Archiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2005-07 > 1121085495

From: "Peter_McCrae" <>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 13:38:15 +0100

Eddie Charlton
(Filed: 09/11/2004)
The Daily Telegraph & the

Eddie Charlton, who died yesterday aged 75, was the Australian snooker
player whose epic contests on the green baize provided hypnotic relief for
insomniacs in the 1970s and 1980s.

In a profession since glamorised by the Hurricane, the Whirlwind and the
Tornado, "Steady" Eddie Charlton was a notorious grinder, a specialist in
ultra-defensive play. His 1979 Embassy World Championship semi-final against
Terry "The Watchmaker" Griffiths seemed to go on for years, eventually
finishing at 1.40am, when Griffiths, 48-0 down, cleared with a break of 97
to win 19-17.

Eddie Charlton: partnered Alex Higgins in championship doubles
After being defeated by Charlton in the 1989 world championship, Cliff
Thorburn commented: "Before the match I had a suntan - now it is gone."

Charlton achieved celebrity in the era that the snooker programme Pot Black
dominated the evening schedules on BBC2, when names such as Ray Reardon and
Doug Mountjoy became as familiar as today's soap stars. Charlton was Pot
Black Champion in 1972, 1973 and 1980. Of the millions who became addicted
to Pot Black, many did not have colour sets. "For those of you watching in
black and white," the commentator Ted Lowe would whisper, "the green is
behind the brown."

Although Charlton never won a major "ranking" tournament, he was one of the
most consistent and hard to beat players; he was ranked number three in the
world for five consecutive seasons and was three-times runner-up in the
world championships at both snooker and billiards. He was Australian snooker
champion for more than 20 years. His methodical style of play belied the
fact that he was a superb all-round athlete.

Edward Francis Charlton was born at Merewether, New South Wales, Australia,
on October 31 1929. His grandfather ran a billiards club at nearby Swansea
and thrust a cue into Eddie's eager hands when he was nine. But while cue
games remained the boy's favourite, he excelled at countless other sports.

He played in the Australian First Division for 10 years as an "old-fashioned
scheming inside forward" footballer; he played state-level rugby, grade
cricket and excelled at surfing, roller-skating, rowing, tennis and boxing.
In 1956 he was one of those chosen to carry the Olympic torch from the top
of Australia to Melbourne.

But it was at the more sedate pursuits on the table that the rugged Charlton
really came to the fore. Having beaten the legendary Walter Lindrum in a
wartime snooker exhibition when he was 11, he soon went on to dominate the
Australian game.

Yet he worked as a coal miner until the age of 31, when, after winning four
amateur titles, he was persuaded by the visiting Fred Davis to join the
professional circuit. He won the world open snooker title against Rex
Williams in 1968, and that year lost to John Pulman in the final of the
world championship at the Crucible in Sheffield, his first appearance in

In 1973 Charlton was again runner-up in the world championship, losing by 38
frames to 32 against Ray Reardon in a contest lasting a week. He was pipped
again by Reardon two years later, but held on to the belief that he could
win the title. "I can beat anybody on my day," he declared in 1991 (he was
then 61).

In 1992, however, he suffered the ignominy of becoming the only player to be
whitewashed at the Crucible, thrashed 10-0 by John Parrott in the first
round. By that time he had begun to slide down the rankings and he did not
play on the circuit again after the 1994/95 season.

Charlton was not bothered that some found his cautious play dull. "I
couldn't care less about the fans," he said. "If they don't like it they can
lump it."

In the early 1980s he had been the unlikely doubles partner of Alex
"Hurricane" Higgins, reaching the semi-finals of the world doubles
championship. But it came as little surprise when the two fell out. He also
reached the world doubles semi-final partnering the Canadian Bill Werbenuik.

In his seventies, Charlton continued to travel throughout Australia coaching
and playing in exhibition matches. He competed in the seniors world
championship in 2000. He also worked as a commentator on Australian

He was married and had five children.
Sport: Charlton dies in New Zealand

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.

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