Whilst many might envision snooker as a quiet and serene sport for the most part, with quiet audiences and hushed commentators, the sport has had its fair share of sublime, ridiculous and downright stupid moments over the years. These are just a few highlights from some of the greatest characters in this fascinating sport.
Ronnie’s Fastest 147
As if this article was going to start anywhere else but with the legendary Ronnie O’Sullivan. In a career packed full of standout moments (such as the time he played a frame in his socks and eventually had to borrow the tournament director’s shoes, or the interview he did with the BBC entirely in a fake Australian accent) it’s his world record 147 maximum break that surely takes top spot.
In the 1997 World Championship, aged just 22, Ronnie completed the full slate of pots, racking up a maximum score in his first-round match against Englishman Mick Price. His first maximum break sure, but the real amazement was that he managed it a world-beating five minutes and 15 seconds. That’s 8.8 seconds per shot. Ronnie didn’t win the World Championship that year, but he earned himself £150,000 and broke a world record that still stands to this day. Not bad for your first world championship. Ronnie would later go on to win five of them, as of 2019.
Mark Selby Takes a 6 Minute Shot
In contrast to that ridiculous display of skill and speed by Ronnie O’Sullivan we have Mark Selby, who took six minutes and 13 seconds to size up a shot in his 2019 Northern-Ireland Open quarter final against John Higgins. With no disrespect to Selby, another three-time world champion himself, that’s six minutes. To take one shot. Which he eventually missed.
That’s 58 seconds longer than Ronnie took to clear a whole frame back in 1997. ‘He’s just got to play a shot now, it’s stupid,’ summarised commentator Neal Foulds nearly five minutes in. ‘Maybe his brain went to mush,’ said his opponent in the post-match interview. We can certainly see where they’re coming from to be honest.
Rory McLeod Accused of Supporting Terrorism
In a sad reflection of the times we live in, a highly successful Muslim snooker player, Rory McLeod, was in 2015 forced to respond to online criticism after he appeared wearing a badge with name ISIS on it during a match against (fellow Muslim as it goes) Ronnie O’Sullivan.
As anyone with basic reasoning skills, or an internet connection to check the facts, could see – this was in fact not the terrorist organisation but the logo for ISIS Business Solutions, a UK company who had been sponsoring McLeod for the past 14 years. The fact that anyone found the need to comment on this at all, possibly also because of his black skin and beard, was just ridiculous and so deserves a place on this list. We can only hope McLeod, who was once ranked 32nd in the world, wasn’t too bothered by it!