Mike Dunn’s 147 break in the German Masters qualifiers tonight proves two things: that the standard throughout the ranks is high and that maximums are still relatively rare.

There are a number of players who have been on the circuit a while who get routinely written off as ‘mediocrity’ or ‘deadwood’. People ask what they have done for snooker.

Well the answer to that is this: they have played it. True, professional sport relies on its star names for commercial appeal but snooker would be nothing without the many foot-soldiers who comprise the tour.

They can all play to a much higher standard than many realise. Hopefully the introduction of streaming for the qualifiers has illuminated this. Just because they aren’t all tournament winners doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be respected.

(Neither, incidentally, should they be artificially propped up. Money in sport should be earned through performance.)

Dunn had never previously made a maximum in a tournament but will now be placed on a list of players, some legends, others long since forgotten, to have achieved the perfect run.

We are fast approaching the 30th anniversary of snooker’s first officially ratified 147 break, made by Steve Davis at the Lada Classic in January 1982.

Since then there have been hundreds of thousands of frames of professional snooker played around the world, yet Dunn’s 147 was only the 79th maximum in the game’s history.

Make no mistake: it is still a very difficult thing to accomplish. In a match environment more so.

Ken Doherty says that the biggest regret of his entire career is his missed black for a 147 at the Masters at Wembley in 2000. He has woken up in the middle of the night thinking about it.

Cliff Thorburn became world champion in 1980 but he is still best known for making the first 147 at the Crucible in 1983.

Whenever Kirk Stevens is mentioned so is his white suit and maximum break at the 1984 Masters.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s five minute, 20 second maximum at the Crucible in 1997 is rightly talked about as a remarkable exhibition of skill.

Dunn’s 147 was not made in such lofty surroundings but it is still a significant personal achievement.

It’s a shame so many people immediately began to bellyache about the fact there is no financial prize for making one in the qualifiers, as if everything has to be about money. Dunn didn’t make the break for cash (though he would obviously welcome it), he did it because it’s a holy grail in our sport.

Whether there should be a prize or not, the feat of accomplishing a maximum break in competition is one all snooker players aspire to and most don’t achieve.

So Dunn can be proud to have done so.


Kjetil Hårtveit said...

Never thought about how rare a maximum in competetive play was. Great feat by Mike Dunn

Trevorp said...

Actually he will get a cash prize its £1,500 its £500 a pop in the non televised events and this is the 3rd event since it was brought in.

Matt said...

To be fair Dave, judging by Twitter Mike is obviously as concerned about the money issue as anyone, prestige or not.

As for the answer it appears to be vague judging by this article:


Which suggests that:

"There will be an additional £500 for all Players Tour Championship events and non-televised matches in major ranking events should a maximum break be achieved and similar rules will apply as above."

Which contradicts the first sentence:

"The prize on offer for a maximum break in a PTC event is now 3,000 pounds, and for a televised 147 in a full ranking event it's now 15,000 pounds."

In addition, looking at the German Masters Qualifiers Players Information Pack, the event is split into two stages, stage one being the qualifiers and two the venue. It is explicitly stated that there is a max prize of £5,000 for stage two, but there is no reference to any prize for stage one.

For that reason I don't think that Mike will get anything, but we'll see. That's just my reading of it.

Anonymous said...

well dunn mike

Dave H said...

You are right it is needlessly vague and should be straightened out - I just dislike the fact that everything that happens in snooker these days ends up in a row about money

Anonymous said...

This is Mike Dunn thanks for the article. :)

Mark Carrington said...

Well done Mike on your max.
I remember playing you at Hazel Grove Snooker club years ago on UK Tour when a mate of mine Nick Dyson rolled a max in again Adrian Gunnell.
You were quality then & great to hear of you maiden.
Best of luck for the rest of the season,
Mark Carrington

Tim Sandle said...

Dave, I thought Steve Davis' 147 was the first officially ratified 147 in tournament play, whereas the 147 breaks made by Joe Davis (1955, Leicester Square Hall) and Rex Williams (1966, Cape Town) were the first two official breaks as recognised by the then governing bodies and, through lineage, by the WPBSA (this is according to my dusty old copy of Guinness Snooker Records, written by Clive Everton).

There were probably political issues as to why two exhibition breaks were ratified as official maximums where others before and after have not been, and it is correct that a maximum only counts in a bona fide tournament.

In between these breaks and Steve's., John Spencer made a 147 in a tournament (1979 Holsten Lager International), but the pockets failed marginally to meet the official template (and there lies one of snooker's notorious pub quiz questions: "who made the first 147 in tournament play"?)

Steve K said...

Great result Mike, well done!

Strange that we had some many 147's in the PTCs last year but only Ronnie's so far this year. Just shows like you said it's a very rare thing.

