi-final

Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins
Alex Higgins edged Jimmy White in a classic (PA Archive)

Trailing 15-14 in their best-of-31 clash, Higgins looked down and out when he came to the table trailing 59-0. But he summoned one of the most famous clearances in snooker history, despite constantly falling out of position, to retrieve the frame and go on to win the match and ultimately the title.

44 v Steve Davis
1983 UK Championship final

Snooker – Coral UK Snooker Championship – Final – Alex Higgins v Steve Davis – Guildhall, Preston
Alex Higgins saw off his great rival Steve Davis (PA Archive)

Higgins had clawed his way back from 7-0 down in a tempestuous clash with his old rival, and the pair went into a final frame decider locked at 15-15. Higgins held his nerve with a careful break of 44 which ultimately saw him over the line against his shell-shocked opponent.

135 v Ray Reardon
1982 World Championship final

Alex Higgins
Alex Higgins secured an emotional win over Ray Reardon (PA Archive)

Needing one more frame to win his second world title 10 years after his first, Higgins capitalised on a loose safety by Reardon to bullet home a long red and stick for the black. It paved the way for a stunning clearance of 135 to take the title – followed by an emotional embrace with his young daughter Lauren.

62 v Stephen Hendry
1989 Irish Masters final

Stephen Hendry
A young Stephen Hendry was dazzled by Alex Higgins (John Giles/PA)

Beyond his 40th birthday and with his career seemingly set into decline, Higgins roused himself to sink up-and-coming Hendry amid incredibly raucous scenes in the final of the Irish Masters in County Kildare. Every ball of the 62 break which gave the veteran a 9-8 victory was cheered to the rafters by a capacity crowd.

137 v Tai Pichit
1995 World Championship qualifier

SHOWBIZ Higgins Tobacco Wars 3
Alex Higgins struggled in his final years (PA Media)

Higgins recorded his highest competitive break against the former Buddhist monk Pichit, who looked on in alarm as the troubled Higgins began crying as he swept up the colours. Earlier in the match, which Higgins lost 10-5, he accused referee John Williams of being “in his line of thought”.

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