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Paul Hunter

Paul Hunter
Paul Hunter

players Jimmy Michie and Joe Johnson, the youngster from Leeds made his debut among the professionals in July 1995 at the age of 16.

Early career (1995–2000)
Four months later, Hunter caused a major sensation at the UK Championship by beating world number six Alan McManus 9-4 in the first round. He followed up that achievement by becoming the youngest player to reach the last four of a ranking event when he reached the semi-finals of the 1996 Regal Welsh Open at the age of just 17 and three months. Also in 1996, he reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship where he beat Willie Thorne 9-0, James Wattana 9-5 and Terry Murphy 9-7 before bowing out 9-5 to eventual champion Stephen Hendry. Hunter’s achievements earned him high accolades throughout the game and was awarded a wildcard to play at the 1997 Benson & Hedges Masters. Although he was beaten 5-1 by Mark Williams in the first round, it was to be the start of a great love affair that he would have with Wembley. His first ranking tournament victory came at the 1998 Regal Welsh Open, where he defeated no fewer than seven players to lift the title and claim the £60,000 winner’s cheque.[2] Paul Wykes (5-3), Neal Foulds (5-2), Steve Davis (5-3), Nigel Bond (5-4), Alan McManus (5-3) and Peter Ebdon (6-1) all fell at the hands of the 19-year-old, before he overcame the World Champion, beating John Higgins 9-5 in the final. During the final, Hunter made three century breaks (108, 116 and 127). He was 2-4 down at one time, but won seven of the last eight frames to clinch the title. He followed up that success by reaching the semi-finals of the 1998 Liverpool Victoria UK Championship in Bournemouth and was named the Snooker Writers Association’s Young Player of the Year for that year. Hunter’s first appearance at the Crucible came in 1999 World Championship, where he

Born Died Nationality Nickname Professional Highest ranking Career winnings Highest break

14 October 1978(1978-10-14), Leeds, Yorkshire 9 October 2006 (aged 27), Huddersfield English Beckham of the Baize 1995–2006 #4 (2004/05) GB£1,525,050[1] 146 (2004, Premier League Snooker)

Tournament wins Ranking Non-ranking 3 3

Paul Alan Hunter (14 October 1978 – 9 October 2006) was an English professional snooker player. His media profile developed swiftly and he became known as the "Beckham of the Baize" for his glamorous image.

Early life
Hunter was educated at St Andrews Primary School and Cardinal Heenan High School in Leeds. With some encouragement from friends and family, he spent many hours practising snooker, and by the age of 12 had become an outstanding junior talent. With the help of former professional snooker

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lost 8-10 in the first round to the eventual champion Stephen Hendry. His form that season elevated him to no. 12 in the 1999/ 2000 world rankings resulting in automatic qualification into the final stages of ranking tournaments for the first time. After a below-par 1999/2000 campaign, demoting him to no. 14 in the 2000/2001 world rankings, he announced his arrival as a genuine force at the top of the professional game by reaching the quarter-final stage or better in six tournaments the following season. He was a runner-up at the Welsh Open, a semi-finalist at the British Open and Scottish Open and a quarter-finalist at the Grand Prix and China Open - but he saved his best form for the 2001 Masters.

Paul Hunter
four years but nothing could deny the 23-year-old of a trophy-filled 2002. His success was to continue at the 2002 British Open, staged in Telford, where he captured his third ranking title by beating Ian McCulloch 9-4 in the final. A third successive Masters title, however, was a bridge too far for him in 2003, as he bowed out 6-3 in the semi-finals to the previous year’s runner-up and eventual champion Mark Williams. His greatest success that campaign, though, was only a few months away. After his best ever season, in which he had been a contender in virtually every tournament he played, it was time for the Yorkshireman to perform in the biggest tournament of all, and that he most certainly did. In the 2003 Embassy World Championship, he beat Allister Carter 10-5, Matthew Stevens 13-6 and defending champion Peter Ebdon 13-12 in an epic encounter to reach the semi-finals.[8] In the last four, he established a 15-9 overnight lead over Ken Doherty by playing some of the best snooker of the tournament. It was only an inspired Doherty comeback, winning eight of the remaining nine frames, that would deny him a place in his first Crucible final.[9] The 2002/2003 campaign was still his most consistent, winning one title, reaching a further four semi-finals and three quarter-finals. It earned him a place in the world’s top eight in the 2003/2004 world rankings for the first time in his career, having been ranked number nine for the previous two seasons. In 2003/2004, his biggest achievement of another successful season was winning the Masters, for the third time in four years, yet again by a 10-9 scoreline. The 2004 final was arguably the most dramatic of all his Masters triumphs, trailing Ronnie O’Sullivan throughout the entire match before pipping him to the trophy in the final frame. In fact, Hunter trailed 2-0, 6-1, 7-2, 8-6 and 9-7 before reeling off the final three frames to seal the sixth title of his professional career. He made five century breaks in the match[10] over five million viewers on BBC Sport watched him on live TV (in the UK) beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-9.[11] Not even Hunter could deny Jimmy White a first ranking title in nearly 12 years at the 2004 Daily Record Players Championship, although it looked as if one of his trademark comebacks was on the cards. Trailing fellow

