Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered the 1,000th century break of his snooker career as only he could, to seal a 10-4 victory over Neil Robertson in the Players Championship final in Preston.
‘The Rocket’ has often talked of how and when he might reach the landmark moment, though even he could surely not have imagined a more fitting scenario.
Victory gave O’Sullivan his 35th ranking title, bringing him within one of Stephen Hendry’s all-time record. He dominated Robertson, make three centuries overall alongside a further eight 50+ contributions.
His victory in the Guild Hall, scene of his first ranking win 26 years ago, continues a remarkable season for O’Sullivan. In December he won his seventh UK Championship title, the 19th Triple Crown event of his career, beating records set by Steve Davis and Hendry.
His eyes will be firmly fixed on securing a sixth World Championship at the Crucible in May, but, for now, it was all about that majestic 1,000th career century. In typical showman fashion, O’Sullivan had a beaming smile before he potted the black that left him on 99 and he duly switched to pot the red that made history left-handed.
The remaining pots were cheered one by one as O’Sullivan cleared the table to a standing ovation from a sold out crowd. It was pure theatre.
“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,” said O’Sullivan.
“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.”
O’Sullivan is 4.00 to win the World Championship this season.