I happened to be a student in Sheffield in the late 90s and when April came around I toyed with the idea of seeing a WC match. I had no idea if tickets would be available or the cost or anything and I’d almost decided not to bother but, on the spur of the moment as I left the uni building, I turned left instead of right and headed down towards The Crucible. I had loads of work to do so my plan was to see if I could get tickets for a second round match later in the week and then head back and work.
I hadn’t actually seen the building before so it was exciting to see it and all the TV equipment around the front. So I went in and looking around I suddenly noticed on the board that Ronnie O’Sullivan was playing in an afternoon session starting in 15 minutes. Suddenly I had a quandary. I really should be getting on with my work…but then again. It doesn’t matter anyway I thought as they probably won’t have any tickets left, but when I went to the booth I was taken aback when she said there were a few tickets and even more-so when I found one in the fifth row. So I got the ticket (I’m pretty sure it was only £5) and went straight in as the match was just about to start.
I couldn’t believe that an hour before I was contemplating a dull afternoon writing any essay and now here I was in the crucible, that I’d seen on TV so many times, about to watch the Rocket. Ronnie played amazingly fast with a reckless instability that was electric to watch. I don’t remember much but when the MSI came along I decided to give my mum back at home a ring. When I asked if she was watching the snooker, she said yes and I replied “I’m there!” I asked her to start recording the match (this was VHS days) as I thought there was a chance I might see myself when I watched it back home (no youtube or iPlayer of course!)
So I went back in to watch the rest of the match and, I’m not sure if it was the very next frame or the one after, but Ronnie proceeded to make a 147 in 5 minutes 20 seconds. I’ll be honest I wasn’t that aware he was on for it until quite late in the frame as it happened so quickly and there were no earpieces then, but the elation when he did it I will never forget. I remember buzzing about it for days. I also couldn’t believe my luck. In the first ever snooker match I’d been to I saw arguably the greatest exhibition of skill in the sports’ entire history, and I hadn’t even planned to go.
I can promise you this story is 100% true or as best as I can remember it anyway. As an extra bonus of course when I got home at the end of term I was able to watch the video and relive that incredible moment whenever I wanted!
Anyone else got any interesting snooker stories, watching or playing?
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