Masters champion (2001–2004)
In the 2001 Benson & Hedges Masters, Hunter beat his close friend and defending champion Matthew Stevens 6-5 in the last 16, Peter Ebdon 6-3 in the quarter-finals and Stephen Hendry 6-4[3] in the semi-finals before recovering from a 7-3 deficit against Fergal O’Brien to win the final 10-9. The match turned on the pivotal eleventh frame, where Hunter looked like trailing 8-3 but recovered to reduce his deficit to 7-4, before knocking in four centuries in six frames[4] on his way to a famous 10-9 victory,[5] and a £175,000 first prize.[6] Twelve months on in 2002, he retained his title but it didn’t get any less exciting along the way. After a relatively straight-forward 6-3 victory at the round of 16 stage over Stephen Lee, Hunter triumphed in final frame shoot-outs against Peter Ebdon in the last eight, Alan McManus in the semi-finals and most memorably coming from 5-0 down to beat Mark Williams 10-9 in the final. In doing so, he became only the third player in history to retain the Masters trophy along with Cliff Thorburn and Stephen Hendry, and in doing so he won a £190,000 prize.[7] It represented a fantastic start to the year for Hunter, who only two weeks earlier had lifted his second Regal Welsh Open title, gaining revenge over the man who beat him 9-2 in the previous year’s final, Ken Doherty. Two months on, he was defeated in the first round at the Crucible for the third time in

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crowd-favourite White 8-5, he reduced his deficit to 8-7 before White sealed victory in the next frame. It may not have been a victory for Hunter on the table, but the genuine humility and affection he showed his boyhood hero after the match underlined his impeccable sportsmanship, which he afforded all his opponents on and off the table throughout his career. His season ended at the hands of reigning UK Champion, Matthew Stevens in the second round at the 2004 Embassy World Championship, losing an epic 13-12 after surrendering leads of 10-6 and 12-10. Hunter had chances to clinch the match in each of the final three frames but was on the wrong end of a Crucible comeback for the second successive year. He was, nevertheless, magnanimous in defeat once again as he embraced his close friend after the match. Hunter was quick out of the blocks the following season, reaching the semi-finals of the 2004 Totesport Grand Prix and losing 6-3 to Ronnie O’Sullivan, but it was to be the last time that the Yorkshireman would reach that stage in a ranking event. He did, however, reach the last eight of the China Open in March-April 2005, just days after discovering that he was suffering from cancer. His career-high ranking was number four in the world during the 2004/2005 season, which dropped to number five in 2005/2006.

Paul Hunter
was only to win 1 match during the 2005/ 2006 season, against Jamie Burnett in the UK Championship, in which Hunter dramatically came from 6-8 down to triumph 9-8 in a match that lasted 6 hours 26 minutes.[12] He dropped out of the World’s top 32 in the 2006/2007 rankings after losing 5-10 to Neil Robertson at the World Championship. It is believed that Hunter’s treatment was of limited success and that he was often in some pain. On 27 July 2006, the WPBSA confirmed that, following a members’ vote, the organisation’s rules would be changed to allow Hunter to sit out the entire 06/07 season with his world ranking frozen at 34. He intended to devote the year to treatment for his cancer.

