RONNIE O’Sullivan admitted the thrill of making a 147 maximum break never dies after extending his own all-time record to 13 on Thursday night in York.

The Rocket raced into the quarter-finals of the Coral UK Championship at the Barbican Centre with a 6-0 whitewash of former practice partner Matt Selt.

O’Sullivan had joked before the contest that Selt used to be his “ball-boy” fishing the balls out of the pockets back at the Grove club in Romford.

At least the world No38 was spared that indignity with referee Jan Verhaas doing the honours, and O’Sullivan will now play Anthony McGill.

O’Sullivan has almost certainly won himself a handy early birthday present bonus, and will receive £44,000 if his break is not equalled.

He could have made one the frame before, but with awkward reds remaining missed the 12th black when on 89.

And less noticed among the delirium in the arena was the fact it brought O’Sullivan’s career centuries tally up to 767 – just eight behind Stephen Hendry’s 775.

O’Sullivan said: “They are still exciting, and I was shaking life a leaf. I celebrated before the final black and then regretted it, I could have looked daft if I’d missed it.

“I remember Ken Doherty missed that one at the Masters.

“It was a great ending to the match, the adrenaline was really going. I already had the record at 12 147s but I have extended it to make it more difficult for someone to catch.

“I knew the rollover had got up to around 40 grand and that makes it worth going for. I very nearly got one the frame before on 89, but that was odds against with tough reds left.

“I am lucky to be able to perform like that, not many sportspeople get that feeling from what they do.

“That’s birthday money, money to pay the tax and Christmas money for me. I am also close to Stephen Hendry’s century record of 775, but I would like to make 1,000.”

Selt was annoyed with his own performance earlier in the match, at a time when O’Sullivan was not firing – but genuinely pleased for O’Sullivan to having witnessed some history.

He said: “I am more happy than he is that he made that 147. It was a great experience.

“I had the best seat the house to watch and, sitting in my chair, when he has gone up for the yellow - I could barely sit down. I was shaking that much for him. I am delighted he has made it.”


Photograph by Monique Limbos