15 reds and 15 blacks …. The exclusive 147 club!
So of course, there is lots of information and websites explaining the actual concept of a 147 but it’s the thing all snooker players of all levels talk about, and some have even had one. The elusive 147 which as the title says is made from 15 reds and 15 blacks, and of course all the colours to add up to that magical number. I didn’t want to bore anyone with the usual what is it etc but thought I’d maybe as we are a Scottish company I’d maybe cover a bit of unknown and known 147 Scottish Snooker history with a few people worth mentioning who have had them over the years and in various ways.
The first person who comes to mind is a Scottish amateur player called Jimmy McNellan who was became known as Mr 147 in and around the Scottish snooker circuit back in the day, as he was the first really to do it at an amateur level when we didn’t have the internet back then to record stuff! I play with Jim still to this day and will get the full details when I next see him but for now let’s just say he was well known for his effortless break building skills and I think that was mid 80’s maybe about 84/85 and until then no Scottish snooker player had really recorded a 147 in the Scottish amateur or World Professional circuit.
Another interesting one is the first Scottish Professional to record one and that was by John Rea of Clydebank. Playing Ian Black in the 1989 Scottish Championship he scored a 147 and after it he said “I feel like I’m on cloud nine, and I’m sure it’ll be the talk of the pubs tomorrow!” and I’m sure it was John. John also holds a recorded title of back to back high breaks 147 and 143.
As a player myself, I’ve had a few opportunities and at 10 or 11 blacks in the pressure mounts and running out of position or simply not enough concentration or a poor shot throws it all in the bin until the next time, and as an amateur I’m happy to go home with a big break and losing 5-1 to someone than winning 5-1 and the frames are all low scoring or scrappy. It’s just the way of the amateur snooker players mind I think. There has been lots of great Scottish snooker players to make 147’s as an amateur but not many as both amateur and as a professional so I’ll maybe cover a few now.
One not well known 147, but one that stands out is from one of Scotland’s few World Champions, Graeme Dott. When playing in the Masters in Dennistoun Glasgow where, as a 15yr old he knocked that in whilst playing one evening in the Glasgow League Singles. A full house of 2 levels watched it and at the time was a tense frame with congratulations all round at the end!!! He scored another not long after that in one of the Glasgow Pro-am’s, securing his position of a great player likely to become a professional and future world champion. That became the route, and obviously wasn’t going to be his last and as a Professional recorded another in the British Open in 1999 against David Roe.
That brings me to four times World Champion John Higgins who has also been a large scorer of 147’s with 12 under his professional belt including one against Alexander Ursenbacher this year in 2021, and I’m sure that’s not the last from John. Great friends with John, and with a fairly long-standing career as an amateur and professional, with great break building skills who often had 147’s against me in practice games, Marcus Campbell also scored a 147 in Bahrain in 2008 when playing in the Bahrain Championship.
One of the most prolific and aggressive scorers in Scottish Snooker was obviously Stephen Hendry, who watched Tony Meo have his 147 in the Matchroom League, then went on to notch up 11 in his time on the professional circuit with a notable one in an 8-8 finale with the Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan in the LV Charity Challenge – I even remember watching that at the time and thinking how does that even become possible in a final frame with such pressure!!??
Some people ask, is 147 the highest break you can get, and the answer is no you can have a 155. One time this was actually caught on video by a security camera for Thepchaiya Uk-Nooh, nicknamed F1 for his speed of play, by getting a free-ball for the extra black and red however it wasn’t in a tournament as such.
To round off the topic of 147’s there is always a day I won’t forget and that was another Scottish Professional scoring not a 147 but a 148 against Leo Fernandez in a professional event. We had gone down to watch Jamie Burnett and Marcus Campbell in the qualifiers and just missed Jamie compile this break in the final frame I think. Jamie holds the unique record for the only 148 ever scored in a Professional ranking tournament.
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Thanks for reading.