Death and legacy
Hunter died on 9 October 2006 – just five days short of his 28th birthday – at the Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield. His funeral took place on 19 October 2006.[13] Following his death, thousands of tributes poured in from some of the most famous names in snooker: World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker said: "I’m sure that everyone who met Paul, as well as his millions of fans and the sporting public as a whole, will join me in sending most sincere sympathies to Lindsey, Paul’s parents, his family and friends. Paul was a man who had everything going for him – an outstanding talent, good looks, fame, riches, charm and a beautiful wife. This shows us just how quickly life can change. It’s a bitter blow for snooker but most importantly for his family and our thoughts are with them."[14] Stephen Hendry said: "I’m absolutely devastated by the news. He’s got a young family and he had a fantastic future in front of him. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare and puts everything into perspective."[14] John Parrott, the 1991 world champion and a member of the BBC TV snooker team, said: "It’s a great loss to the sport but more importantly than that, it’s a great loss to his family. Paul played the game with a smile on his face. He was a bright and bubbly character and I never heard him complain. He was always such a happy person. We’re all going to miss him, very much."[14] Jimmy White, six times World Championship finalist, revealed he was playing for Hunter’s charity when he heard of the news: "I was halfway through

Later years and illness (2005–2006)
On 6 April 2005, Hunter announced that he was suffering from malignant neuroendocrine tumours , for which the causes are unknown. A spokesman for the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association said at the time: "Paul will undergo treatment to cure himself of this illness. He would like to reassure his fans and supporters that, as with his snooker career, he is tenacious and positive in his fight against the disease."[12] He returned to the circuit for the start of the following season, but lost to Rory McLeod in the opening round of the Grand Prix tournament, having only returned to practice 2 weeks earlier, and not confirming his participation until three days before the match. Hunter had been receiving chemotherapy for his illness and had been struggling to find snooker form since beginning treatment. He

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
the exhibition and a guy gave £10,000 to the charity, and then we got the news", he said. "He was a tiger on the snooker table, but off the table you couldn’t have met a nicer fellow. As soon as he got beaten, or he won, he was back to Paul Hunter, and that’s a very hard quality to have. I can’t tell you how special he was. He was a credit to life."[15] Ken Doherty, the 1997 World Champion, paid tribute to Hunter calling him a ’great character’: "It’s a very sad day, not only for snooker but also for the sporting world", said Doherty. "We’ve lost a great character and champion and a great friend. It’s a shocking loss." He added: "Everybody was dumbfounded when he was diagnosed with the disease. In someone so young we all thought he would come through it after chemotherapy. Words can’t explain what his family must be going through and they are all in our minds and our prayers."[16] Willie Thorne said, "He was a very flamboyant player, a very attacking player. He had a heart like a lion. I’m sure that he would have been a future world champion. It’s such a sad loss to our game and his family. Deep down I think we all thought he was going to beat the disease. Then two or three months ago we realised it was probably a lot more serious than we thought."[17] Alex Higgins, two-times world champion, said, "This is terrible news. I’ve followed his battle closely. We all loved Paul. My thoughts are with his family right now."[18] Prior to the Premier League Snooker matches on 12 October 2006, players Jimmy White, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ken Doherty and Ding Junhui, along with referee Alan Chamberlain and commentators Willie Thorne and Phil Yates, all stood for a moment of silence to remember Hunter. There was also a short video tribute. Fellow professionals Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams, Jimmy White, Matthew Stevens and Ken Doherty have led calls for The Masters trophy to be named in Hunter’s memory.[19] Hunter’s funeral took place at Leeds Parish Church on 19 October 2006. Many players attended the ceremony, and his best friend, Matthew Stevens, was a coffin-bearer at the service.[20] The Paul Hunter Foundation was set up after his death to give disadvantaged children places to play sport and socialise.[21]

Paul Hunter

Personal life
Hunter and Lindsey Fell, a beauty therapist, married in the summer of 2004 in Jamaica.[1] On 26 December 2005, Lindsey gave birth to their first and only child, daughter Evie Rose, who weighed 6 lb 5 oz (2.9 kg)

Trivia
In his post-match interview following his 2001 Masters title win, Hunter caused a media sensation by admitting he resorted to "Plan B" with Lindsey, then his girlfriend, during the interval while 6-2 down. The ’B’ in "Plan B" purportedly refers to the word "bonk", a British slang term for sexual intercourse. Hunter and Fell retired to their hotel room and he recalled: "Sex was the last thing on my mind. I just wasn’t in the mood. But I had to do something to break the tension. It was a quick session - around 10 minutes or so - but I felt great afterwards. She jumped in the bath, I had a kip and then played like a dream. I reeled off four centuries in six frames. I won easily."[5] He compiled 114 competitive century breaks[22] in the course of his career, including a personal record break of 146.

