World Championship 147 breaks: Watch all 10 Crucible maximums including Ronnie O'Sullivan's quickest ever in 1997

Ronnie O'Sullivan compiled the most incredible 147 break in 1997

There have been 10 maximum breaks in World Championship history, including three each from Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry. Relive them all here.

Of the 156 maximum breaks in professional snooker history, 'only' 10 have occurred on the hallowed baize of the Crucible tables, with only six different players achieving the feat across four decades.

Cliff Thorburn famously entered the record books by grinding his way to the iconic first World Championship 147 - and second ever in any tournament behind Steve Davis' frame of perfection at the 1982 Lada Classic - but it would be a nine-year wait before the next when Jimmy White thrilled the crowd en route to his third of six finals.

Since then Stephen Hendry (1995, 2009, 2012) and Ronnie O'Sullivan (1997, 2003, 2008) have bagged three apiece, including the Rocket's mesmerising clearance in just five minute and eight seconds in 1997 which is not only the quickest of all time, by some distance, but almost unanimously regarded as the greatest.

Interestingly, the closest anyone has ever got to breaking the 'impossible' record in any event is O'Sullivan himself during the 2003 World Championship when clocking a time of 6:30 against Marco Fu.

Mark Williams (2005) and Ali Carter (2008) are the only other two players to have managed 147s in the World Championship and although the most recent two were compiled by Hendry, there have been another 68 scored in other tournaments since his last in 2012 as the standard continues to rise.

We're all badly missing live snooker during lockdown but at least there's time to take a trip down memory lane and watch every 147 in Crucible history to enjoy...

Cliff Thorburn - 1983 World Championship

  • April 23, 2nd round v Terry Griffiths

Not content with becoming the first world champion outside the United Kingdom in the modern era, the Crucible king of 1980 brought the crowd to their feet - not to mention the millions glued to their TV sets - with another history-making feat in the fourth frame of a match he was leading 2-1. It may have been the polar opposite to how Ronnie O'Sullivan managed it 15 years later - and started with a huge slice of luck as you'll see from the video below - but as Cliff Thorburn ground his way to perfection against Terry Griffiths, play on the other table was halted, allowing fellow Canadian Bill Werbeniuk to peep his head round the screen during the closing stages. As the Grinder leant over for the final black, commentator Jack Karnehm whispered: "Oh good luck, mate!". Thorburn would later have fortune on his side to sneak through 13-12 during a final session that lasted more than seven hours and finished at 3.51am - still the latest finish in Crucible history. Or earliest, depending on how you look at it. The Canadian legend then kept ardent snooker fans awake until 2.12am when defeating Kirk Stevens by the same scoreline in the quarter-finals, and then came through another final-frame decider to beat Tony Knowles 16-15 in the semi-finals! Steve Davis had played 14 hours less in reaching the final and his superior mental energy was clearly a difference with the title on the line, running out an 18-6 winner.

Cliff Thorburn: The first 147 at the Crucible -

Jimmy White - 1992 World Championship

  • April 22, 1st round v Tony Drago

Jimmy White was already a People's Champion by the time he was attempting to reach his fourth Crucible final and his third in a row back in 1992 but the way he conjured up this maximum against Tony Drago further enhanced that status. The noise that greeted this achievement could only have been surpassed had he managed to win any of his six finals.

Jimmy White's Crucible 147 in 1992

Stephen Hendry - 1995 World Championship

  • April 27, semi-final v Jimmy White

You'd have thought Jimmy White had already suffered enough punishment at the hands of Stephen Hendry by the time they locked horns in the 1995 semi-finals. This, of course, was 12 months after that agonising 18-17 defeat and the fourth time he'd lost to the Scotsman in his six Crucible finals. White was always gracious in defeat no matter how he felt inside and was again quick to give Hendry a warm smile and handshake after he sunk a tricky final black from a tight angle that moved him 8-4 ahead in a match he'd win 16-12. Two days later he'd be celebrating his fifth Crucible crown.

