To mark the 40th anniversary of the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre, we’re counting down the top 20 moments in Sheffield voted for by you snooker fans on our Facebook poll. At number 15 – Shaun Murphy’s victory in 2005…
Only two qualifiers had ever gone on to lift the trophy ahead of the 2005 World Championship at the Crucible.
The last of these came way back in 1979 when, seven years after Alex Higgins’ triumph, Terry Griffiths went all the way to glory at his first attempt.
Few people were expecting world number 48 Shaun Murphy to become the third player to achieve the feat with pre-tournament odds of 150/1 offered on the 22-year-old, who was considered to be something of an underachiever given the initial expectations that came with his obvious talent.
Although, having won two qualifying matches to secure his third appearance in Sheffield, it soon became clear that Murphy had not read the script.
After claiming his first-ever win at the iconic venue with a 10-5 victory over Chris Small in the opening round, he went on to overcome three former World champions in John Higgins (13-8), Steve Davis (13-4) and Peter Ebdon (17-12) on the way to reaching the final.
Matthew Stevens, who was runner-up in 2000, stood in the way of Murphy and it appeared that his luck had finally run out, as the Welshman established a 10-6 overnight lead.
However, the Manchester cueist looked a different player on day two – fighting back to eventually overturn the deficit and take a 13-12 lead.
He also increased his advantage to 15-13 and 16-14, but Stevens demonstrated his experience by pegging him back to 16-16.
Nevertheless, Murphy dusted himself down and produced when it mattered the most – knocking in consecutive breaks of 97 and 83 to become the lowest-ranked player to win the tournament and second-youngest champion in Crucible history after Stephen Hendry.