When even your opponents feel sorry for you it must be clear that you are in trouble.

That fate has now befallen Jimmy White, who, for the fifth time in as many ranking tournaments this season, failed to qualify for the final stages of the Welsh Open.

He was beaten 5-4 by Mark Allen in front of just 21 spectators (I counted) which included Terry Griffiths (Allen's coach), women's world champion Reanne Evans (Allen's partner) and yours truly.

Afterwards, Allen, who wasn't even born when White reached his first world final in 1984, had this to say:

“It’s sad to see Jimmy not performing the way he used to. He must be a bit embarrassed the way he’s playing.

“There’s a lot at stake for all of us and it’s hard to get motivated when there’s only two or three people watching.

“I don’t know what it must be like for Jimmy because he’s played in front of packed houses and millions on TV for many years.

“You have to take your hat off to him that he’s even coming here.”

White is likely to be 59th in the provisional rankings after the Malta Cup and is now in grave danger of dropping off the circuit.

When he goes to play in the 888.com World Championship qualifiers next month he may need to win a match just to keep his tour card.

I find his rapid decline very sad. Whatever anyone thinks of all the wildcards and invites he's received over the years there's no doubting his mass appeal and genuine popularity.

I think we're all hoping for a turnaround in fortunes but, frankly, that seems unlikely.

Jimmy seemed very edgy out there - visibly rattled at times, even telling one of his associates to stop fidgeting.

How much longer can he go on? On today's evidence, time is running out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Whatever happens next week at the Masters, all I hope is that Jimmy gains some much needed confidence to approach his final important qualifying matches and forget whoever is or isn't watching.

Still being active in the Premier Snooker League has given him hope this season to bolster his confidence for the qualifiers, yet he cannot seem to up his game. Now he knows what the 'journeyman' snooker player has to deal with.

Andre Agassi had the same experience in tennis in 1999, and looked what happened after...

Didn't you say that if White dropped of the tour, the WSA could grant him a special wildcard for the season?

Thanks, Joe