8.11.08

MARCUS CAMPBELL: MAXIMUM MAN

I’m pleased for Marcus Campbell, who today constructed the 66th maximum in snooker history and the first in the Middle East.

His cheque for £22,000 – assuming no other player makes a 147 (not a safe assumption these days) – is the biggest of his 17-year professional career. Last season, he only earned £17,000 during the whole campaign.

Marcus has almost defined the term ‘journeyman.’ He is far too good a player to drop off the circuit but has never quite threatened to win a major title.

It is ten years, almost to the week, since his other great achievement when he defeated Stephen Hendry 9-0 in the first round of the 1998 UK Championship, arguably the biggest shock in snooker history.

He has never risen higher than 41st in the rankings and has reached only one ranking event quarter-final, at the 1998 Scottish Open in Aberdeen.

However, to have remained on the circuit for this long is a considerable achievement.

Marcus’s previous claim to fame in an overseas event was making a hole in one during a round of golf at Mission Hills, Shenzhen at the 2000 China Open.

He used to play in glasses before having his eyes ‘lasered’ in an attempt to improve his fortunes.

He qualified for the televised phase of the World Championship at the Crucible in 2001 but his career suffered a major blow in 2004 when his cue was broken beyond repair by baggage handlers at Cardiff airport.

Campbell’s previous highest break was 141, made in the 2006 Grand Prix, and he becomes the eighth Scottish player to make a 147 in competition after Hendry, John Higgins, Stephen Maguire, Graeme Dott, John Rea, Jamie Burnett and David McLellan.

This is the third maximum of the season after Jamie Cope’s effort in the Shanghai Masters and Liang Wenbo’s 147 in the Bahrain qualifiers.

They have become far more common since Steve Davis made the first on TV in 1982 but it is still an achievement worth noting and Marcus should be very proud of himself.

3 comments:

Claus Christensen said...

Was this captured on camera? I just checked youtube but there was nothing there as of yet.

Anonymous said...

Nope wasn´t on TV Table...
BTW EuroSport mentioned its "only" 20.000 pounds

oneball said...

Well done to Campbell. I just left this post on snooker forum which was discussing the ease of maximums with fast cloths and should they be slowed down:


Whenever a maximum is made, especially by a less well known player there's always a debate about their value and how easy they are to make.

How easy are they? The most naturally gifted player of all time has made 8 and the most prolific break building machine has made 7. How many frames have they played in competition? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? So the strike rate for the best ever is probably less than 0.01%!

Visit a lot of snooker clubs in the land and if they've got a highest break board in the club there's a fair chance the top break will be 147 made by a local amateur on a table without the fine cloths.

Marcus Campbell has been a professional since 1991. You would think he would've made a maximum in practice, probably several. He'd had a break of 99 in a previous frame suggesting he was playing pretty well, and he was playing local wildcard Ahmed Basheer Al-Khusai (who we can reasonably assume was out of his depth) and was 3-0 up at the time i.e. under no pressure.

He said:

"The reds were perfect from the start although I had a massive kick on 73. I didn't land on anything but took a chance and managed to pot the black and move the three reds that were left."

So the reds were perfect from the start, something a pro instinctively spots and it sounds like he had it in his sights from the off. Then by his account he played a make or break shot when on 73 which happened to go right for him. He then held himself together to finish the job which obviously shows a bit of nerve. These are the classic 3 variables which need to go right to get a maximum - lay of the balls from the off, the make or break shot and holding of nerve at the end.

Maximum breaks aren't as prolific as some make them out to be, but they do happen more than they used to. The reason is two fold - conditions AND natural progression. More players look for them these days and know how to go about the job through studying players like Hendry, White and O'Sullivan.

Maybe if the number of maximums continues to rise the prize money will drop accordingly and the armchair viewer won't get as excited as they used to, but maximums will always be special and players will keep on trying to get them because for the player it's the ultimate buzz. A perfect frame of snooker - one of the most difficult games in the world.