ONE of Wales’ greatest snooker players has died aged 78.

Doug Mountjoy was one of just six Welshmen to reach the World Championship in Snooker in 1981 – where he was runner-up. The news of his death broke as the 2021 Welsh Open begins.

Born in Tir-y-Berth near Caerphilly on June 8, 1942, he was brought up near Ebbw Vale. A keen amateur snooker player, he was well-known around the local clubs.

A coal miner by trade, he won many amateur tournaments including the Welsh amateur championship – which he won twice. In 1976, he received the top amateur accolade, beating Paul Mifsud 11-1 to win the world amateur title.

The following year, at the age of 34, he turned professional, and after a late call-up as a replacement, won the 1977 Masters tournament.

He beat Ray Reardon – reigning champion at the time – 7-6 in the final. The following year, he became UK champion – making him one of just four Welsh players to win the accolade – when he beat David Taylor 15-9.

He became Champion of Champions in 1980 after beating John Virgo 10-8 in the final.

Mr Mountjoy also won two snooker World Cups for Wales in 1979 and 1980 where he partnered with Terry Griffiths and Ray Reardon respectively.

In 1981, he reached the final of the World Championship but lost 18-12 at the Crucible to Steve Davis.

In the following few years, he dropped out of the world top 16 but had a revitalised spell in the late 1980s when he worked with coach Frank Callan.

At the age of 46 he beat Stephen Hendry 16-12 in the final of the 1988 UK Championship to regain one of his early titles.


He made his last appearance in the World Championships in 1993, the year he was diagnosed with lung cancer. In the first round of the tournament, he beat Alain Robidoux 10-6, just weeks before he had an operation to remove his left lung.

He remained on the circuit until 1997 after beating cancer and then turned to coaching.

In a joint statement, World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn and World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson said: "Doug was first and foremost a lovely man, who had great friendships with many players on the tour throughout the 1970s and onwards.

"He had a fantastic dedication to our sport, he simply loved the game and was always willing to help others to improve, both as a player and later as a coach.

"On the table he was a fierce competitor and a fine champion who won a multitude of tournaments.

"His revival late in his career to win two events including the UK Championship was an incredible achievement.

"Doug will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him, and our sincere condolences go to his family."

Tributes are pouring in on social media from the snooker world and beyond, with Jimmy White and sports presenter Jason Mohammad paying tribute.

Mr Mohammad wrote: “Doug Mountjoy was one of Wales’ great sporting sons. Those times were wonderful for us Welsh snooker fans. We didn’t have much to cheer about back then - Doug flew the flag for our country with Ray & Terry. Thank you for the memories. Thinking of family and friends.”