Ronnie O’Sullivan raised the bar still further with his audacious 147 yesterday that once again reaffirmed his instinctive snooker genius.
This was his ninth. Stephen Hendry has made eight. There are only seven years between them so it seems likely to be the only substantive record O’Sullivan will take from the game’s all time great.
In some ways it is indicative of his personality. Easily bored, he thrives on the euphoric thrill of a great moment rather than taking satisfaction from, say, a consistent season.
It was Ronnie’s third Crucible maximum and, not for the first time, he made the game look ridiculously easy in completing it.
The crowd reaction was a sight to behold. The usual quiet of the Crucible arena gave way to one of the loudest roars ever heard there as the spectators rose as one to applaud O’Sullivan off the stage.
When any of the multitude of sneering, metropolitan broadsheet columnists deride snooker as being boring or in decline in the future, send them the tape of Ronnie’s 147.
And when they say, ‘well Ronnie’s all you’ve got,’ send them a tape of the extraordinary conclusion to the Liang Wenbo-Joe Swail match last night.
This was a Crucible thriller to rate alongside all the great games you can think of. Liang thought he’d won it on potting the blue at 12-10 but later struggled over the line 13-12.
It proved that snooker can still deliver great excitement, even from two players who are not high profile.
Yes, there has been plenty of complaints from players about various matters but the controversy has only added to what is already one of the best World Championships ever.