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The Class of '92 - Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins & Mark Williams

Over three decades have now passed since Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Willians and John Higgins first arrived on the scene, yet despite their advancing years, the famous Class of '92 remain at the snooker summit.

In the kind of era unlikely to ever be seen again, the legendary trio all turned professional during the 1992/93 snooker season, and have each gone on to win the World Snooker Championship on multiple occasions as well as complete the Triple Crown. 

Remarkably, they have also all recorded 147s at the Crucible.

Their longevity is unparalleled, not just in the world of snooker but the world of sport, and there is no sign of their domination coming to an end any time soon despite having all passed their 47th birthday.

It didn't take long for the trio to first rise to prominence, either. 

O'Sullivan was just 17 years of age when winning his maiden ranking title at the UK Championship in 1993, making him the youngest ever player to do so, and he is also the youngest player to have won the Masters, taking the title by the time he was 19. 

Higgins, on the other hand, was only 19 when he landed a hat-trick of ranking titles during the same season - in 1995 - a feat that had seen him rise up to 11th in the world rankings. 

Williams was the last of the trio to blossom but he was still a ranking event winner by 1996 and two years later had already claimed the first of his two Masters crowns.

The fabled Class of '92 all went on to reach the semi-finals of the World Championships in 1999 and that is a feat they were able to repeat in 2022, some 23 years on, when O'Sullivan went on to conquer the Crucible for a record-equalling seventh time. 

That success moved the Rocket level with Stephen Hendry on seven world titles and came 21 years on from his first, when he got the better of old foe Higgins 18-14 in what proved to be an absolute epic. 

By that time, Higgins and Williams had also been crowned world champions. The Wizard of Wishaw won the first of his four titles at Ken Doherty's expense in 1998, while the Welsh Potting Machine claimed the first of his three against compatriot Matthew Stevens in 2001. 

That takes the tally between them to 14 world titles, 13 UK crowns and 11 Masters successes, an achievement that is even more remarkable given they have had to compete with one another for success throughout. 

Ronnie O'Sullivan

The supremely talented trio have all been able to adjust with the times and maintain their special standards and, while some have tried to break the stranglehold, nobody has been dominant enough to knock them down and out. 

Their success has also made for some epic battles along the way. 

The 2018 World Championship final between Higgins and Williams, which saw the Welshman prevail 18-16 to claim his third Crucible crown and his first for 15 years, is a standout. 

Having also finished runner-up to Mark Selby in 2017, the Scot went into this title decider as a warm favourite to make amends. 

However, Williams won seven frames on the trot to take a 14-7 lead which proved critical and despite making four centuries, Higgins was unable to complete the comeback. 

Higgins went on to finish runner-up again in the Sheffield spectacular for a third straight year to Judd Trump in 2019 and his semi-final showdown with O'Sullivan in 2022 made for another captivating watch. 

In what was a mouth-watering 77th meeting between the pair, the Rocket ultimately ran out a convincing 17-11 winner, in a contest where he reeled off five centuries and breaks of 99 and 91 to highlight his Crucible credentials. 

O'Sullivan went on to record an 18-13 success over Trump in the final, ensuring it was he who returned to Sheffield in 2023 as the world number one.

For the first time in many a year, neither of the three made it beyond the quarter-final stage last term, suggesting that maybe their stronghold at the top of the sport was beginning to ease, but O'Sullivan served a timely, and unneeded reminder of the qualities of the 'Class of '92 with victory at the first of this season's Triple Crown events, the UK Championship.

The Rocket is the joint 4/1 favourite - priced identically to Judd Trump - to surpass Hendry's record with an eighth world championship triumph in Sheffield this April, having succumbed to defeat against eventual winner Luca Brecel in the last eight in a pulsating 2023 showdown.

Williams also fell victim to the same opponent in the last 16, being narrowly edged out 13-11, but is 14/1 to go the full distance this year, the same price available for serial winner Higgins, who was beaten by Mark Selby in the last eight a year ago. 

The World Championships is the pinnacle of snooker but it is a gruelling tournament in which players must win five matches and 71 frames to be crowned champion. 

But the past couple of years have highlighted that experience and temperament is just as important as flair and durability, and that is something the infamous Class Of '92 have in abundance.

Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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