Crucible characters day five: Kirk Stevens
The Canadian had quality but also had to battle demons.
For every Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry, snooker also boasted its bit-part players: the what-might-have-beens and never-minds, who left their own small but indelible mark upon the sport.
For the duration of the postponed World Championships, the PA news agency is turning its focus on the Crucible characters who never quite made the competition’s last three days.Mon Apr 20 1300
Clad in his trademark bright white suit, Kirk Stevens swaggered out of the Canadian pool halls and took snooker – and the newspaper front pages – by storm.
Stevens’ brash and impetuous style instantly aligned him with the sport’s ‘bad boy’ brigade of Alex Higgins and Jimmy White, and for a time he looked set to ride his way right to the top of the the game.
He made one of the sport’s first televised maximums in a 1984 Benson and Hedges Masters clash with White, with whom he shared a memorably champagne-soaked post-match interview with the BBC’s David Vine.
Stevens reached two Crucible semi-finals, being edged out by Higgins on his second visit in 1980, and White in a predictably high-octane match-up four years later.
In 1985, shortly after being accused by his opponent Silvino Francisco of being “high as a kite” during their British Open final, Stevens laid bare his cocaine addiction in the British tabloids.
After admitting he was “helplessly addicted” to the drug, Stevens’ game never really recovered. He tumbled down the rankings and quit the professional circuit for good in 1992 to return to Canada.
Tracked down by The Observer to his home in Ontario in 2002, Stevens reflected: “It was embarrassing, being on the front pages all the time, and I was just exhausted from fighting all the s***.”
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