SNOOKER legends Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor are to play an exhibition match at a club in West Byfleet.

An Evening with Snooker Greats, billed as a recreation of the dramatic 1985 World Championship final, is being hosted by the Surrey Snooker Academy at 7pm on 3 November.

In the match 37 years ago, a TV audience of 18.5 million saw Taylor come from behind three times and pot the last ball in the final frame to beat the reigning champion.

Davis continued playing professionally until 2005, ending his career a six-time world champion among a host of other titles.

Taylor never won the world championship again but was runner-up four times and won the Irish Championship six times.

The exhibition match, which includes plenty of banter between the former rivals, who are now old friends, was arranged through Davis’s brother Keith, who has resurfaced the tables at the Surrey Snooker Academy.

The club was opened a year ago by snooker coach Brian Cox and Gareth White, who gave up his landscape gardening business to realise a dream of running a modern and inclusive club after reconnecting with the sport two years ago.

Gareth said he was dissatisfied by the old-fashioned clubs available, so he and Brian took over a run-down snooker room at the Camphill Social Club and refurbished it.

“Our vision is to bring snooker into the 21st century,” Gareth said.

“We’re all about being inclusive. About 20% of our members are from the Asian community. We’ve got women members and people who have autism.”

The club has two top-quality Burroughes & Watts tables, on which the nearly 50 members play alongside regular visitor Jimmy White, the 1992 UK champion and six-time world runner-up.

“Jimmy has been down around half a dozen times and really likes the place and loves the tables. He said they are good enough for him to prepare for tournaments,” Gareth said.

The opening night last November featured an exhibition by current professional player Joe Perry.

“We want to get an extension to the room and put another two tables in, including an ex-world championship table they used at the Crucible, which we have in storage.”

Gareth said the emphasis of the club is about being welcoming to everyone.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve never played the game before. We offer newcomers a free hour to have a game and get a few tips,” he said.

“If they’re interested, they can register as a member, pay the membership fee and off they go.”

Members can play socially or in handicap tournaments with novices getting up to a 100-point start.  

Gareth said one member who has autism said she read about the club’s values and thought it was somewhere where she could learn a new skilland bewelcomed and feel comfortable.

“Now she comes back all the time. It’s things like that that make me especially proud,” he said.

Gareth said he has had similar feedback from other members who have had a few challenges in life.

“They say to us, ‘this is my happy place’. We’re very proud of that.

“We’ve created this fantastic environment for snooker.

“Whether you’re Jimmy White or you’ve just picked up a cue for the first time, you’re equally welcome,” Gareth said.

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