Jimmy sets WORLD record

By Aaron Hoxey  

Anyone familiar with snooker will know that, at the highest level, frames can often be tight, cagey affairs settled by only a few points. Even those who aren’t fans of the sport are likely to have heard of the fabled ‘147’, the maximum possible break and considered the holy grail by all in the sport. 

How then, can a player in a professional tournament score a mammoth 178 points in just one frame? You can now ask Bexhill pro Jimmy Robertson, who has a new world record to his name after racking up this incredible points haul, the most ever in a single frame of competitive snooker, in the final frame of his 4-1 victory over Welshman Lee Walker in the first round of the Scottish Open last month. 

Robertson, who is ranked 49 in the world, started the match in dominant fashion, comfortably taking the first three frames, including a classy 74 break in the second, before losing a tightly contested fourth. What came next was a scarcely believable 28 minutes of snooker that will be remembered and recorded in history books for years to come.

Jimmy Robertson at German Masters 2015
CREDIT: Commons wikimedia

The ultimate snooker

Having knocked in a long opening red but finished awkwardly on a colour, Robertson rolled the cue ball up behind the brown to snooker his opponent. Walker then failed to hit a red with nine consecutive attempts, including two fouls for hitting the blue and one for the pink, resulting in 40 penalty points credited cumulatively to his opponent.

After a more closely contested safety battle during which Robertson accidentally potted the pink and his opponent missed the reds once more, the score read 45-6 in favour of the Bexhill man, when an opportunity presented itself to him after a poor safety shot from Walker. Robertson duly stroked it in, before composing himself after the carnage of the opening to compile a magnificent clearance break of 133 and claim not only a place in the second round, but a piece of individual history.

His final total of 178 points eclipses the previous record of 167 accumulated by Dominic Dale against Nigel Bond in the 1999 World Championship. 

Robertson’s reward for this feat was a second round match against world number 13 Anthony McGill, a close-fought contest which the Scot edged in a decider 4-3. Robertson opened with a brilliant 118 break, the only century, with the players then trading frames until McGill took the best-of-seven match at the death. 

Honed in Bexhill 

Still, a world record is surely enough to mark the tournament as a success for Robertson, who was born and still lives in the Bexhill area. He started playing snooker at the age of eight, honing his skills at Clarkson’s Leisure (now O’Sullivans Snooker Club) in Bexhill town centre – a journey that has gone full circle as he now owns the club. Now aged 35, he was the youngest player on the professional tour when he broke through at age 16 in 2002; but it would take another decade before he started becoming a regular at ranking events. 

While currently ranked 49th in the world, Robertson’s career-high position of 21st came nearly three years ago in March 2019, after winning the only ranking title of his career so far, the European Masters in Belgium. It was the first time he had ever gone beyond the quarterfinals of a ranking event, and yet was able to break new ground by defeating Joe Perry 9-6 in the final, sealing the win with a fantastic century break.

However, this season may be his most consistent yet. After reaching his second ranking semi-final at the British Open in August 2021, he followed his record-breaking feat at the Scottish Open with another strong performance at the World Grand Prix in Coventry the week after, battling past Matthew Selt in the first round, then defeating  the Belgian second seed Luca Brecel. With no century breaks on either side, Robertson showed all his resilience to come back from 3-2 down and take the deciding frame with a break of 64.

The quarter-final pitted him against the seventh seed and six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, a tall order for any player, but Robertson matched him early on, an impressive 106 break helping him to draw level at 2-2. From then on though, O’Sullivan showed his class, reeling off three frame-winning breaks in a row to take a 5-2 victory. Robertson can take much heart from a fine end to the year, however, providing good preparation for the Snooker Shoot-Out and German Masters in January. And setting a world record isn’t half bad either.

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