Coton faced the Rocket a second time

Nigel Coton with Ronnie O'Sullivan. EMN-180219-181904002
Nigel Coton with Ronnie O'Sullivan. EMN-180219-181904002

Snooker promoter and player Nigel Coton recently found himself on the end of a maximum 147 break by five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Coton, who lives in Goulceby, hosted two exhibition evenings starring the Rocket at the Drill Hall, in Lincoln, and co-organised them with his wife Ali.

O’Sullivan took on several players from around the county during the two evenings, but it was the game against Coton which raised the roof.

Coming to the table after an attempted safety, the six-time UK champion cleared 15 reds with blacks, and then the colours to land the coveted maximum clearance.

The events, which also featured John Virgo as MC and former world snooker referee Michaela Tabb, helped to raise £3,000 for the World Disability Billiards and Snooker, and £500 for the Drill Hall charity.

Coton was a promising player on the county circuit and beyond until a motorcycling accident aged 18 left him with a partially paralysed left arm. He went on to play one-handed, and now raises money and awareness for the WDBS.

In 1985 Coton had the opportunity to play the legendary Alex Higgins.

It was Higgins’ visits to Louth, where Coton grew up in the late 1970s and early 80s, and his capacity to play shots one-handed which inspired Coton to do the same.

In front of a capacity crowd in Lincoln, Coton managed to beat Higgins by clearing the colours and winning on the black.

“He gave me a kiss on the cheek followed by a couple of choice words and a big smile,” Coton said.

Next on Coton’s radar was Jimmy White, and he took on the Whirlwind in Spalding.

The game lasted just eight minutes, but it was another incredible experience nonetheless.

When O’Sullivan blasted his way onto the scene, Coton decided he wanted to try and complete his own hat-trick.

It took 15 years to catch up with the Rocket, and a few years ago the treble was finally completed in Arbroath, Scotland.

And once again, in Lincoln, the two met one another a second time.