Stuart Bingham registered his seventh 147 maximum break at the Betway UK Championship – and knew perfection was on the cards before even potting a ball.
Bingham downed fellow Basildon potter Zak Surety 6-2 to reach the second round in Milton Keynes with two centuries and two further 50+ breaks highlighting a clinical performance.
But it’s the sixth frame that will live long in the 44-year-old’s memory – following in fellow Englishman Kyren Wilson’s footsteps to register the second 147 of the tournament.
"Before I'd hit the first red I thought it was on,” he said. "Zak played the first shot and left a red on for me, if the double had gone in I was going to go for it from there.
"In the frame before, I had a good chance – so as soon as that first red went in, even Zak knew I was going to go for it.
"It was near enough perfect all the way through.
"Any time you make a 147 it's special, but to make it in one of the Triple Crown events ticks it off the bucket list.
"Even on the practice table, I've felt that I've had a good couple of chances for a maximum break. I felt there was something in the air today.
"Last time I practiced against Zak, I had three 147s in five frames against him so we had a bit of a laugh about that after the frame.”
With Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and John Higgins the only men to make more perfect breaks than Bingham, the Essex cueman knows he is in esteemed company.
But a place among snooker’s greats will only be his when he completes the sport’s Triple Crown – looking to add the UK title to the World Championship and Masters crowns he won in 2015 and 2020 respectively.
A comfortable win over practice partner Surety marked a good start to his 2020 campaign but the three-time semi-finalist knows titles aren’t won in the first round.
"I've won one match here and there's a long way to go,” he added. “I've been beaten in the semi-finals a few times, but I feel that my game's in good shape and I've felt a bit unlucky in losing a few matches.
"I've played one bad match this season but other than that, my game has been good. I've been making good breaks, so who knows what can happen in the tournament.
"It's always special to make a 147, whether that's in front of nobody or in a packed-house.
"I've always backed myself in the break-building department, I know I'm up there with the top guys on tour – when that's on song, I'm a match for anyone.
"It can feel a little bit like a practice session here but the adrenaline was going on the colours.
"We've had a long time in Milton Keynes but we're just lucky to be playing given the current situation.
"Some people find it boring and samey in the same venue but we're just lucky to be playing.”