16.9.08

MEN OF THE CENTURY

In an idle moment yesterday, I worked out that Ronnie O’Sullivan has constructed an average of 33 centuries per season since turning professional in 1992.

Stephen Hendry has compiled an average of 31 since he joined the pro ranks in 1985.

With the seven year start, Hendry is ahead on 718 with O’Sullivan on 535.

John Higgins is comfortably in third place but yet to reach 400.

Ronnie may catch the game’s greatest ever player one day but this depends on several factors, not least how long both players continue to play for and how many tournaments there will be to play in.

There were more tournaments when Hendry was at his peak but not as many as people like to remember.

Nevertheless, when he made a record 52 centuries in the 1995/96 season he did so playing in 15 different events.

O’Sullivan made 50 last season playing in only nine.

Included in this was his remarkable achievement of making a ton in each of the five frames he won in beating Ali Carter 5-2 at the Northern Ireland Trophy.

He is now as proficient at banging in centuries as Hendry was in his pomp.

The Scot made seven when he beat Ken Doherty 10-5 in the 1994 UK Championship final.

Hendry also holds the record for the most centuries in a single tournament. He made 16 in the 2002 World Championship.

Hendry, along with Jimmy White, pioneered the attacking game that is common place in professional snooker today.

Players of 30 years ago could make centuries of course but there tended to be far more tactical play.

Perrie Mans won the 1980 Masters without making a half century break, never mind a century.

It is very rare a match in the final stages of a ranking tournament is won without the aid of a 50 these days.

The old adage states that ‘a century only wins you one frame’ but, by the same token, many centuries win you many frames.

Will O’Sullivan ever overtake Hendry in the all time centuries list?

Time will tell but what is clear is that, in this department, these two are head and shoulders above the rest.

13 comments:

Monique said...

8 AM and posting? Did you fall of of bed today Dave? lol!

The way players approach the game has changed. Maybe the way coaches teach it also?
And how has evolution of the table conditions influenced this, if it has?

ProSnookerBlog said...

I think O'Sullivan will probably overtake Hendry in the end, though I hope he doesn't. For sure it will be very close though.

Baby said...

Hi

I don' think Ronnie will overtake Hendry's century's made record. While Ronnie is very much a contender for "The Best Ever Player" crown, I think Stephen will retain the accolade. Dave has made a very good point, not only was Hendry a great player but he pioneered a style of play that the Rocket has very much benefited from. We know how natural and talented Ronnie is but it begs the question, without Stephen Hendry, would we have a Ronnie O' Sullivan who was capable of making and breaking these fine records? I for one don't believe so.

Thanks

Graham.

Donal said...

The most significant metric when awarding the "The Best Ever Player" crown is world titles. Ronnie is still a long way behind Stephen on that score, and it seems very unlikely that he will ever draw level. On that basis, Ronnie could make a million centuries, but I would still consider Hendry the superior player.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many centuries a year Hendry averaged in his 'peak years' (1990-97) as oppose to Ronnie (2001-2007)
Could you tell me that please Dave.
I think a lot of people forget quite how good Hendry was at his best
Thanks for the post
John H

Monique said...

This measure hower must be "weighted" taking into account the number of tournaments on the season. The yearly maximum of 52 by Hendry in 15 tournaments vs the 50 of Ronnie in only 9 tournaments ;) ... a proportional approach would have yielded some 83 for Ronnie if he sustained that rythm over the 15.
Somehow Hendry's luck is that we have now less tournaments than when he was at his peak. So he will probably keep his record but ... but!

Dave H said...

This is true, although it is also true that there are far fewer 'grinders' around now who make it hard to score sizeable breaks than there were in the 1990s

My point remains: Hendry and O'Sullivan are the two finest breakbuilders of all time

Anonymous said...

Dave, is it too complicated to calculate the average number of centuries both have made per tournament they have participated in (i.e. Hendry will have participated in many more tournaments than O'Sullivan).

Anonymous said...

People,

While I agree on the point that Hendry and O'Sullivan are the best breakbuilders, and sure the most proficient ones, ever to hold cues, I would like to mention 1 thing.

At the start of his career (search youtube.com for 1987 + hendry) Hendry was much lke O'Sullivan in approaching the game (or should I say...O'Sullivan is like Hendry?). As Hendry moved on, however, he became aware of how dangerous that style of play was and slowly changed it to be more measured.

I've noticed exactly the same change in Ronnie's play. Years ago he was a flash, rash, go-for-anything-you-see kind of player. Nowadays, he's come to realise that even he, the greatest natural talent ever) has to revert to more tactical play at times.

A new era brings new players and possibly new styles of play. In the 80s tactical play was prominent, the 90s were dominated by 1-visit scoring and attacking play...who knows what the future may hold.

In my mind there's one certainty, however! Ronnie may at this point in time be the most naturally gifted player EVER but I'm convinced that somewhere there's someone out there who's even more naturally gifted. When Davis "ruled" everyone thought that was the best it would get; along comes Hendry! Same story there...can it get any better?

I'm sure it can, and will for that matter.

Cheers,
Jurgen.

Dave H said...

"Dave, is it too complicated to calculate the average number of centuries both have made per tournament they have participated in (i.e. Hendry will have participated in many more tournaments than O'Sullivan)."

It would take a lot of time.

One thing, though: since 1992 they would have played in about the same number of tournaments. Also, O'Sullivan played far more qualifying matches than Hendry in his early days because there were far more professionals.

I suspect this would pretty much even it out.

Graham said...

"One thing, though: since 1992 they would have played in about the same number of tournaments. Also, O'Sullivan played far more qualifying matches than Hendry in his early days because there were far more professionals.

I suspect this would pretty much even it out."

Dave makes another good point here but I return to my original post, how Ronnie has benefited from a style of play unseen before Hendry.

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” - Isaac Newton.

Graham.

Anonymous said...

there is very little between the two in terms of talent but hendry's mental toughness and will to win makes him the greatest player of all time

Bogdan said...

Hendry has retired. His career total is 775 centuries. Ronnie has 676 so far (3 may 2012) and has already made 47 this season.He still has to play in the World Championship semi-final and hopefully the final. So it seems like in 2 3 years he will overtake Hendry's record. Go Ronnie !!!