Stephen Hendry 147s

Ronnie O'Sullivan - 1997 World Championship

  • April 21, 1st round v Mick Price

Ronnie O'Sullivan soared to superstar status in five minutes and eight seconds of breathtaking snooker from the gods at a time when he'd won just two of his record 19 Triple Crown titles. The Rocket, who was just 21 and four years away from his first of five Crucible crowns, compiled his break during a 10-6 first-round victory over Mick Price and it won him a whopping £147,000. It was clocked at five minutes 20 seconds at the time but in recent years it's been correctly altered to 5:08, which averages out at roughly 8.5 seconds per shot. To put that into perspective, that's over a minute quicker than the next fastest by O'Sullivan in 2003.

Ronnie O'Sullivan's fastest 147 Break ever

Ronnie O'Sullivan - 2003 World Championship

  • April 22, 1st round v Marco Fu

Ronnie O'Sullivan came relatively close to breaking his record of the fastest ever 147 when clearing the table in six minutes and 30 seconds, which is easily the second quickest of all time. It came during the first session of his first-round match to Marco Fu, when trailing 4-2, but it couldn't prevent him suffering a 10-4 defeat the following day.

147 Ronnie O'Sullivan: 2003 World Championship

Mark Williams - 2005 World Championship

  • April 20, 1st round v Robert Milkins

Mark Williams became the first Welshman to join the elite maximum club during a 10-1 demolition job over Robert Milkins, although he'd get knocked out in the very next round. This effort also goes into the history books for being the first 147 to seal a victory at the Crucible and the second to win a match anywhere. The first was Stephen Hendry's in the 1997 Charity Challenge Final against Ronnie O'Sullivan - which remains the only one to clinch a title - and there has been 19 since.

Mark Williams 147 against Robert Milkins

Ronnie O'Sullivan - 2008 World Championship

  • April 28, second round v Mark Williams

Ronnie O'Sullivan became the first person to record a third Crucible maximum in 2008 although at that time nobody else had managed more than one! It was the second time a maximum had completed a Crucible victory - with his opponent Mark Williams being the first to do so three years earlier of course - and also the second time a 147 has been scored by a player who goes on to win that same World Championship.

Ronnie's 147 v Williams at the 2008 World Championship

Ali Carter - 2008 World Championship

  • April 29, quarter-final v Peter Ebdon

Ali Carter's first competitive 147 break was also the first time there had been two maximum breaks in a single tournament, let alone at the same World Championship. The Captain achieved the feat just a day after Ronnie O'Sullivan's effort against Mark Williams while his opponent Peter Ebdon had incredibly come agonisingly close in the previous frame by missing the 15th black! Carter's maximum, which he celebrated wildly, helped him move 8-7 up in a match he'd win 13-9 on his way to his maiden final, which he'd lose to O'Sullivan.

Ali Carter's 147 v Peter Ebdon

Stephen Hendry - 2009 World Championship

  • April 28, quarter-final v Shaun Murphy

Stephen Hendry's second Crucible maximum helped him surge into a 5-2 lead over Shaun Murphy during the first session of their quarter-finals but he was unable to go on and keep alive his quest for a first world title of the Millennium, losing 13-11.

Stephen Hendry's 147 at the 2009 World Championship

Stephen Hendry - 2012 World Championship

  • April 21, 1st round v Stuart Bingham

A quite incredible career ended at the 2012 World Championship but not before one final crowd-pleasing moment of greatness. The seven-time champion, who still remains at the top of the all-time list of most Crucible crowns, produced an array of stunning shots during his perfect break, particularly in the latter stages amidst an atmosphere of high tension. He'd later bow out in the quarter-finals and subsequently announce his retirement with immediate but there's only one thing his last appearance here will be remembered for.

Stephen Hendry's 147 at 2012 World Championship


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