Ronnie has defended his Players Championship title tonight, beating Neil Robertson by 10-4. It was Ronnie’s 50th ranking final, and 35th ranking title, just one short of Stephen Hendry’s record.
But what will stay in the memories most, is that he clinched victory with a 134, his 1000th competitive century, setting a new milestone in the history of snooker. Ronnie received a long standing ovation whilst potting the last balls, and celebrated with the crowd after receiving the trophy. He dedicated his 1000th ton to all the snooker fans around the world.
Let’s enjoy the moment with a few pictures.
Thanks to Tai Chengzhe
Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:
Ronnie O’Sullivan achieved another high in his extraordinary career by making his 1,000th century in the last frame of a 10-4 victory over Neil Robertson in the final of the Coral Players Championship in Preston.
Ever the showman, O’Sullivan made his milestone break at the perfect moment, to seal the title at the Guild Hall. A packed crowd cheered every shot as he became the first player to make 1,000 career tons (read more about that story here).
Victory gave O’Sullivan his 35th ranking title, bringing him within one of Stephen Hendry’s record. He dominated the final with a brilliant display, making three centuries and eight more breaks over 50 as he successfully completed the defence of his title and scooped the £125,000 top prize.
It has been a remarkable few months for O’Sullivan; in December he won his seventh UK Championship title and 19th Triple Crown event, beating records set by Steve Davis and Hendry. Now he has yet another piece of history and it surely won’t be long before he equals and then beats Hendry’s record of 36 ranking titles.
This was O’Sullivan’s 50th ranking final, the first coming 26 years ago at the same venue when he beat Hendry in the final of the UK Championship at the age of just 17.
The Chigwell cueman, now 43, has played in nine tournaments so far this season, reaching six finals and winning four. His earnings for the season now stand at £754,500, bringing him within striking distance of becoming the first player to top the £1 million mark in a single campaign. O’Sullivan moves one place up to second in the world rankings and could overtake Mark Selby at the top of the list if he wins the Coral Tour Championship later this month.
Australia’s Robertson had been aiming for his 16th ranking title and victory would have given him three in a season for the first time, having already won the Riga Masters and Welsh Open. But the 37-year-old could not live with his opponent today and had to accept the £50,000 runner-up prize after losing to O’Sullivan for the 15th time in 22 meetings.
Trailing 7-2 after the first session, Robertson needed a fast start tonight and got it with a 120 total clearance in the opening frame. O’Sullivan responded with a break of 90, missing out on a chance for the 1,000th century when the last red stayed above the jaws of a corner pocket.
Robertson took frame 12 with 35 and 36 to make it 8-4 and ensure that the session would go to an interval, then O’Sullivan compiled runs of 43 and 37 in the 13th to go five ahead with six to play.
And he sealed the match in sensational style with a break of 134, which in fact would have been a 141 total clearance had he not gone in-off after potting the final black. The two players laughed as Robertson informed his opponent that the in-off had cost him the tournament-high break prize of £5,000 as it would have beaten Robertson’s mark of 140. Still, nothing could spoil O’Sullivan’s moment.
“I knew I had to play well today,” said O’Sullivan. “I have played well all week and played brilliantly today. To cap it off with the 1,000th century was great. I was pleased to do it against Neil because he’s probably the nicest human being on the circuit. There’s no player I’d rather share that moment with other than Ding Junhui or Liang Wenbo.
“This is one of the best venues we get to play at, I love playing here. Since I was seven or eight I have just potted snooker balls, I love the game. To share this with the fans here and around the world – Preston is lucky that it was here tonight but it’s for the fans everywhere.
“It has been a history making year for me with 19 majors, 1,000 centuries and I’m within touching distance of Hendry’s record of 36 ranking titles. I’m not someone who looks at records, it’s nice when I reach them but it’s not my motivation.”
Robertson said: “I had high hopes going into the match but I couldn’t do much about the way Ronnie played. He probably plays a final like that once every two or three years. I kept trying all the way through and did well to stay in there. I only missed a few tough shots, he won at least five or six frames where I didn’t make a mistake.
“It was great to be in the arena when he made the 1,000th century. I’m delighted for him, he’s a wonderful champion and the game’s greatest ever player.”
Both players will be in action at the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno (March 19-24), for ticket details click here.
O’Sullivan reached this historic landmark with a run of 134 in the 14th and last frame on the final against Neil Robertson at the Guild Hall in Preston, securing a 10-4 victory. Fans rose to salute the Rocket as he celebrated this marvellous achievement.
It is a feat comparable to Pelé scoring his 1,000thgoal in 1969, or Sunil Gavaskar becoming the first player to score 10,000 test runs in 1987.
Second on the all-time list of century makers is Stephen Hendry, who made 775 tons during his illustrious career, and the huge gap of 225 shows just how prolific O’Sullivan has been.
In his debut professional season back in 1992/93, O’Sullivan made 29 centuries – only Hendry made more that term – and the Rocket has been a regular scorer of three-figure totals ever since, establishing himself as the best break-builder of all-time. His biggest tally in a single season came in 2017/18 when he made 74.
O’Sullivan also leads the way when it comes to maximum breaks. His 147 at the English Open earlier this season was the 15th of his career. Hendry made 11 maximums before he retired in 2012, while John Higgins (nine), Ding Junhui (six) and Shaun Murphy (five) are the only other players to make more than four 147s. The Rocket has also made the most centuries at the Crucible with 166, followed by Higgins with 138 and Hendry with 127.
Aged 43, the Chigwell native has contemplated retirement many times over the years but has also suggested he could play until he is at least 50, so he could set the bar very high in terms of career centuries by the time he puts his cue away for good.
However, with more tournaments now than ever before, and playing conditions at a high standard across the tour, there will come a time when O’Sullivan’s record haul of centuries is eclipsed. Judd Trump already has 596 at the age of just 29, so if he makes an average of 50 per season over the next decade, he will fly well past the 1,000 mark.
But for now it is time to salute the magnificence of O’Sullivan’s accomplishment.
Most career centuries
Ronnie O’Sullivan 1,000
Stephen Hendry 775
John Higgins 745
Neil Robertson 621
Judd Trump 596
Mark Selby 570
Ding Junhui 498
Marco Fu 490
Shaun Murphy 479
Mark Williams 460
And the coverage:
The response on social media was tremendous. David Hendon took the opportunity to remind the BBC that Ronnie has never even been shortlisted for SPOTY. Fellow professionals, members of the press, and WPBSA officials came forward with congratulations. And Ronnie himself forgot his Aussie accent for a moment! What a night!