On Sunday, April 30th, Mark Selby achieved a momentous feat in snooker history: the first ever maximum break in a World Snooker Championship final. His clash with Belgium’s Luca Brecel at the Crucible was a thrilling opening day of the tournament. The four-time champion demonstrated his skill by clinching the last three frames, leaving him behind Brecel at 9-8 as the night drew to a close.
After four decades since Cliff Thorburn achieved the first 147 at the tournament, Selby has become the newest person to join the legacy of the renowned event. His 147 enabled him to obtain an equal portion of the £40,000 highest break prize along with Kyren Wilson, who also managed a 147 during his first-round victory over Ryan Day.
Selby exhibited his tenacious nature in order to get himself back into the competition before the Monday finish. On two past occasions in finals, against Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins, he had been far behind yet managed to make a spectacular comeback and clinch the win. He is now heavily favored to accomplish the mission against Brecel, who had not had a single success in five previous trips to the Crucible.
Brecel made threatening potshots in the first two sessions, playing the table brilliantly. Selby’s rare errors, such as missing simple browns and blacks, did not aid his progress. Nevertheless, Selby drew upon his extensive knowledge of the game to decrease the gap between them before eventually breaking history with a magnificent maximum break.
After the final buzzer sounded, Referee Brendan Moore, who is soon retiring after his third and final Crucible championship, warmly congratulated Selby. Brecel, too, had a beaming smile as he hugged the victorious player.
With Selby and Brecel vying for the championship title in an exciting showdown, the 2023 finale is now balanced on a razor’s edge.