Neil Robertson became the eighth player to hit a maximum 147 break in the Betfred World Snooker Championship on Monday as the 2022 event was treated to a barnstorming finish between the Australian and Jack Lisowski.
Robertson went on to lose 13-12, but his achievement was not to be overlooked and he told Betfred afterwards that it was extra special thanks to the attendance of his mother, who he hadn’t seen since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen her for three years,” he explained. “She got here a few weeks ago, so I’m sure she’ll probably be a lot more disappointed with the result of the match than me but she’s got to witness something incredibly special at the same time.”
Robertson joins a historic list of players to record a maximum at the season-defining event…
Cliff Thorburn – 1983
Cliff Thorburn looked destined to score zero in the 147 break which made World Championship history in 1983. Aiming to sink a red into the bottom right pocket, he saw his effort bounce out of the jaws and along the bottom cushion. Thankfully, the stray ball cannoned into another red, which found the bottom left bag and a world first soon followed.
As Thorburn began to build his faultless break the anticipation all around the arena quickly became heightened. The Canadian even had to stop briefly on 105 to towel down his sweaty palms and take a brief moment to compose himself.
But after dealing with the final black, Thorburn sank to his knees in jubilation and was quickly embraced by not just his opponent Terry Griffiths, but also countryman Bill Werbeniuk, who had turned his attention away from his own match on the next table in order to watch his close friend make snooker history.
Jimmy White – 1992
Leading 8-4 in a best of 19 clash with Tony Drago and with the reds broken early, Jimmy White seemed on it from the start of his 147 break in 1992. Only a loose red on the top cushion looked set to cause him trouble, but after taking on the long pot after his 10th black, he managed to land himself back on the black thanks to a kiss off one of the remaining reds.
The final black earned him £114,000 and an almighty hug from opponent Drago.
Stephen Hendry – 1995, 2009 and 2012
Hendry’s first maximum, against White in 1995, was impressive in the sense that he left himself with a number of tough shots late in the frame but still managed to reach the hallowed 147. The final red, a tricky green and a very tight blue into the yellow pocket while maintaining control of the pink made for a nervy finish, capped with an awkward black which summed up the entire break.
The Scot added far more conventional 147s against Shaun Murphy in 2009 and three years later facing Stuart Bingham, making it a hat-trick of World Championship maximums. But he wasn’t the first man to reach that milestone…
Ronnie O’Sullivan – 1997, 2003 and 2008
Ronnie O’Sullivan against Mick Price on 21 April 1997 has gone down in snooker folklore. Price had gone too thin on a safety shot and within the blink of an eye Ronnie was punching the air in celebration of the fastest 147 in snooker history. It took him just five minutes and eight seconds to pot the 36 balls that earned him £165,000, and nobody has ever come close to matching it for speed.
Even the Rocket himself took a comparatively pedestrian six minutes, 25 seconds to register his 147 against Marco Fu in 2003 and over eight minutes to repeat the trick against Mark Williams. With three maximums at the World Championship in the space of just 11 years, O’Sullivan 147s were fast becoming old news.
Mark Williams – 2005
The one consolation normally for the player on the receiving end of a 147 is that it’s only one frame, but when Robert Milkins had to sit and watch Williams produce his very best in 2005 it came with the Welshman already 9-1 up in a race to 10.
Williams had been on fire for the entire first-round match, and he completed the victory in the most stylish way possible, bagging a clinical and composed 147. That was the peak of his tournament though, as he was beaten in the final frame by Ian McCulloch in the next round.
Ali Carter – 2008
Ali Carter’s effort in 2008 was unusual for a whole bunch of reasons. First, his opponent Peter Ebdon had come within seven shots of beating him to the punch in the previous frame but missed the 15th black. Chuck in the fact that O’Sullivan had recorded his third 147 in an earlier round and Carter brought up the first – and so far only – occasion of two maximums in the same World Championship.
To top it off, Carter faced Ronnie in the final, making it the only time that both finalists had hit 147s on the way to the showpiece.
John Higgins – 2020
After almost 30 years of trying, John Higgins recorded a first World Championship 147 in an empty Crucible in 2020 following the outbreak of Covid-19. Up against Kurt Maflin in the second round, the 45-year-old became the oldest player ever to bag a maximum in competition play.
There may have been no crowd, and the prize money for a 147 might have dropped from its heyday, but the four-time champion will have been no less satisfied with his knock.
Neil Robertson – 2022
The Australian’s slice of history came on Monday night as he gained full marks in the 19th frame of his second-round match against Jack Lisowski. Robertson’s near-faultless clearance came when he trailed 10-8 with his back to the wall but it proved not to be quite enough as he became the fourth player to be beaten despite a 147 in World Championship play.
After Robertson became the eighth different player to achieve the feat, who will be number nine?
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