Jimmy White loves snooker. He loves it now at the age of 46 every bit as much as he did when, as a kid, he used to bunk off school to play it in the afternoons when he should have been receiving an altogether different sort of education.

Snooker suffers from an overly nostalgic tendency to hark back to the ‘good old days’ but regardless of this it’s genuinely heartening to see Jimmy still in there fighting.

He came back from 8-6 down to beat David Grace in the first qualifying round of the Maplin UK Championship and last night edged Ian Preece 9-8 to reach the third.

If he makes it from the Sheffield qualifiers to the final stages at Telford he will play Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Jimmy’s career is usually talked about in terms of the six world finals he lost. These defeats came to define him as the game’s nearly man, although did nothing to reduce his status as ‘people’s champion.’

He certainly should have won in 1992 when he led Stephen Hendry 14-8 (although Hendry played some great stuff to come back) and had the title in his hands in 1994 only to miss a routine black in the decider, the pressure ultimately overcoming him.

Had Alex Higgins not conjured up his miraculous 69 break to stay in their 1982 semi-final Jimmy may well have been champion that year.

But let’s not forget this: he won ten ranking titles, including the 1992 UK Championship, and a clutch of invitation tournaments, not least the 1984 Wembley Masters.

He’s had a far better career than most and it’s still continuing, albeit in the relative obscurity of a chilly Sheffield.

There’s no webcam so Jimmy’s many fans who can’t attend the qualifiers are reduced to staring at live (or sometimes dead) scoring and cheering him on from afar.

There aren’t many players who would inspire such devotion.


Claus Christensen said...

There is little wrong with being nostalgic. Sports such as snooker are unique in that you don't have to quit early in life like football players or gymnasts. I enjoy watching Cope, Trump, Allen and other superb new arrivals but the added bonus of getting to see legends and heroes like Davis, White, Hendry or Parrott is priceless. The snooker circuit provides such an opportunity and it brings tremendous joy, as we recently saw with Davis and Parrott having great runs in the same tournament.

Go on Jimmy!

stuartfanning said...

Jimmy White used to have a Snooker club in Epsom Surrey (the town he currently lives in). It was on the High Street above Macdonalds and called Whirlwinds Snooker Club. Surprisingly he sold it off a year or so ago so I've been told (it has a different name now). Given his obvious love of the game I wondered why he did that?

Anonymous said...

gambling money probably

Anonymous said...

should have won? no dave he could have won. hed done enough to get a great lead so he could have won, but his opponent done enough to win more frames and reach the total, so his opponent should have won and indeed did. ;)

kimball said...

1992, 14-8, 50 p. ahead, 3 reds left. Hendry plays safe down to black. 3 red together before the sidepocket and Jimmy attempts a
plant,hitting the cushion first, across to the right sidepocket, it wobbles in the jaws and stays.

End of story. Hendry wins 10 straight frames.

Next time they play, 2 months later,a final in an invitational.
Hendry wins 10-0!
So 20 straight frames:-)

Dave H said...

For me the key shot in the match was the brown Hendry potted on the way to making it 14-10