Snooker news - VOTE: Who made snooker's greatest maximum 147 of all time?

Vote and debate: Who made the greatest 147 of all time?
By Eurosport

13/01/2019 at 18:10Updated 22/01/2019 at 11:55

With 146 maximum breaks made in the history of modern snooker, we pick out the 10 best 147 breaks over the past 37 years.

Vote for your favourite at the bottom of this article - and use the hashtag #Greatest147 on social media!

1. Ronnie O'Sullivan v Mick Price, 1997 World Championship first round

Arguably the greatest 147 of all time. Ask any snooker fan how long Ronnie O’Sullivan took to compile the fastest competitive maximum break in history, and most will tell you it was five minutes and 20 seconds. Yet 22 years on from O’Sullivan’s astonishing 147 against Mick Price in the first round of the World Championship, it turns out that the official time was wrong. O’Sullivan first struck the struck the cue ball five minutes and eight seconds before the break concluded. Liquid snooker. It simply doesn’t get any better on a snooker table. In his pomp, it has rarely got better than O’Sullivan.

2. Kirk Stevens v Jimmy White, 1984 Masters semi-final

Kirk Stevens never won a major title, but the Canadian player produced a golden piece of green baize folklore in 1984. Stevens was a flamboyant character, and made the first 147 in Masters history sporting a glorious white suit that was more suited to his wedding day. A few shots in the break were particularly enthralling.

Kirk Stevens of Canada playing in the Masters Snooker Championship at Wembley Arena in London.

Kirk Stevens of Canada playing in the Masters Snooker Championship at Wembley Arena in London.Eurosport

Perhaps most notably a pot on the green before spinning the white around the table to land on the brown. Was the only 147 at the Masters until Ding Junhui replicated the feat in 2007.

3. Cliff Thorburn v Terry Griffiths, 1983 World Championship second round

If O’Sullivan’s 147 was swashbuckling, Thorburn’s effort was studious. It began with a fluke on the red while Thorburn was negotiating a cigarette at the other end of the table. Just over 15 minutes later, the 1980 world champion had compiled the first momentous maximum on TV at the Crucible. ‘The Grinder’ liked to take his time over shots, but the 147 was still spectacular. And he celebrated his historic moment by clutching a packet of ciggies as he waltzed off for the mid-session interval in Sheffield.

4. Steve Davis v John Spencer, 1982 Lada Classic quarter-finals

During a decade of complete domination in the 1980s, it is of little surprise that the six-times world champion Davis produced the first televised maximum. It came against John Spencer at the delightfully titled Lada Classic in 1982. It was also the first 147 in a professional tournament in the modern era. Interestingly enough, Davis’ next highest break of 145 was during the 2005 UK Championship against the 2004 winner Stephen Maguire. Coming 23 years later, it illustrated his longevity as one of the game’s true icons.

5. Stephen Hendry v Ronnie O’Sullivan, 1997 Charity Challenge final

At the peak of his powers, Stephen Hendry was the most devastating and clinical break builder in snooker. Perhaps never better underlined by the Scotsman’s break against O’Sullivan in the final of the Charity Challenge. Hendry watched his fierce rival win six straight frames with breaks of 74, 137, 124, 91, 87 and 59 to level at 8-8 from 8-2 behind, and seemingly on the verge of victory. But Hendry, as ever, was unflustered as he gathered his senses to win the deciding frame with a delightful closing 147, the 19th maximum in tournament play.

6. Jimmy White v Tony Drago, 1992 World Championship first round

Jimmy White never won the world title, losing six times in the final between 1984 to 1994 to Steve Davis, John Parrott and four times to Hendry. Yet plenty of his admirers thought 1992 was the year the ‘people’s champion’ would become world champion.

Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White

Stephen Hendry and Jimmy WhiteEurosport

He was in quite splendid form, and pieced together the second 147 break seen at the Crucible against Tony Drago in 10-4 win in the first round. White collected £114,000 for the 147 break, but lost the final 18-14 to Hendry having led 14-8.

7. Ronnie O'Sullivan v Mark Williams, 2008 World Championship quarter-finals

Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed a third world title at the Crucible 11 years ago, but also made a ninth maximum to complete a 13-7 win over Mark Williams in the quarter-finals. The break was completed by a cannon on one of the two remaining reds, freeing the red from the pink after potting the black.

Ronnie O'Sullivan of England celebrates making a break of 147, his record breaking ninth in professional competition.

Ronnie O'Sullivan of England celebrates making a break of 147, his record breaking ninth in professional competition.Eurosport

It was a pristine effort, but O’Sullivan was forced to share the £157,000 top prize for maximum and highest break with Ali Carter, who he defeated 18-8 in the final. Carter emulated O’Sullivan’s 147 break a day later in his quarter-final against Peter Ebdon.

8. Stephen Hendry v Jimmy White, 1995 World Championship semi-finals

It was only a matter of time before Hendry finally compiled a maximum break at the Crucible, and it came in the 1995 semi-finals against Jimmy White. On his way to the fourth of his seven world titles, Hendry produced an immaculate 147, the third Crucible maximum behind Thorburn and White. He was forced to produce a cutback on a black into a blind pocket to seal the break in a match he would win 16-12 before overcoming Nigel Bond 18-9 in the final for a third straight victory in Sheffield.

9. Neil Robertson v Liang Wenbo, 2015 UK Championship final

Neil Robertson made a century of centuries in 2014, but it was at the end of 2015 that the 2010 world champion produced a unique slice of snooker history when he became the first man to make a 147 break in a UK Championship final.

Neil Robertson celebrates after making a 147 break during the final.

Neil Robertson celebrates after making a 147 break during the final.Eurosport

He was a 10-5 winner against Liang Wenbo in the final at the York Barbican, producing the third 147 of his career in the sixth frame of the final. He broke up the final three reds with pinpoint accuracy before polishing off the remaining balls to finish off in animated style.

10. John Higgins v Gerard Greene, 2018 Scottish Open third round

Amid talk of retiring, the four-times world champion made the 145th 147 in snooker history in the third round of the Scottish Open. It was a quite splendid effort by Higgins in Glasgow on his way to a ninth career maximum. The key to the break was screwing the final red into the yellow pocket before coming back for the black which he managed to trickle in before clearing the colours. An immaculate effort from a genuine snooker giant.

Video - Higgins makes 147 at Scottish Open


Who produced the greatest 147 break in snooker history?

Quick Poll
2071 vote(s)
Ronnie O'Sullivan (1997)
Kirk Stevens (1984)
Cliff Thorburn (1983)
Steve Davis (1982)
Stephen Hendry (1997)
Jimmy White (1992)
Ronnie O'Sullivan (2008)
Stephen Hendry (1995)
Neil Robertson (2015)
John Higgins (2018)