First Crucible 147 for eight years
John Higgins crashed out of the World Championship yesterday despite becoming the first player to score a 147 maximum break at the Crucible since 2012.
The former world champion, and last year’s Crucible runner-up, achieved the feat for the 10th time in his career, in the 12th frame of his behind-closed-doors loss to Norway’s Kurt Maflin in the second round. It was the Scot’s first Crucible maximum, too.
The 45-year-old became the seventh player ever to score a Crucible maximum and fought back from an overnight two-frame deficit to tie the scores at 8-8 heading into last night’s evening session, which was left poised at 10-10 at the interval.
But, after both players traded frames, Maflin won two on the trot to win 13-11 and book a spot in the quarter-finals against the odds.
Higgins’s earlier triumph will not be forgotten in a hurry, however, and as far as maximum breaks go, his effort seemed straightforward. On only two occasions did the Scot look like he had gotten into hot water, and on both occasions two sumptuous reds into middle pockets saved him.
The last maximum score posted at the Sheffield venue was by Higgins’s fellow countryman, Stephen Hendry, in 2012, the last of three Crucible maximums that Hendry made throughout his career, the
Potting prizes: John Higgins will receive £40,000 for his 147 break and is set to pocket a further £15,000 if it remains the tournament’s highest break first in 1995. Ronnie O’Sullivan has three World Championship 147s to his name, too, while Cliff Thorburn, Jimmy White, Mark Williams and Ali Carter all have one.
Despite the loss, world No5 Higgins is set to receive a £40,000 prize for the break and, if no one else matches his achievement, he will also receive the £15,000 highest-break prize.
“That was incredible,” said BBC analyst Joe Perry. “There was nothing else to put on his CV apart from the Crucible 147 and now he’s done it. Crowd or no crowd, making a 147 is special because you have to be perfect on every shot.”
Maflin, Tom Ford and Stuart Bingham have all come close to scoring maximum breaks in this year’s tournament, but it took Higgins to show them how to complete the job.