The Best 147 Breaks of All Time

Ronnie O'Sullivan leads the way with 15 maximum breaks but how many feature in our five greatest of all time?

Ronnie O'Sullivan on his way to a 147 maximum

A maximum break is the epitome of perfection on a snooker table, 15 reds, 15 blacks and all the colours in a single break compiling the highest possible points tally – 147!

Some of the most iconic and magical moments in the history of snooker have been 147s. There have been 158 officially recorded in professional play, with each and every ‘maxy’ a slice of history and an accolade professional players achieve and hold almost on par with a tournament victory itself.

We have picked out the five greatest-ever maximum breaks in the history of the sport for your entertainment.

5 Ronnie O’Sullivan 2007 UK Championship

One of the greatest rivalries in the modern era has been between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby. They have traded blows and locked horns on numerous occasions at the highest level and on the biggest of stages.

Tied at 8-8 and into a decider for a place in the final of the UK Championship back in 2007, O’Sullivan, who hadn’t won a ranking event title for over two years, produced magic when it mattered most.

Clive Everton was on mic for the BBC and his “wonderful, wonderful, wonderful” as O’Sullivan sank the final black is one of the most famous lines from the commentary box in the history of televised snooker.

4 Ronnie O’Sullivan 2014 Welsh Open

Unsurprisingly, the greatest snooker player of all-time Ronnie O’Sullivan features a number of times in this top five, this time the Rocket not only produces perfection on the green baize to compile a maximum break, but he does it to clinch a ranking event title.

As 147s go, this one has to go down as one of the best ever, not due to O’Sullivan producing it to actually win the Welsh Open, but because the shot on the fifteenth and final red is one of the best shots ever executed.

Ambidextrous O’Sullivan leaves himself the tricky final red into the green pocket down the side cushion, he switches hands to play left-handed and the rest is history…

3 Ronnie O’Sullivan 2010 World Open

After it was announced that there would be no high break prize and no additional prize money for anyone who compiles a maximum break during this event, Ronnie O’Sullivan produced a moment around a snooker table that will be remembered forever.

Knowing full well that there was no financial incentive for a 147, after potting one red and one black he then asked referee Jan Verhaas about the high break prize as those in attendance and in the commentary box looked on in disbelief.

O’Sullivan made a statement in his actions, which spoke volumes, it stole the headlines and sparked much debate within the sport. 

The audacity and confidence from O’Sullivan was unbelievable and the brilliance that then followed was truly remarkable.

2 Steve Davis 1982 Lada Classic

Six-time world champion Steve Davis was ground-breaking in many different ways during his illustrious career, and he was the very first player to produce a maximum break in professional play – which was also the first-ever televised 147.

With more events and the standard higher than ever before, 147s are a much more common occurrence, but while the Nugget was at the peak of his powers he led the way in snooker and these moments of perfection were few and far between.

1 Ronnie O’Sullivan 1997 World Championship

This was the first of 15 maximum televised breaks compiled by O’Sullivan to date, who leads the way with the most of any player in history. 

A moment not just of snooker history, but sporting history, as ‘Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan lived up to his nickname by producing the fastest-ever 147 break in a time of just five minutes and 20 seconds.

A rapid and fluent performance of genius and talent, this is a record that will never be broken.

An experienced sports journalist, Henry’s knowledge spans across a number of different areas, including darts and snooker.
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