Who was the first overseas player to win the World Snooker Championship?
After the World Snooker Championship moved to its ‘spiritual home’ at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in 1977, the first overseas player to win was Canadian Cliff ‘The Grinder’ Thorburn who, in 1980, defeated the late Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins 18-16 in the best-of-35-frame final.
However, strictly speaking, much earlier in the history of the World Snooker Championship, in the days when it was still contested at various venues around Britain, and elsewhere, the first overseas player to win was Australian Horace Lindrum, in 1952. Be that as it may, the World Snooker Championship that year was an oddity insofar that a financial dispute between the Billiards Association and Control Council (BACC) and Professional Billiards Players’ Association (PBPA) led to a player boycott and left only two entrants.
Lindrum, who had previously finished runner-up to Joe Davis in the World Snooker Championship three times, in 1936, 1937 and 1946, faced reigning Professional Billiards Champion, New Zealander Clark McConachy, in a marathon, albeit one-sided, ‘final’ at Houldsworth Hall, Manchester. The best-of-145-frame match was contested over a total of 13 days between February 25 and March 8, 1952, but was effectively over after ten, when Lindrum took a winning 73-37 lead. Nevertheless, the pair earnestly played out all bar two of the remaining 35 ‘dead’ frames, to make the final score 94-49 in favour of Lindrum.