The World Snooker Championship has given us some great memories down through the years, and some great champions too. The likes of Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan are household names due to their success in the famous old tournament, and indeed the names of all world champions are stitched into the history of the game.

However, there is a group of players whose talents put them in contention on betting sites like Betdaq, and yet the famous trophy has eluded them each time. Let’s take a look at five of these nearly men, who boast tremendous pedigree in the sport, but haven’t quite been able to get their hands on the World Championship title.

Jimmy White

Of course, the most famous player never to win the World Championship is Jimmy White, who agonisingly reached six finals without once getting his hands on the trophy. White first reached the final in 1984, becoming the youngest player to reach the showpiece match, but he narrowly lost out 18-16 to Steve Davis in one of the all-time classic finals.

White surely couldn’t have envisaged the heartache that would follow when he lost in 1984, but five more final defeats, including four at the hands of Stephen Hendry, meant he never got to savour that unique feeling of being crowned world champion.

Matthew Stevens

A similar tale of missed opportunities defines Matthew Stevens’ Crucible fortunes. The Welshman has reached two finals in total, first losing out to fellow countryman Mark Williams in 2000, before suffering heartbreak at the hands of a young Shaun Murphy five years later.

It is the 2005 final that Stevens will always look back on as the one that got away. Murphy was a qualifier heading into the tournament, and having surprised everyone to reach the final, it was expected that Stevens’ experience would shine through in the final. But Murphy shocked everyone to produce an 18-16 win and leave Stevens pondering what might have been for the rest of his career.

Ali Carter

When it comes to players who consistently excel at the Crucible, Ali Carter is right up there. The Captain, as he’s known, has reached the final on two separate occasions, but has been unlucky to run into Ronnie O’Sullivan on both occasions.

In losing 18-8 in 2008, and 18-11 in 2012, it’s fair to say that Carter hasn’t exactly done himself justice in either final. However, he did exact a measure of revenge when he defeated O’Sullivan in the second round of the World Championship in 2018.

Ding Junhui

Widely regarded as the best of the modern crop to never have won a world title, Ding Junhui’s quest to become the first Asian to win the tournament goes on. He has come close on a few occasions, reaching the one-table setup, most notably in 2016, where he lost the final 18-14 to Mark Selby.

Ding is the kind of player who can turn on the style at any given moment, and for that reason he can never be ruled out of contention ahead of any World Championship. However, with each opportunity that passes Ding by, his quest to claim snooker’s holy grail becomes that much harder.

Barry Hawkins

Heralded as a Crucible specialist, Barry Hawkins knows what it takes to win matches over the World Championship’s long multi-session format. The Hawk has reached the one-table setup on five occasions, including in 2013 where he lost in the final to Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Since then, he has made the semi-finals on four occasions, but has never quite been able to get over the line and reach another final. His best chance to do so was in 2018, where he was arguably the best player of the tournament heading into the semi-finals, but the tension seemed to get the better of him against Mark Williams, and he exited the tournament having lost 17-15, the dream of becoming world champion dashed once again.