Snooker’s Bearded Pioneers

During the 2013 UK Snooker Championships (Won by the non-bearded Neil Robertson) I pondered on the sad lack of bearded snookerists.

Shockingly, there has never been a bearded world snooker champion. Why such discrimination? What are they scared of?

The closest we’ve come is John Virgo who reached the semi finals and won the UK championships in 1979.

John VirgoOthers in the game were obviously jealous of JV, here’s Ray Reardon enjoying some beard banter in an exhibition match in 1985.

JV is obviously a beard pioneer, and for that we salute him.

In the modern game, beards are still sadly under-represented. One notable exception is Anthony Hamilton.

Photo: Rob Matthews.  14.1.07 Masters Snooker, Wembley Arena. Anthony HamiltonHe’s been sporting this little cavalier tache and goatee combination for many years. He’s from Nottingham, England, and has been nicknamed the ‘Sheriff of Pottingham’, which I can’t decide whether it’s brilliant or awful… Hamilton’s been pretty regular in the final stages of ranking tournaments over the last 20 years but has only reached two finals, losing both.

Marcus Campbell has been on the circuit since 1991, but I must admit to not knowing his name until this year. The ‘Dumbarton Destroyer’ famously whitewashed Stephen Hendry 9-0 in 1998 when Hendry was at the peak of his clean-shaven powers.

Marcus CampbellChris Moyles-a-like Campbell reached a career high ranking of 20 in April 2012.

However, the ultimate bearded player is also notable for a few other things. Rory Mcleod is currently the only black and only Muslim snooker player, but mainly he’s the only no-messing-around-full-bearded professional player.

Rory McleodHe didn’t reach the last 16 of a ranking tournament until 2005, peaking in 2009 when he won the Masters Qualifying event earning a place at the 2010 Masters.

Rory Mcleod 2He’s been linked with controversy though, refusing to shake the hand of a female referee and being accused of playing too slowly.

The slow playing can’t be his fault. If you had that beard, wouldn’t you get lost in your thoughts as you stood and stroked it considering your next shot? I love how it’s parted for his cue. Amazing beard.

Here’s Rory completing a rare ‘Double-double’. Legend.

Fun beardy snooker fact! Hamilton, Campbell and Mcleod were born within 6 months of each other in 1971 and all became professional in 1991.

Know any other beardy snooker players? Let us know in the comments below.