Obituary: Terry Parsons

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The Independent Culture
THE FINEST moment of Terry Parsons's snooker career came in 1982 when, at the age of 47, he collected the World Amateur Championship in Calgary, Canada.

Trailing Jim Bear, a Canadian native, 7-1 after the opening session, Parsons recovered magnificently to claim the title with an 11-8 success. In doing so he emulated the achievements of his Welsh contemporaries Doug Mountjoy (who had won in 1976) and Cliff Wilson (1978).

In the semi-final, Parsons defeated his countryman Wayne Jones who soon afterwards gained professional status. Other competitors that year later to join the paid ranks included the Canadian Bob Chaperon, the British Open champion of 1990.

Two years later when the championship was staged closer to home in Dublin, much to his relief, Parsons attempted to retain his title. Among the 42 players was an unknown Scottish teenager who failed to qualify from the group stages. Fifteen years later Stephen Hendry became world professional champion for a modern- day record seventh occasion.

Parsons had no trouble reaching the knockout rounds and indeed made it through to the final again. There was to be no fairytale ending, however, and India's Omprakesh Agrawal became the first overseas player to win the title courtesy of an 11-7 triumph.

The same year, Parsons won the last of his five Welsh amateur titles, some 23 years after his first success in 1961. "He was one of the best, authentic amateurs of the last 30 years," said Clive Everton, a fellow Welshman. Both Everton and Terry Griffiths, the 1979 world professional champion from Llanelli, agree that Parsons could have made a decent living had he opted to rescind his amateur status.

A family man, Parsons disliked being away from the community where he spent all his life. "The life style wouldn't have suited Terry," added Everton. "He was dreadfully homesick in Calgary and that was when he was winning. But there's no doubt he could have competed on the professional circuit. He had a solid all-round game and was an excellent match player."

Parsons was a postman by trade in the Rhondda Valley. He would rise at 4am to deliver the mail, finish his round at noon, grab a few hours' sleep and then be at the practice table for the rest of the day.

He spent much of the time at the Pen-y-graig Labour Club and helped steer them to seven CIU team finals. They won the title on four occasions while Parsons collected the individual prize five times, his last win coming as late as 1990. His effort of 138 remains the jointly held highest break in the history of the competition.

Terry Parsons continued to be competitive on the local circuit and last year won the Welsh National Over 40s event. Two weeks before he died he was diagnosed as having leukaemia and despite chemotherapy his condition quickly deteriorated.

Trevor Baxter

Terence Parsons, snooker player: born Trealaw, Glamorgan 19 June 1935; Welsh Amateur Champion in snooker 1961, 1965, 1969, 1982, 1984; World Amateur Champion 1982, runner-up 1984; married (two sons, one daughter); died Pen-y-graig, Mid Glamorgan 8 May 1999.