Six-time World Champion Steve Davis’ 36-year stint as a main tour professional was brought to an end in the early hours of Friday morning following a 10-8 defeat to Craig Steadman in the World Championship qualifiers. | 4/12/2014
The 56-year-old has been relegated from the main tour after late-night defeat to Steadman ensured he would end the season outside of the world's top 64 - with only the top 64 retaining their tour cards.
The 28-time ranking event winner must battle through qualifying school at the end of May if he is to regain his spot among the sport's elite.
Davis, one of snooker's greatest ambassadors and a household name during the sport's golden era in the 1980s, threatened a late fightback against Steadman in his second round qualifier for the World Championship, but it proved insufficient as he was edged out at approaching 1am.
A slow start saw Davis fall 6-3 behind after the first session, with Steadman producing a high break of 122, and when the 31-year-old added a 74 break after the restart, it appeared the beginning of the end for Davis.
The pair traded the next two frames for 8-4, before Davis fired in a notable 61 break to clinch frame 13, only for Steadman to move the brink of victory after edging a scrappy 14th.
In typical fashion though, Davis was to produce a fascinating display of match play snooker, kicking off with a 98 break for 9-6, followed by back-to-back tactical frames to claw back to 9-8.
A marathon 18th frame saw Davis draw upon more than three decades of experience at the highest level, but his resistance was finally broken as Steadman punished on the final colours to seal 'The Nugget's' fate.
Davis had continued to defy the age gap by remaining the elder statesman on the circuit, but when results began to desert him at the beginning of the season, the Romford star took the decision to swap the baize for the jungle.
He chose not to enter the UK Championship in York, instead swapping his cue for the jungle and ITV's reality show “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!”
This meant that he was to sacrifice valuable ranking points from one of the season's most important events and ultimately proved fatal in terms of his immediate snooker career.
The popular star, though, remains upbeat about his future, and told the Daily Star he plans to battle on.
"My ambition is that when I am 60, I am still playing on the tour. And falling off this season will not change that. Hopefully it would just be for a year.
"My father said he wanted to live until he was 90, so I said to him alright then, I will try to be on tour until I am 60'. So that is my goal and challenge.
"It would just mean I had to use whatever route to get back on next season, and that would be either the Q-School or more likely the PTC events," he added.
Also a BBC Sport pundit, Davis turned professional in 1978 and won his world titles between 1981 and 1989. He last made the Quarter-Finals of the World Championship four years ago.
He is remembered particularly for contesting the 1985 World Championship final with Dennis Taylor, with the famous black-ball climax attracting a record 18.5 million British viewers.
He was awarded an MBE in 1988 and an OBE in 2001 for his services to the sport.
The next chapter of Davis' illustrious career will see him head to Q School from May 10-24 in Gloucester in a bid to earn a place back on the tour by right.
by Jamie Shaw
Posted 11 April 2014