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The top six Snooker moments of 2016

Mark Selby after winning his second World Championship in May (credit:Getty Images)

The end of 2016 is nigh and it has been another jam-packed year of high-quality entertainment on the snooker circuit.

Centuries, safeties, shocks, surprises, comebacks, drama, controversy, retirements, 147s - this calendar year really has had it all.

Here, we take a look back at six of the most memorable snooker moments of 2016...

Ronnie's protest 146

Taking on Barry Pinches in the opening round of the Welsh Open at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Ronnie O'Sullivan declined the opportunity to make a 14th maximum break, describing the £10,000 prize money on offer as "too cheap". 

He laughed as he potted the pink off the penultimate red and went on to make 146 much to the dismay of everyone inside the area, who could not believe their eyes.

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn branded O'Sullivan's actions "unacceptable" and "disrespectful", but the Rocket had the last laugh as he won on to win the tournament - coming from 5-2 down to beat Neil Robertson 9-5 in the Final.

The Motorpoint Arena did witness a 147 during the tournament, though, with Ding Junhui doing the honours in his Quarter-Final against Robertson.

Steve Davis' retirement

After 38 years in the game, Davis finally hung up his cue after losing in the qualifying rounds of the World Championship - shorty after the death of his father, who had lived every ball with his son from day one.

Although losing his professional status in 2014, an invitational tour card meant that the six-time Crucible King continued to appear sporadically at tournaments, while embarking on his new and surprising career as a DJ.

However, he called it a day for good during the sport's blue-riband event this year and, fittingly, entered the arena for one final time with the trophy aloft and received a standing ovation from the emotional Sheffield crowd.

Another constant during Davis' career was manager Barry Hearn, who was revealed to have admitted when told the news by the Nugget: "Steve, you retired 10 years ago we just didn't have the heart to tell you!"

Wi-Fi gate

Neil Robertson has become the most successful overseas player in snooker history - notably completing the Triple Crown and reaching world number one along the way.

The Australian has a fantastic all-round game and a first-class temperament, which has seen him produce some of his best stuff under the most intense pressure.

Therefore, the watching world could not believe their eyes during his International Championship clash with good friend Joe Perry, when he uncharacteristically lashed the white off the table before smashing into the reds with the most unconventional break-off during a 6-2 defeat.

A keen player of video games, Robertson later admitted that being unable to do so due to the lack of Wi-Fi in the hotel, as well as the frustration caused by a playing in front of a crowd of just three people - one of whom spent the match looking at two mobile phones - eventually tipped him over the edge.

King wins maiden crown

The increased number of tournaments - most of which have adopted a flat-128 draw and are now contested over the best of seven frames - has provided a level playing field and opened the door for more players to enjoy a moment in the spotlight.

That is what happened to world number 35 Mark King who, considered by many as a real journeyman of the sport after 25 years on the circuit without lifting a ranking title, finally broke his duck at the Northern Ireland Open in November.

The second leg of the brand new Home Nations Series, King took out English Open winner Liang Wenbo - ending the Chinese cueist's chances of claiming the lucrative £1 million bonus on offer to any player winning all four events - as well as the in-form Kyren Wilson in the semi-finals.

In the final, he was considered a major outsider against established top-16 player Barry Hawkins and there was little surprise when he fell 5-1 behind.

However, an inspired turnaround from the Romford cueist saw him eventually prevail a 9-8 winner after a nail-biting decider, and was joined by his family to celebrate a very emotional victory.

Selby does the double

Approaching nearly 100 consecutive weeks at the summit of the game and with a cushion of nearly £500,000, Mark Selby is snooker's undisputed world number one.

One of the best all-round players in the sport, Selby has become renowned for his ability to win any match, even when hardly getting out of second gear or far from his best, and that was arguably the case on his way to capturing a second World Championship title at the Crucible in May - beating Ding Junhui 18-14 in the final.

Having already won the Paul Hunter Classic and International Championship at the start of the 2016/17 season, the Jester then added to his tally by claiming the UK Championship after an impressive 10-7 success over Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final - surviving a strong fightback by the Rocket from 7-2 down to only trail 8-7, before producing back-to-back centuries when it mattered the most to seal the victory.

As a result, Selby joined an elite group of players to have won both the World and UK titles in the same calendar year, and will look to hold all three Triple Crown trophies at once at the Masters in January.

Two 147s in five minutes

Some snooker fans can wait a lifetime to see a live maximum break, with some not even lucky enough to witness one at all.

Therefore, you can imagine the excitement of everyone inside the multi-table Barnsley Metrodome when two were made in the space of five minutes during the German Masters Qualifiers in December.

Ali Carter complied the first of these when achieving the feat for the second time in his career against Wang Yuchen before, moments later, Ross Muir enjoyed his maiden 147 against Itaro Santos.

That took the tally to 10 maximums in the calendar year and, with the standard of the game getting better and better all the time, it is frightening to think how many we may see in 2017.

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The top six Snooker moments of 2016

The end of 2016 is nigh and it has been another jam-packed year of high-quality entertainment on the snooker circuit. Here, we take a look back on our top six moments of 2016...

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