With compelling victories over Barry Hawkins, John Higgins, Mark Allen and Neil Robertson, who would have thought that winning the Players Championship 2019 would be the secondary highlight the night of the final.
The Coral Cup will always be one of my favourite sets of tournaments because of the competition it encourages and this year’s Players Championship was no different. Despite the solid contesting throughout the event, make no mistake; it was all about the final. More specifically, the final frame.
O’Sullivan was on 997 centuries before the start of the final and made 2 centuries in the match to build a comfortable 7-2 lead against Robertson. Once the scoreboard got to 9-4, O’Sullivan potted a sweet first red into the left centre which initiated the infamous 1000th century break. And I don’t know many other players that can consistently win their final frames by clearing up the table.
The rest of the break was fairly standard but there was a lot of speculation and crowd murmurs as to whether the magical 1000 would be made that night. In prior interviews, O’Sullivan said that he would be saving this landmark for a future event – some thought he was saving it for the World Championship, which would have meant intentionally refusing centuries for weeks.
But fortunately, this wasn’t the case. O’Sullivan realised that moment was right; he had a great tournament, the crowd were engaging and encouraging him to make it and it was with an opponent who he has great respect for.
If you ever want to see a snooker crowd going ballistic (that isn’t the erratic bellowing of the Shoot Out), watch this. Or the 2008 WSC maximum break. No one can work a crowd like O’Sullivan and only he would have been able to get this much from an audience. This was only enhanced when he played with the crowd with little gestures, getting up from the final pots and of course, playing the century ball left handed.
Now the question is, how many with O’Sullivan go on to make? Well, only he can really answer that. But he’s been making at least 50-60 centuries the past few seasons and he has said previously that he wants to leave a lengthy gap for the next person to try and catch up. One thing is for certain though, this will go for decades as a classic snooker moments that many will remember.