May 04, 2006

Perfection: [YouTube] in sport is a wonderful thing. In snooker, perfection is achieved when a player makes a maximum break, otherwise known as a 147. The video linked is of Ronnie O'Sullivan, perhaps the most gifted player of all time, making the fastest ever 147. A frame of professional snooker can last upwards of an hour; O'Sullivan cleared the table in five minutes and twenty seconds. [much more inside]

posted by JJ to other at 12:42 PM - 20 comments

The first ever 147 at the World Championships was performed by Canadian Cliff Thorburn in 1983. His opening shot was a fluke. The break was recently captured in a cleverly conceived "map" painting by someone called Michael Myers (not Thorburn's fellow Canadaian). O'Sullivan scored his first 147 at the age of 15, has had 6 of them in competition, and is responsible for the five fastest 147s in history (all took less than 8 minutes, and one of them can be viewed here). Stephen Hendry, the best player of the modern era (in terms of winning titles), holds the record for the most competitive 147s, having had eight (one of which, from 1995, can be seen here). The most stylish 147 (in terms of the outfit he sported while he was doing it) has to go to Kirk Stevens (another Canadian), who rattled home this one in 1984. Snooker can be a dull, exasperating, frustrating game to watch - despite that, or maybe even because of that, the moments where everything just goes right are incredible to witness. (If you are still awake, you might like to see 147s from Mark Williams and John Higgins)

posted by JJ at 01:03 PM on May 04, 2006

I'm not at all familiar with how snooker is played or scored, but I could tell by watching the clip that Ronnie had made a significant accomplishment. Very cool post.

posted by willthrill72 at 01:22 PM on May 04, 2006

That was incredible. I kind of feel bad for that black ball, though.

posted by Samsonov14 at 01:27 PM on May 04, 2006

Wow, I learned something today. But where do you put the quarters in?

posted by Bill Lumbergh at 01:42 PM on May 04, 2006

I readily admit I am not familiar with snooker. Until I figured some of it out by watching the clip, I was wondering why he didn't bash that guy over the head with his cue for repeatedly pulling that ball out and putting it back on the table.

posted by graymatters at 01:47 PM on May 04, 2006

Snooker sounded familiar I've never played it or know anything about it but I knew it involved pool boy I still can't understand it but very awesome post

posted by luther70 at 01:57 PM on May 04, 2006

So when do you drink?

posted by MW12 at 02:14 PM on May 04, 2006

I have to simply repeat the sentiment. I had know freaking idea what was going on, but I got that sports moment feeling anyway... (you know with the hairs on the back of your neck, etc...)

posted by everett at 02:48 PM on May 04, 2006

Pretty amazing, although I still find the game drier than a Mormon wedding reception.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:07 PM on May 04, 2006

Another great post, thanks JJ. Im still learning to play pool from a wheelchair, you get a very different view of the table from down here, although I have seen a few "wheelers" that are really good. Not knowing the rules of snooker I noticed in all the video clips there were no combination shots. Is this a no-no in snooker? Still I love watching any player, be it 8-ball/9-ball etc clear a table.

posted by Folkways at 04:11 PM on May 04, 2006

You can play a plant using the reds, or you can pot several reds with one shot if you like. The former is rarely done as the table is just too big and the pockets too small to present the opportunity very often; the latter (potting more than one red with one shot) is only ever done by accident. Potting a red gets you one point and the right to then pot a colour*, but if you pot two reds, you only get one stab at potting a colour afterwards, so potting two reds at a time really costs you the points value of the colour you might have potted afterwards. *The colours have different points values as follows: yellow - 2 green - 3 brown - 4 blue - 5 pink - 6 black - 7 If you've only ever played pool you should try snooker sometime. I went to play last week with a friend from Canada who said he had never even seen a snooker table. He spent the two hours we were there gawping at the size of the table and protesting that we were playing some sort of practical joke on him. I've played pool with him in the past and he wasn't bad - he potted three balls in two hours on the snooker table.

posted by JJ at 04:44 PM on May 04, 2006

Something else I neglected to mention is that there are two tables in play next to each other in a lot of those clips - just in case you wondered why the hell people were clapping half the time when nothing seems to be going on to merit it.

posted by JJ at 05:03 PM on May 04, 2006

In Australia I grew up with snooker rather than pool, and find it is still a far better game to play (especially with friends over a few beers). Much more strategy and placement of shots is involved. This doesn't mean I'm any good, mind. The biggest drawback is finding a full sized snooker table (but this is much easier in a licensed club than the local pub). Pool tables are becoming increasingly popular, as they fit into smaller spaces and the games are over quicker, improving the publican's cash flow.

posted by owlhouse at 05:55 PM on May 04, 2006

i'm an avid 9 ball this is an awesome post/link, cause i know how hard it is to master the art, of playing pool,let alone billiards..i've seen cliff thorburn play a few times,he's into 9 ball these days..still an scary player to watch,man he's freakin good!!!

posted by ktown at 06:29 PM on May 04, 2006

They used to show snooker late at night in Toronto, and I prefer it to eight-ball or nine-ball or anything else, really. It's just so much more about feel, and the smaller pockets on a larger table just makes more sense. I just watched all of those videos, and found myself teary-eyed by the end of some of them. That's just amazing.

posted by chicobangs at 06:34 PM on May 04, 2006

They used to show snooker late at night in Toronto Toronto lad Mordechai Richler wrote some fantastic pieces on snooker. Look them up.

posted by owlhouse at 01:30 AM on May 05, 2006

He's a Montrealer, actually, but snooker in Canada's a pretty big deal all over. Cliff Thorburn did more exhibitions in the 80's than I could count, and he really planted the seed everywhere.

posted by chicobangs at 02:06 AM on May 05, 2006

Whoops, how did I get that mixed up? It's probably a capital offence in Canada to confuse the two. However a capital offence in Canada should probably include Ottawa. Honk! I'm available for weddings and bar mitzvahs....

posted by owlhouse at 02:21 AM on May 05, 2006

... try the salad.

posted by JJ at 02:32 AM on May 05, 2006

I remember watching that break slack-jawed when it was live on TV. Could watch Rocket Ronnie all day on form. Doubt there will ever be a better frame played in top level competition, or at his best a better natural player. If he was only consistent ...

posted by walrus at 05:30 PM on May 05, 2006

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