Tournament wins
Performance timeline BBC Sports Personality of the Year
• Helen Rollason Award - 2006

Ranking wins
• Welsh Open - 1998, 2002 • British Open - 2002

Other wins
• Masters - 2001, 2002, 2004

Best performances
2005/06 • Last 32 - 2006 Championship • Last 32 - 2006 • Last 32 - 2006 • Last 32 - 2006 Embassy World China Open Welsh Open Malta Cup

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Ranking tournaments British Open LG Cup/ Grand Prix UK Championship Irish Masters Scottish Open Europe Open /Malta Cup Welsh Open China Open Non ranking tournaments The Masters Premier League Irish Masters Scottish Masters Malta Cup World Championship World Snooker Championship 1R 1R 2R 1R SF 2R 1R 1R 1R W W 2R 1R SF QF W 1R -

Paul Hunter

1995/ 1996/ 1997/ 1998/ 1999/ 2000/ 2001/ 2002/ 2003/ 2004/ 2005/ 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 1R SF QF 1R 2R 2R W 2R SF QF SF 2R 2R QF SF F QF 2R 2R W 2R W QF 2R SF 2R SF QF 2R QF 2R F QF QF 1R SF 2R 2R 1R QF 1R 2R 1R 1R

1R 1R 1R

1R 1R

1R

1R

• Last 16 - 2006 Saga Insurance Masters • Last 16 - 2005 Travis Perkins UK Championship • S/Final - 2005 Pot Black Cup • Last 62 - 2005 Grand Prix 2004/05 • Last 32 - 2005 Embassy World Championship • Q/Final - 2005 China Open • Last 16 - 2005 Failte Ireland Irish Masters • Last 16 - 2005 Riley Club Masters • Last 32 - 2005 Malta Cup • Last 32 - 2005 Welsh Open • Last 16 - 2004 Travis Perkins UK Championship • Last 32 - 2004 British Open • S/Final - 2004 Totesport Grand Prix 2003/04 • Last 16 - 2004 Embassy World Championship • Finalist - 2004 Players Championship • Last 16 - 2004 Citywest Irish Masters • Last 16 - 2004 European Open

• - 2004 Masters • Q/Final - 2004 Welsh Open • Q/Final - 2003 Travis Perkins UK Championship • Q/Final - 2003 British Open • Last 16 - 2003 LG Cup 2002/03 • S/Final - 2003 Embassy World Championship • S/Final - 2003 Citywest Irish Masters • Q/Final - 2003 European Open • S/Final - 2003 Benson & Hedges Masters • S/Final - 2003 Regal Welsh Open • Last 16 - 2002 PowerHouse UK Championship • - 2002 British Open • Q/Final - 2002 LG Cup • Q/Final - 2002 Regal Scottish Masters 2001/02 • Last 32 - 2002 Embassy World Championship • Last 16 - 2002 Citywest Irish Masters • Last 16 - 2002 Singha Thailand Masters

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• Last 16 - 2002 China Open • - 2002 Benson & Hedges Masters • - 2002 Regal Welsh Open • Last 16 - 2001 UK Championship • Last 16 - 2001 LG Cup • Last 16 - 2001 Regal Scottish Masters 2000/01 • Last 16 - 2001 Embassy World Championship • S/Final - 2001 Regal Scottish Open • - 2001 Benson & Hedges Masters • Finalist - 2001 Regal Welsh Open • Q/Final - 2000 China Open • Q/Final - 2000 Grand Prix 1999/2000 • Last 32 - 2000 Embassy World Championship • S/Final - 2000 British Open • Last 16 - 2000 Benson & Hedges Masters • Last 16 - 2000 Regal Welsh Open • Last 16 - 1999 Grand Prix 1998/99 • Last 32 - 1999 Embassy World Championship • Last 16 - 1999 British Open • Q/Final - 1999 Regal Scottish Open • Last 16 - 1998 Irish Open • S/Final - 1998 Liverpool Victoria UK Championship • Last 16 - 1998 Regal Scottish Masters 1997/98 • Last 16 - 1998 Regal Scottish Open • - 1998 Regal Welsh Open • Last 16 - 1997 Grand Prix 1996/97 • Last 32 - 1997 Singha And Eagle Cement Thailand Open • Last 18 - 1997 Benson & Hedges Masters • Q/Final - 1996 UK Championship • Last 32 - 1996 European Open 1995/96 • S/Final - 1996 Regal Welsh Open • Last 32 - 1995 Royal Liver Assurance UK Championship

