Ronnie O'Sullivan
Snooker Headlines, World Championship

A moment of magic by Ronnie O’Sullivan on this date 27 years ago

Where were you on April 21st, 1997? Ronnie O’Sullivan was creating sporting history at the Crucible Theatre.

O’Sullivan was just 21 years old when he became the fourth player in the history of the World Snooker Championship to compile a 147 break.

Only Cliff Thorburn, Jimmy White, and Stephen Hendry had recorded the feat in Sheffield prior to that.

In those days, it was even more special when a 147 break was compiled because of its rarity.

Yet, it wasn’t so much the achievement of Ronnie O’Sullivan making a maximum that caught everyone’s imagination.

Indeed, it was the style and charisma that the Rocket exuded as he proceeded to pot the balls at a lightning speed that will likely never be matched, at least not on such an important stage.

Such was the level of shock and awe that O’Sullivan induced into people’s psyche, the actual official time for the break was commonly misquoted in the following years.

Five minutes and 20 seconds was always claimed to be the duration on the stopwatch, but an examination several years ago led to the record being altered.

Now ratified by Guinness World Records and approved by the World Snooker Tour, O’Sullivan’s fastest 147, beginning from when he first strikes the cue ball, is actually 12 seconds quicker at five minutes and eight seconds.

O’Sullivan wrote himself into the history books, and while he has constructed the perfect break on 14 more occasions since, none will ever compare to that first knock.

“Obviously, you remember that 147,” Ronnie O’Sullivan told Eurosport in 2020.

“I was young. It was a massive payday for me at the time. I wasn’t used to seeing pay cheques like that, you know?”

“That was obviously quite a memorable moment. But then I think about losing to Darren Morgan (in the next round).

“Because obviously you just want to win the world title. Every player’s dream is to win the world title.”

O’Sullivan, who pocketed £165,000 in total for making the maximum break in 1997, has gone on to triumph at the Crucible a record-equalling seven times.

But those few minutes of magic against Mick Price in the first round that year will continue to live long in the memory for countless fans around the world.

One of the more incredible aspects about it was the fact that O’Sullivan was rarely out of position and hardly ever looked like a guy who was rushing around the table at a frantic pace.

It was one of those unusual gifts that sport can provide, a timeless feat to savour again and again.

If you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a treat. Even if you have, it’d be rude to neglect yourself from watching it one more time.

2024 World Snooker Championship Draw

Round 1 (bo19)

Luca Brecel (1) 9-10 David Gilbert
Robert Milkins (16) 10-9 Pang Junxu
Ali Carter (9) 7-10 Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy (8) 10-5 Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (5) 6-10 Joe O’Connor
Kyren Wilson (12) 10-1 Dominic Dale
John Higgins (13) 10-6 Jamie Jones
Mark Allen (4) 10-6 Robbie Williams

Judd Trump (3) 10-5 Hossein Vafaei
Tom Ford (14) 10-6 Ricky Walden
Zhang Anda (11) 4-10 Jak Jones
Mark Williams (6) 9-10 Si Jiahui

Ding Junhui (7) 9-10 Jack Lisowski
Gary Wilson (10) 5-10 Stuart Bingham
Barry Hawkins (15) 8-10 Ryan Day
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 10-1 Jackson Page

Round 2 (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-4 Robert Milkins (16)
Stephen Maguire 13-9 Shaun Murphy (8)

Joe O’Connor 6-13 Kyren Wilson (12)
John Higgins (13) 13-12 Mark Allen (4)

Judd Trump (3) 13-7 Tom Ford (14)
Jak Jones 13-9 Si Jiahui

Jack Lisowski 11-13 Stuart Bingham
Ryan Day 7-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Quarter-Finals (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-8 Stephen Maguire
Kyren Wilson (12) 13-8 John Higgins (13)

Judd Trump (3) 9-13 Jak Jones
Stuart Bingham 13-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Semi-Finals (bo33)

David Gilbert 11-17 Kyren Wilson (12)
Jak Jones 17-12 Stuart Bingham

Final (bo35)

Kyren Wilson (12) 18-14 Jak Jones

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One Comment

  1. Jay Brannon

    I’m definitely in double figures for times viewed on YouTube! The greatest break in snooker history.

    Nobody will ever better it. Many players wouldn’t have made a century as quickly let alone a 147.

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