Originally published online on 16 March 2017 for The Yorkshire Post. Online
FIVE minutes and 20 seconds was all it took. And it was 20 years ago today. Ronnie O’Sullivan stunned the sporting world with an exhilarating maximum break that blew the roof off Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre and established him as one of the greatest players to play the game.
In a dazzling display back in 1997, O’Sullivan impatiently made short work of the reds, blacks and colours in a feat that surely won’t be repeated any time soon. The break earned Ronnie a £165,000 bonus, and is probably the most memorable of the 13 maximums that O’Sullivan has scored during his career. Mick Price, his opponent that day, has become an answer to the trivia question – “Who was Ronnie O’Sullivan playing when he made his record-breaking 147 in 1997?” Any 147 is special, but the Crucible erupted when Ronnie potted the black and threw his chalk into the crowd. Dennis Taylor, the commentator that day, appears genuinely in shock as he describes the break.
In a recent interview, O’Sullivan said: “It is still my favourite frame. It is the one I get asked about the most. To score a record maximum at the Crucible was an amazing thing and remains something very special.” And, 20 years on, O’Sullivan is still wowing crowds with his wizardry, and he’ll be hoping to go far in the 2017 World Championship, which runs from April 15 to May 1 at the famous Norfolk Street.