RONNIE O’Sullivan admitted it was nice to pinch one of Stephen Hendry’s records after making a record 12th maximum to seal a 9-3 victory over Ding Junhui in Newport.

And after claiming a third Welsh Open title and 26th ranking success of a 22-year professional career the Rocket was also pleased to give something back to the crowd.

The tournament looks poised to move to Cardiff – but O’Sullivan may yet overhaul some of legend Hendry’s other notable milestones.

The seven world titles now looks in serious danger – and O’Sullivan is also homing in on the mark of 775 centuries, even if 36 raking titles will take some getting.

“I thought the 147 was on from about 48 though I was really just trying to win the match to start with,” said O’Sullivan.

“And when it got to the final black I just fancied getting one left-handed, all the other 11 have been normal. I am playing near my best at the moment.

“The last frame of the last tournament in Newport and I have hit a maxi, so that is for the fans as they deserve it, they have supported this brilliantly.

“It has been one of my favourite venues and I am happy I have won. It is about stacking it up now and getting the CV as good as I can, especially the major events.

“It is nice to nick one record off Stephen Hendry, he has got so many. I don’t know how you top this, the joy is in the doing and I am disappointed it is over. It is done, now.

“I will be down the motorway now, and in the gym in the morning.”

It was just a third defeat in 42 ranking-event matches for Ding this season – and yet the gulf between him and O’Sullivan looked huge.

Ding, who salvaged pride with two centuries in the evening after trailing 7-1, said: “I made some mistakes today and Ronnie just punished me. Even in that last frame I had a chance.

“But Ronnie can make a 147 at any time and people love watching him play for that reason. I have been five finals this season and have never done that before, so that is very pleasing.”