Paul Hunter

References
[1] ^ World Snooker profile [2] "WWW Snooker: Regal Welsh Open 1998". WWW Snooker. http://www.snooker.org/trn/9798/ wo98_res.shtml. Retrieved on 13 December 2008. [3] "BBC SPORT Special Events Benson & Hedges Masters Hunter bags Hendry scalp". BBC Sport Media. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/in_depth/ 2001/benson_and_hedges_masters/ 1163718.stm. Retrieved on 14 December 2008. [4] "WWW Snooker: Benson & Hedges Masters 2001". WWW Snooker. http://www.snooker.org/trn/0001/ bm2001_res.shtml. Retrieved on 13 December 2008. [5] ^ Interview in The Guardian [6] "BBC SPORT Special Events Benson & Hedges Masters Dream come true for Master Hunter". BBC Sport Media. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/in_depth/ 2001/benson_and_hedges_masters/ 1165767.stm. Retrieved on 14 December 2008. [7] "BBC SPORT Other Sport Snooker Benson & Hedges Masters 2002 Hunter bags second Masters". BBC Sport Media. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/ other_sports/snooker/ benson_and_hedges_masters_2002/ 1813295.stm. Retrieved on 14 December 2008. [8] Mark Orlovac. "BBC SPORT Other Sport Snooker Hunter edges out Ebdon". BBC Sport Media. http://news.bbc.co.uk/ sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/ 2986677.stm. Retrieved on 18 December 2008. [9] Dan Warren. "BBC SPORT Other Sport Snooker Doherty wins Crucible epic". BBC Sport Media. http://news.bbc.co.uk/ sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/ 2997531.stm. Retrieved on 18 December 2008. [10] "WWW Snooker: Masters 2004". WWW Snooker. http://www.snooker.org/trn/ 0304/m2004_res.shtml. Retrieved on 13 December 2008. [11] Clive Jones. "BBC SPORT". BBC Sport Media. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/ other_sports/snooker/3471197.stm. Retrieved on 13 December 2008.

External links
• An excerpt from Unbreakable, a book by Hunter’s wife, Lindsey, in the Daily Mail • Times obituary • Guardian obituary • Snooker Club profile for Paul Hunter • BBC Sport profile for Paul Hunter

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[12] ^ "Hunter diagnosed with cancer". RTÉ Sport. 2005. http://www.rte.ie/sport/ 2005/0406/hunter.html. Retrieved on 13 April 2007. [13] "Hundreds gather at Hunter funeral". BBC News / West Yorkshire. 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/england/ west_yorkshire/6066570.stm. Retrieved on 13 April 2007. [14] ^ Cancer Victim Paul Hunter, dies aged 27 [15] White pays tribute to Hunter [16] Doherty tribute to ’great character’ [17] "PLAYERS PAY TRIBUTE". World Snooker. 2006. http://www.worldsnooker.com/ news_editorial-18185.htm. Retrieved on 13 April 2007. [18] "Cheeky, loyal, funny, honest: Paul Hunter remembered". The Independent. 2006. http://www.independent.co.uk/

Paul Hunter

sport/general/snooker-cheeky-loyalfunny-honest-paul-hunterremembered-419487.html. Retrieved on 5 May 2009. [19] "Fitting tribute to tragic Hunter". The Sun. 2006. http://www.thesun.co.uk/ article/0,,3-2006470425,00.html. Retrieved on 5 May 2009. [20] "Paul Hunter". Cues n Views. 2006. http://www.cuesnviews.co.uk/ index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=137 Retrieved on 5 May 2009. [21] "Official Paul Hunter Foundation Website". http://www.paulhunterfoundation.org/. Retrieved on 5 May 2009. [22] Chris Turner. "Centuries". Chris Turner’s Snooker Archive. http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ Centuries.htm. Retrieved on 13 December 2008.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Hunter" Categories: 1978 births, 2006 deaths, English snooker players, Masters Champions (snooker), People from Leeds, Cancer deaths in England, Deaths from pancreatic cancer This page was last modified on 18 May 2009, at 22:24 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers

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