Reigning Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson and Anthony Hamilton made some snooker history on Wednesday night as the Barnsley Metrodome witnessed a century bonanza.
Wilson booked his place at the China Open proper with a 5-3 victory in the qualifier - but the match featured a world-record six consecutive century breaks.
The 24-year-old Wilson, who got four of them, began the mayhem in frame two with a break of 103.
He quickly followed that with a run of 108 before Nottingham's Hamilton levelled at 2-2 with a break of 137.
Three more tons were traded, a 125 for Wilson, a 123 for Hamilton and then a 100 for the Northamptonshire prospect who closed it out with a ‘mere’ 68.
Two matches had previously seen five consecutive centuries. Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry managed it in the 2003 British Open final.
And more recently at the 2009 Masters Neil Robertson and Stephen Maguire matched the feat in their quarter-final.
World No20 Wilson said: "It's the best match I've ever played by far. It was good, open snooker and the table was very reactive which made the conditions perfect for high scoring.
"Once a frame was won we were willing each other on to make centuries, although I didn't realise that six in a row was a record until after the match. I was actually gutted that I missed the last red in the final frame when I could have made it seven.
"Even if I had lost I still would have enjoyed it. Anthony was very gracious afterwards, he wished me luck and we agreed that it had just been a phenomenal match."
The career of Wilson, of course, is very much on an upward curve with presumably many more big days to come.
Not so the 44-year-old Hamilton, one of the more interesting characters on the circuit and surely one of the best players never to win a ranking title.
He came close, runner-up in the 1999 British Open and the 2002 China Open, and the two centuries against Wilson took him to 250 – a pretty good barometer of his abilities.
Why didn’t he win more? When someone is that good (and O’Sullivan has admitted Hamilton is one of the few players he enjoys watching on TV) you are probably looking at the mental side of the game, so important as everyone knows. Maybe Hamilton just never truly believed deep down that he was that good.
Now ranked 68 Hamilton is battling to stay in the top 64, but while this was Wilson’s victory the history the pair made is shared and few would begrudge the ‘Sheriff of Pottingham’.
Photograph courtesy of Monique Limbos