Ken Doherty hasn’t been able to stay out of my headlines over the last week and he is the centre of attention once again after making a 147 break at the Paul Hunter Classic earlier today.
It’s the Irishman’s first ever maximum in competitive play as well as being the first ever to be made by a player from the Republic of Ireland.
Fans of a certain age will forever associate the name Ken Doherty and 147 attempts with the infamous missed final black in the final of the 2000 Masters against Matthew Stevens at Wembley.
To this day it is still one of the most painful YouTube clips to watch over again with the shattered, disbelieving face of the on looking Stevens afterwards offering a picture worth a 1000 words.
Since, Doherty has had to smile through gritted teeth at the constant reminders and jokes made at his expense – particularly now he is a regular member of the BBC sofa – but at least now the ‘Darling of Dublin’ can rest easy in the knowledge that he has at last joined the record books in the 147 club.
His max is the 90th in professional snooker, second this season following Stuart Bingham’s at the Wuxi Classic final, the 49th compiled by a different player and only the second from the Emerald Isle after Northern Ireland’s Jason Prince achieved the feat in 1999.
The only moot point is that Doherty’s big moment occurred on one of the outside tables in Furth and not on a TV table, so therefore was not recorded live.
With a string of positive results that has seen the 42 year-old qualify for three of the opening four ranking events of the season, as well as the last 32 of the Gdynia Open in October, Doherty’s confidence is evidently sky-high and he backed up his special break with a hat-trick of victories to reach the last 16 this weekend – the Paul Hunter Classic being one of the six events on the European PTC series this season.
Arguably the most impressive of these was a 4-3 triumph over Stephen Lee, proving what I had already written in yesterday’s article that Doherty still has what it takes to defeat the top players on any given day.
Equally impressive was another man who has captured a lot of the limelight during the last week – Pankaj Advani.
The Indian came through four rounds to qualify for the International Championship on Wednesday, which will be his maiden appearance at the venue stage of a lucrative ranking event, and he brought his form to Germany with three more wins to reach the last 16 of the Classic.
After comfortable wins over Martin O’Donnell and Ian Burns, Advani beat an out-of-sorts four-time world champion John Higgins 4-1, the highlight of which coming in the third frame when he made a gutsy 67 clearance from 0-66 down.
The 27 year-old will meet former champion Mark King while Doherty takes on Michael Wild for a place in the quarter-finals after the amateur beat pros Marcus Campbell and Scott Donaldson back-to-back.
Welshmen Ryan Day and Jamie Jones, who both reached the last 8 at the World Championship, will clash in the fourth round as rookie Robbie Williams booked a tie with defending champion and world no.1 Mark Selby.
With the top half of the draw whittled down, the bottom half will do likewise tomorrow to complete the last 16 line-up.
The full list of results and draw can be viewed by clicking here.