36 shots, 15 reds, 15 blacks, 6 colours
The 147 break is a piece of snooker magic. An exhilarating buzz for any player. Here are the ten greatest maximums of all time...
10. Ding Junhui
In his opening match in last year’s SAA Insurance Masters against Anthony Hamilton, Ding, aged 19, became the youngest player ever to make a televised 147. „I’m feeling very special,“ said Ding after becoming the first Chinese player to make an official maximum, and only the second player to do so at Wembley.
9. Tom Ford
Ford’s 147 came in a match against Steve Davis at this season’s Royal London Watches Grand Prix, the first of his career. In the early hours of the morning of the match, the world No. 50 from Leicester woke up with an agonising pain in his stomach. He was taken to hospital, diagnosed with gastroenteritis and put on a drip. But just a few hours later, Ford took the bold decision to discharge himself as he didn’t want to miss the chance to take on legend Davis. “I could barely hold a cue when I got to the venue so to make a 147 wan unbelievable,“ said Ford.
8. Ronnie O’Sullivan
O’Sullivan faced Mark Selby in the semi-finals of the Maplin UK Championship in Telford last month. Selby led most of the way, but at 8-8, O’Sullivan showed his true genius in the deciding frame. An easy opening red was followed by a brilliant thin cut on the first black to a centre pocket, and the Rocket raced away to complete the eighth 147 of his career, matching Stephen Hendry’s career record. O’Sullivan had also made a maximum in the Northern Ireland Trophy, making him the only player other than John Higgins to make maximums in consecutive ranking events.
7. James Wattana
Shortly before he played Tony Drago at he 1992 British Open in Derby, Wattana was told that, 6.000 miles away in Bangkok, his father Kowin Pu-Ob-Orm had been shot by gangsters and was badly wounded. Showing remarkable strength of character, Wattana not only played on, but made a maximum 147. Immediately after the match he was advised of the tragic news that his father wad dead.
6. Jimmy White
The only 147 of White’s career to date came in 1992 on the biggest stage – he 888.com World Snooker Championship. It was only the second ever made at the Crucible and the first for nine years. Opponent Tony Drago memorably bear-hugged his friend after the final black went in, and White regards the moment as one of the most precious of his career.
5. Kirk Stevens
Dressed in his trademark dazzling white suit, Stevens made his 147 in 1984, an iconic moment in the history of the Masters. Until Ding’s effort last year, it was the only maximum ever made at Wembley. The break was far from straight-forward, the charismatic Canadian had to play brilliant positional shots to get from the final green to brown, and again from pink to black.
4. Stephen Hendry
Though it was a non-ranking event, the final of the 1997 Liverpool Victoria Charity Challenge is considered by some snooker experts to be the greatest match ever. Hendry led Ronnie O’Sullivan 8-2 before the Rocket stormed back to 8-8 in 68 minutes. But Hendry settled the match in the perfect way with a 147 in the deciding frame.
3. Cliff Thorburn
Thorburn’s 1983 maximum was the first ever at the Crucible, made in a match against Terry Griffiths. The break famously started with a fluke, a missed red rolling along the top cushion and knocking in another, and ended with Thorburn dropping to his knees as he celebrated his momentous achievement. He was embraced by Griffiths and fellow Canadian Bill Werbeniuk, who was playing on the adjacent table but peered around the dividing partition for the last few pots.
2. Steve Davis
There have now been 60 official maximum breaks, but the very first was achieved by Davis in the 1982 Lada Classic in Oldham. These days, 147s are rewarded by cash sums, with the prize at the Crucible exceeding ₤ 160,000. But Davis had to make do with a Lada Estate. Ironically, the Nugget’s opponent that day, John Spencer, had made a 147 at a televised event three years earlier, but cameramen missed it because they were on a tea break.
1. Ronnie O’Sullivan
Quick-fire cue genius O’Sullivan has made the five fastest 147s on record, and the quickest was his extraordinary effort at the Crucible in 1997, during a first round match against Mick Price. In a blur of potting, somehow retaining almost perfect position throughout, the Rocket completed the break in just five minutes 20 seconds. He didn’t even pause to pick up his chalk after dropping it in potting the final blue. Watch this supreme display of break-building fluency at http://www.worldsnooker.com/interactive_video.htm-1.htm