In snooker, a century break (sometimes referred to as a ton) is a score of 100 points or more within one visit at the table without missing a shot, and requires potting of at least 25 consecutive balls. The ability to score century breaks is regarded as a mark of the highest skill in snooker, while the first career century has been described by Ronnie O'Sullivan as the "ultimate milestone for any snooker player".
Over 20,000 century breaks have been recorded by snooker players throughout professional tournaments. In 2014, Neil Robertson became the first person to have scored over 100 century frames throughout a single season, a threshold that only some 50 other players had surpassed throughout their entire careers. Ronnie O'Sullivan holds the record for the most career centuries, with over 800 century breaks.
A century break is a score of 100 points or more within one visit at the table, without missing a shot. The player does this by potting red balls and coloured balls alternately, and when no reds are left, potting the coloured balls in order of their increasing value. Because a break is defined as series of consecutive pots by a player during a single frame, scoring 100 points over the course of a whole frame does not necessarily constitute a century break, as it must be done on a single turn at the table. Points for a foul shot by the opponent do not count in a player's break.
Under normal circumstances, the highest possible century in snooker is 147 (a "maximum break"), composed of 15 reds (one point each), 15 blacks (seven points each) and the six remaining colours; yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black potted consecutively (two through seven points each for a total of 27). If for example only the least-valued colour (yellow, two points) would be used instead of the black ball, the break value would only be 72 points. This means that only a single century break is possible in a frame of snooker under a limited number of combinations, but it requires the potting of at least 25 consecutive balls (10 x (1 + 7) + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 = 100). To score one, there must be at least ten reds on the table when the player comes to play since if there are only nine reds left, only 99 (= 9 × (1 + 7) + 27) points may be scored. An exception exists if the opponent fouls and leaves the incoming player snookered on all the remaining reds. In such a situation, the player can nominate one of the other colours as a red, known as a "free ball", which carries the same value as a red for just that shot, and therefore, a century break is still possible with only nine reds left.
Breaks above 147 are possible (up to 155) when an opponent fouls and leaves a free ball with all fifteen reds still remaining on the table. This has happened only once in professional competition, when Jamie Burnett made a 148 at the qualifying stage of the 2004 UK Championship.
Players with 100 century breaks
|Please do not update the century counts using fansites such as Snooker.info, CueTracker and Pro Snooker Blog. Snooker statistics must be sourced to a reliable source(s) (i.e. generally published by a professional organization), and fansites do not meet this criterion due to being self-published.|
A "century of centuries" refers to a total of 100 breaks of at least 100 points each. Only 15 players had reached this milestone in professional snooker tournaments by December 2001. With an increase in the occurrence of centuries in the past decades, another 27 players achieved this landmark by October 2011, and by the end of the 2013/2014 season the total number of players reaching this threshold had grown to 52. Only Neil Robertson has achieved the "Holy Grail" of one hundred 100s in a single season, during 2013/2014. The following players are reported to have passed 100 breaks and at least the given threshold (in 50 break increments) above this.
||Exact tally for a retired player|
- Joe Davis compiled the first televised century break in 1962.
- The record for most century breaks scored in official tournament play is held by Ronnie O'Sullivan with over 850. The record was previously held by Stephen Hendry who compiled 775 centuries over the course of his career.
- The first player to record 1000 centuries in public performance was Horace Lindrum.
- Stacey Hillyard became the first female to record a competitive century in January 1985.
- The quickest recorded century break in tournament play was by Tony Drago at 1996 UK Championship, taking just 3 minutes 31 seconds (211 seconds) to score a hundred points.
- The youngest player to record a century break is Michael White at the age of nine in March 2001.
- The first player to reach 50 centuries in a season was Hendry, with 53 century breaks from the 1994/1995 season.
- Hendry achieved another 51 centuries during the 1995/1996 season, while O'Sullivan came close with 48 in the 2006/2007 season, but it was not until the 2010/2011 season when the record was finally broken by Mark Selby with 54 centuries, and again by Selby with 55 century breaks in the 2011/2012 season. Judd Trump took the record with 61 centuries in the 2012/2013 season and the record was broken for the fourth successive season in 2013/2014 when Neil Robertson overtook Trump's tally.
- The first (and so far, only) player to reach the 'century of centuries' (100 century breaks) mark during a single season is Neil Robertson in the 2013/2014 season on 30 April 2014 during his quarter final match against Judd Trump at the 2014 World Championship. In total, Robertson compiled 103 century breaks throughout the season.
- The most centuries made by a player in a single match during a professional tournament is seven and the record is shared by Stephen Hendry and Ding Junhui.
- Hendry set the record during the final of the 1994 UK Championship. During this match, Hendry compiled six centuries in a span of eight frames.
- Ding tied the record in his semi-final match at the 2016 World Championship. This is also a record for a match at the Crucible Theatre, beating the previous record of six shared by Mark Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan.
- Selby's six-century haul in a second round match at the 2011 World Championship set the record for a best-of-25 match.
- O'Sullivan's tally of six centuries during the final of the 2013 World Championship set the record for a world final at the Crucible; the record for a final previously stood at five, jointly held by Hendry (in 1997), John Higgins (1998) and Matthew Stevens (2000).
- O'Sullivan holds the record for making the most centuries in a best-of-9 match compiling five centuries (including a 147) to beat Ali Carter 5–2 at the 2007 Northern Ireland Trophy.
- Fergal O'Brien holds the record for most centuries in a best-of-11 match, compiling five centuries to beat Barry Hawkins 6–5 at the 2016 UK Championship.
- The record for combined number of century breaks in a single game by both players is ten, achieved by Ding Junhui (seven) and Alan McManus (three) in their semi-final tie at the 2016 World Championship.
- The most century breaks in a ranking event is eighteen centuries by Ding during the 2016 World Championship, compiling three during qualifying and a further fifteen at the Crucible Theatre during the main event. Hendry previously set a record of sixteen at the 2002 World Championship, which remains a televised, Crucible and venue record.
- O'Sullivan has compiled more century breaks than any other player in the World Championship competition at the Crucible Theatre. He broke Hendry's record of 127 at the 2013 Championship, extending his total to 162 up to and including the 2017 Championship. John Higgins is the only other player besides Hendry and O'Sullivan to compile more than 100 centuries at the world championship in the Crucible era.
- An aggregate record of 86 centuries was set at the 2015 World Championship. The record was tied the following year.
- The record for most consecutive centuries in a match is shared by Kyren Wilson and Anthony Hamilton who compiled six between them at a qualifier for the China Open on 11 February 2016. The previous record of five centuries was jointly held by Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry at the final of the 2003 British Open, and by Stephen Maguire and Neil Robertson in a quarter-final at the 2009 Masters.
- Stephen Maguire made five consecutive centuries at the 2004 British Open comprising the last three frames of his quarter final and the first two frames of the semi-final.
- Only three players have made four consecutive centuries in a match: Higgins in the final of the 2005 Grand Prix, Shaun Murphy at the 2007 Welsh Open and Robertson at the 2013 Ruhr Open.
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