"There will be an additional £500 for all Players Tour Championship events and non-televised matches in major ranking events should a maximum break be achieved and similar rules will apply as above."

It says that on the World Snooker website so he should get £3000 for it imho.

Anonymous said...

Actually, maybe Rex Williams' should be retrospectively be made the first tournament max since by my understanding he actually made it in a tournament but against an amateur. It seems rather arbitrary if Rex's max is dismissed because he made it against an amateur, but Mark William's counts from last year's PTC which he also made against an amateur. What's the difference? Include Rex or chuck out Williams, but keep the criteria the same for everyone!

Anonymous said...

mike dunn should be awarded the 1500 at least any maximum should have a financial reward even if its small as it is a perfect break. every snooker players dream amatuer and professional is a 147 and world title in their career

147 said...

Well done Mike

Dave H said...

It's been confirmed he is getting money for it

Colin M said...

Nice article Dave and well played Mike Dunn!

I would be ecstatic with a maximum break under any circumstance personally (the 47 would be a start!).

We should give Jimmy White an honourable mention as he is (probably!) the first person to make a maximum off the break! This was done recently at an exhibition and there is amateur footage on Youtube. The positional shot from pink to black proved once again that, to quote the late and great Jack Karnehm, "this man's the Rolls Royce of snooker".

Colin M said...

Would it be possible for some pro players to comment honestly on the number of career 147s they have made, both in practice and in any kind of matchplay?

Does the Great WT still lead the pack in this regard...

Anonymous said...

jimmys 147 was an exo.

no pressure

or hed have bottled it

good break tho

Ray said...

When you first start playing snooker it gives you an incredible buzz when you reach your first 50. So to make a 147 in a match must be off the Richter scale.
What's money got to do with it? Surely you can't put a price on that feeling. It seems to me we live in an age where people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Colin M (10.51)- John Virgo was talking to Stephen Hendry a while ago saying that WT was king of the 147s. It was well over a hundred. Hendry said he had stopped counting his at 300!!!! Mark Williams is also said to have made over 300 in practice.

Anonymous said...

So how much does he get for the maxie then???

Betty Logan said...

I saw an interview once where they were talking about maximums, and Willie Thorne said he had made over 50; Hendry came in after his match and they asked him how many he had made and he said he stopped counting at 1000. Thorne laughed, he obviously thought Hendry was joking but I wasn't so sure. Say Hendry made 1000 maximums over 25 years, that would work out at 40 per year; if Hendry told me he made one or two a week in practice I'd probably believe him.

Toestubber said...

I think O'Sullivan said he had 500.

I once had 10 reds and 10 blacks with 5 open reds left and couldn't hold my cue for shaking....and missed the next red, bastard!!!

Mat Wilson

Colin M said...

Thorne's been on record saying he's made 198 I believe.

Pop quiz for two pieces of chalk: which pro player once made a 147 against a midget?

Anonymous said...

Dave you are a legend of snooker. One of the greats. I'm about to rank my top 10 snooker people of all time. This includes players and other people associated with the game:

1. Dougie Donnelly
2. Dave Hendon
3. Bill Werbeniuck
4. Ted Lowe
5. Clive Everton
6. Steve Davis
7. James Wattana
8. Andy Hicks
9. David Vine
10. Great WT

Anonymous said...

i do believe hendry had over a 1000 in practice im sure he still gets them in practice as he prob plays lie he did 15 years ago in practice still

Dave H said...

Thank you. I'm happy to cede top spot to Dougie, who is a good bloke.

Rob said...

"Pop quiz for two pieces of chalk: which pro player once made a 147 against a midget?"

A Hungarian midget?

Anonymous said...

1.20- Dougie Donnelly? ANDY HICKS?

Colin M said...

@ Rob 1.10pm... Yes!!

Rob said...

That'll be Steve Davis then! 1992 in Budapest ;). I wouldn't have known but it happens to be one of the first videos I put on youtube :p

So we know Steve Davis made the first ever televised 147. Does this also give him the first overseas maximum captured on video? Colin's chalk to anyone who can name an earlier one ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes it is me 1.20am I think Dougie Donnelly was a very fine presenter and Andy Hicks was also a very fine talent my favourite moment was when he almost chinned Quinten Hann.

Since my top 10 is proving a real talking point I will now give my 11-20:

11. Del Hill
12. Jan Verhaas
13. Willie Fu
14. Dennis Taylor
15. Alex Hurricane Higgins
16. Joe Swail
17. Mike Hallett
18. Marco Fu
19. Joe Jogia
20. Hazel Irvine (I don't like womenpresenters but she is ok)

If proves popular again 21-30 comes next week

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Is Willie Fu a brother of Marco or Kung?