Top 10 Masters Moments Featuring O'Sullivan, Hendry And Williams

The Sportsman looks back on some of the greatest moments The Masters has produced
10:00, 09 Jan 2023

Mark Williams wins title on a re-spotted black against Stephen Hendry 

Stephen Hendry was bidding for a record seventh Masters title, and looked good for it both at 9-6 up in the 1998 final against Mark Williams, and then 22 ahead on the brown in the decider. But the Welshman forced a re-spotted black, and the frenzied 2,500 Wembley Conference Centre crowd eventually saw the Scot miss to the middle pocket – allowing Williams to win his first Masters crown. 

John Higgins with ultimate decider clearance to stun the Rocket 

This was the final that almost literally brought the house down in 2006. The Conference Centre was due for demolition soon after, and it got a fitting send-off. Rivals John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan went toe to toe in what was already a classic. But the decider took things to a new and unforgettable level. O’Sullivan was in first with 60, broke down, and the nerveless Scot cleared with 64 for the title. 


Stephen Hendry’s miracle comeback leaves Mike Hallett shattered 

In the eyes of many, Mike Hallett never truly recovered from this devastating defeat in 1991. The Grimsby pro had played quite brilliantly to be first 7-0 and then 8-2 ahead in the final – on the verge of a career-changing Masters triumph. But Hendry, just embarking on his long spell of dominance, showed vast reserves of character as well as ability to win seven frames in a row for a 9-8 success. 

Ronnie O’Sullivan wins the Masters with a new cue 

As any snooker player would tell you, the cue is almost like an extension of your arm and a very personal piece of equipment. So when Ronnie O’Sullivan smashed in a rage the cue with which he had won the 2008 World Championship shortly before the 2009 Masters, it did not bode well for his chances. But with one he picked up two days before the event, he waltzed through the field. 

Canada’s Kirk Stevens makes the first ever Masters 147 

Jimmy White went on to win the 1984 Masters, the only time the Whirlwind would win the prestigious tournament. But if anything this staging of the event was remembered more for the flamboyant Canadian Kirk Stevens, in his white evening dress suit, making the first 147 maximum break seen at the Masters in his semi-final defeat to White. It earned him a total of £11,000. 

Paul Hunter roars back to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in ‘hairband final’ 

The still much-missed Paul Hunter won the Masters three times, and many believe he could have gone on to do something similar at the Crucible had his life not been tragically cut so short by cancer. The 2004 final against fellow style icon Ronnie O’Sullivan saw him produce a great comeback from 7-2 adrift to win 10-9, and claim the title for a third time in four years. 

Neil Robertson edges semi-final classic against Mark Williams 

The Alexandra Palace Masters now arguably has the best atmosphere on the circuit. And for several of the drama-packed matches in 2022 the 2,000 fans were in a frenzy. Nowhere was this more true than the epic semi-final that saw Neil Robertson fight back against Mark Williams from 4-1 down, and then two snookers down on the last two reds in the decider to win 6-5. 

Ken Doherty suffers agony missing the final black in maximum bid 

The 2000 Masters final saw Irish legend Ken Doherty suffer double agony. Not only did he lose the showpiece and the title 10-8 to a young Matthew Stevens. But in frame 16 Doherty missed a routine black off the spot for only the second 147 maximum break at the tournament. That cost him an £80,000 yellow Honda sports car, and years of ribbing from less than sympathetic rivals. 

Streaker interrupts final – but can’t unsettle Steve Davis 

The 1997 final should have been all and only about an incredible success for a 39-year-old Steve Davis, whose powers were waning, winning a third Masters title 10-8 from 8-4 down against Ronnie O’Sullivan, the brilliant new kid on the block. But 22-year-old streaker Lianne Crofts bursting into the arena put paid to that. The Rocket, with a grin, shielded referee John Street’s gaze with his hand. 

Mark Selby shows Masters mettle against Ronnie O’Sullivan 

Mark Selby had already won the Masters title once in 2008, but taking on home London favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final in the capital in 2010 was a whole different challenge to beating Stephen Lee two years earlier. But the Leicester Jester held firm against a backdrop of raucous and partisan support for his fierce rival – and hit back from 9-6 down to win 10-9. 

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