Stephen Hendry rattled in the 776th century break of his career on his comeback after nine years away.
But it was not enough for the 52-year-old record seven-time world champion to claim victory on his big night behind closed doors against good friend Matt Selt at the Gibraltar Open.
Hendry is giving it another throw of the dice after accepting World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn’s offer of a two-year invitational wild-card tour place back in September.
The legend has taken his time coming back to the table, and there were false starts including cold feet about the lack of fans and his own level of preparation.
World No35 Selt, who said in the build-up victory would see him as popular as “the man that shot Bambi’s mum”, ran out an impressive 4-1 winner.
But in frame two Hendry, the winner of 36 ranking titles and No1 for a total of nine years, was back in century break-making business with a run of 107.
The Scot’s compiling of the points was more sedate and methodical, but the steely-eyed determination and competitive streak were undimmed.
Hendry’s last century break came in his final Crucible campaign in 2012 in Sheffield against compatriot John Higgins, an effort of 123.
Since then his social media handle on Twitter has been ‘SHendry775’ over his then-record haul, since overtaken by Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Judd Trump.
Next for Hendry it will be the world championship qualifiers as he bids to get back to the Crucible.
Hendry said: “It was great, I felt the nerves when I put the suit on. My stomach was tight driving up. I felt nervous, which is a good sign.
“Without nerves, you cannot perform, but it needs to be nerves of excitement and expectations and not knowing what is going on.
“I was quite happy, I didn’t miss anything easy, I need to cut out unforced errors, I thought Matt played fantastic, he didn’t miss a ball.But I am delighted to hit a century on my return.
“Matt played brilliantly, but my game isn’t good enough yet, there is work to do, and a month of practice to get it better.
“I will only change my social mediaprofile on the centuriesif I get to 800. 776 now isn’t a massive thing for me.”
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