ON THIS DAY: 1983: Cliff Thorburn makes first 147 at World Snooker Championships in Sheffield

Cliff Thorburn won the title in 1980.
Cliff Thorburn won the title in 1980.

Exactly 35 years ago today, Sheffield's name was written into the sporting history books thanks to Canadian snooker star Cliff Thorburn.

It was on April 23, 1983 that the cue ace made the very first 147 maximum break at the World Snooker Championships at The Crucible Theatre - and all of a sudden, the eyes of the world were on the city and Thorburn's incredible achievement.

Thorburn, known as The Grinder for his slow, methodical style of play, was taking on Welshman Terry Griffiths in a second round match.

Leading 2-1, Thorburn's moment came in the fourth frame - but the break began with a fluke before he wrote his name into the history books.

Thorburn, who had won the title in 1980, was back at The Crucible looking for another crown.

And while that was to be his only victory in Sheffield, he is better remembered for the perfect break which he slowly built up over the course of 15 minutes.

Cliff Thorburn potted 13,000 from his 147 break.

Cliff Thorburn potted 13,000 from his 147 break.

Maximum breaks are common on the snooker circuit these days, but back then they were few and far between - it was only the second competitive 147 break and it would take another nine years for the feat to be repeated at the World Championships.

Play even stopped on the adjoining table, with fellow Canadian Bill Werbeniuk watching in admiration as his fellow countryman moved towards his dream.

Of course, the whole thing was captured on camera, with commentator Jack Karnehm nervously describing the action as Thorburn inched closer to the magical 147.

“Oh good luck, mate!," he whispered as Thornburn, now 70, leant across the table ahead of the final black.

The Crucible crowd and audiences watching at home erupted in joy as the ball rolled in - and Thorburn celebrated in style - punching the air with his cue - and famously, a packet of cigarettes in his hand.

Thorburn eventually defeated Griffiths and made it to the final - but a ruthless Steve Davis claimed victory in a one-sided affair which ended 18-6.

It was later revealed that his wife had suffered a miscarriage during the semi-final - and gruelling matches in the lead up to the final had taken their toll.

However, Thorburn pocked £13,000 for the feat - and is still known around the globe for his remarkable achievement in front of the cameras back in Sheffield in 1983.