CRAIG NELSON: A ton of centuries or a maximum... the pros make it look so easy

The Bolton News: Craig Nelson Craig Nelson

YOU can understand Judd Trump’s disappointment after surrendering an 11-8 lead to lose to Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championships.

But to suggest his opponent’s feat of scoring an unprecedented century of centuries in a single season was less of an achievement than a single maximum break sounded a lot like sour grapes.

“If it was a maximum, I’d have gone over and shook his hand,” said Trump.

“Although it’s a brilliant achievement, 100 centuries doesn’t mean anything to me.”

To put the Australian’s record into context, and to rub the salt in even more, Trump held the previous best mark of 61 centuries in a single season.

It is perhaps surprising then that Robertson has not won more tournaments in his record-breaking year – kicking off his campaign by claiming the Wuxi Classic in China before beating Mark Selby 10-7 in the final of the UK Championship.

That victory sealed the 32-year-old Melbourne star’s place in the pantheon of the sport’s greats, making him the first overseas player to win snooker’s “triple crown” – the UK Championship, British Masters and the World Snooker Championships.

Selby stands in his way once again as the pair battle it out at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre for a place in tomorrow’s world final with the prospect of a match-up with five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

There is little doubting a Robertson-O’Sullivan final would have been the the biggest ratings winner for the BBC – the host broadcaster – when the semi-final pairings pitched the Australian with Selby and Rocket Ronnie with last year’s beaten finalist Barry Hawkins.

For an occasional spectator like myself, and I suspect the majority of the viewing public, the sport is at its most mesmeric when the players are firing in pot after pot.

Snooker is one of those pastimes that the pros make look so easy on television, when the reality is very different.

My stride starts to quicken around the table when it looks like I have managed to get on a colour after potting a red.

Stringing three, four or, dare I dream, five pots in a row is a major achievement and one that normally requires a stiff drink to take the edge off the adrenalin.

So watching these guys manoeuvre the cue ball around the green baize is a wonder to me.

O’Sullivan has been the one to set the bar in recent times after proving just how “easy” it is to score a 147 – clocking his quickest effort in a mind-boggling five minutes and 20 seconds.

If Robertson has to beat that mark to impress Mr Trump, then I for one would be happy to pay to watch it.

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