Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy still disagree over infamous chalk incident

Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy clash again at the Crucible (Pictures: Getty)

Stephen Maguire says the infamous ‘chalkgate’ incident with Shaun Murphy remains unresolved 20 years on as the pair still disagree on what happened.

Maguire and Murphy meet in the second round of the World Snooker Championship, starting on Friday, and the old rivalry will be resumed.

The two players go all the way back to their junior days, but their most famous meeting came at the 2004 Grand Prix when the game started in bizarre fashion.

The Scot forgot to bring his chalk to the table and went backstage to retrieve it, causing the start of the match to be delayed. When he returned, a frame had been docked for causing the delay and he started the game 1-0 behind.

As Maguire left the arena to get his chalk Murphy had a conversation with referee Johan Oomen and that is where the disagreement stems from.

Murphy insists he did not call for a frame to be docked from his opponent, but Maguire believes he did.

‘We can’t resolve it because he always says he never said to the referee,’ Maguire said.

Stephen Maguire has found form in Sheffield after a difficult season (Picture: Getty Images)

‘The poor referee isn’t with us any longer, but he [Murphy] did. He knows he did. But I’m over it.’

Murphy said of the incident: ‘I just think it was a massive piece of wrong time, wrong place and bad journalism.

‘People still think that I had him docked a frame for forgetting his chalk, which isn’t the case. The tournament director docked him a frame for forgetting his chalk, because he forced the match to start late. It wasn’t the referee, it wasn’t me, it wasn’t anyone else.

‘People saw me and the referee talking and assumed I had him docked a frame.
I perhaps should have sat in my chair and said nothing, I was guilty of talking to the referee. It looked as if I said A, B and C and led to X, Y and Z, but it’s not the case.

‘If it was in today’s life with social media, I have my platform and I could communicate to people directly…I think we were scrutinised more when we were out in the arena. There are more cameras and microphones around so it would have been much clearer what I actually did say and we wouldn’t have had this non-issue for 20 years.

Shaun Murphy looked good in his opening win over Lyu Haotian (Picture: Getty Images)

‘It’s always brought up, he hasn’t forgotten his chalk since and he will probably have it when we play as well.’

The Magician added on the onefourseven podcast: ‘I regret my part in it. I wish I had just kept my mouth shut, because it’s got me into trouble.

‘I remember they cut back to the studio and Steve Davis called it the worst piece of sportsmanship he’d ever seen.

‘He really threw me under the bus, and really to this day, we’re talking about it 20-odd years later, it’s still following me around.’

Maguire may still disagree with Murphy over what happened in Preston two decades ago, but the Scot says their relationship is fine nowadays.

‘I’ve known him longer than my wife,’ said Maguire of Murphy. ‘It’s crazy when you think about it that we’ve played each other since we were 11 or 12 years old.

‘Shaun is a showman, he loves it. It’s always been like that. I think we’re polar opposites in every walk of life. But he’s a great snooker player, I’ve never said he’s not. He’s great to watch and he’s good to play against because he goes for everything.

‘We don’t spend time together. I don’t hate him or anything like that. If you asked me 20 years ago I might have said something different, but I can’t be bothered now. We’ve all grown up, he’s got kids, I’ve got kids.

‘We don’t go for meals. But we walk by each other, we talk about snooker if we pass each other and everything’s okay.’

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