It’s easy to see the Stephen Hendry-Jimmy White rivalry defined by their meetings at the Crucible but these matches only comprise seven of the 56 they have played as professionals.

Their first contest came at the 1986 Scottish Masters, when Hendry was just 17. White won 5-1 but it wasn’t long before his young opponent improved to such a level that he became the man to beat.

Surprisingly, they’ve only met in two finals outside of the World Championship, and White won them both.

The first of these was over the best of 35 distance used at the Crucible. Barry Hearn promoted a World Matchplay Championship screened on ITV shortly before Christmas and White beat Hendry 18-9 to win the title in 1990.

A few weeks later he stormed 9-0 ahead of Hendry in the final of the Mercantile Classic, eventually beating him 10-4.

They’ve played seven times at the Wembley Masters with Hendry enjoying the clear edge, winning six of them.

He also has a handsome lead in ranking events, winning 12 meetings to White’s six.

Hendry leads 33-18 overall with five draws in the Premier League, but to have beaten the game’s greatest ever player 18 times is no mean feat and White comes into their latest meeting at the 12bet.com UK Championship today full of confidence after three good qualifying wins and victory in the World Seniors Championship.

If White wins there’s a chance Hendry will drop out of the elite top 16, although this is unlikely.

Neither player is as good as they once were and they will have to play very well indeed to match the remarkable standard seen yesterday in which there were 17 century breaks recorded.

There was a brilliant session of snooker between John Higgins and Stephen Lee, which ended 4-4. It was the best I’ve seen Lee play on TV for years.

Ding Junhui was very solid in pulling away from Matthew Stevens, even if he did stutter a little before getting over the winning line.

Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen all performed strongly in coming through their respective matches.

Neil Robertson made two centuries during a lengthy first session against the methodical Rory Mcleod, opening a 7-1 advantage overnight.

So already after just one day the cream is rising to the top in Telford.

And what all this proves is that if the players play regularly they remain sharp and standards thus rise, a point missed by those who have derided the PTC series, which has proved to be a positive for the game as a whole.

All the smaller events have also done the majors a favour because their prestige is even more apparent, hence the huge anticipation within the sport that there has been for this year’s UK Championship.

The only disappointing note was the low crowds, although this is in large part due to the adverse weather conditions afflicting the UK.

I’d expect them to pick up today for Ronnie O’Sullivan’s entrance against Stuart Bingham and, of course, Hendry v White.


Anonymous said...

Which matches to broadcast the Eurosport??? Do you know???

Dave H said...

All of them. We're on both channels today.

Anonymous said...

Sounds very good!!!! thanks!!!

Anonymous said...


all of them means 4 not both channels.

hopefully Cope V Trump is on one TV Table though.

Dave H said...

The TV matches are:

Hendry v White
Carter v Wallace
O'Sullivan v Bingham
Murphy v Joyce

Anonymous said...

well who ever is incharge of scheduling should be sacked.

Trump v Cope is one of the matches of the Tournament.

Murphy v Wallace not Joyce is not.

StraightTalk said...

No excuses but as I recall Hendry was battling severe flu and cold during late 1990 and early 1991.

Which might go someway to explain those two heavy defeats to White in the Matchplay and Classic.

Hendry was near invincible in that period.

Good on Jimmy though he took advantage of a temporary weakness while he could.

Anonymous said...

Ali and Shaun have earned the right to play on TV through winning major titles

Cope and Trump have not

Anonymous said...

Not sure about low crowds but there are lots of fluctations between each frame in a match.

The Robertson/MCleod varied between 50 to 200 people at various points in the session.

The attendances should get to near full capacity from the Quarters onwards as it looks very likely most of the big names will still be in contention.

Matt said...

It is because of the snow we've had that there are low crowds it will pick up with Ronnie, Hendry v White. I expect Ronnie to very well as his father is out of jail. If Higgins misses a chance to take frames there is a chance that Lee could beat Higgins maybe. Expect Murphy to beat Wallace.

Anonymous said...

I am very glad to see Wallace on TV. How many years ago was the last time?

Anonymous said...

They should go on the Best Match not on Winning Titles.

i want a great match Murphy v Wallace will be a nothing match.

Greg P said...

Wallace and Joyce have "earned the right" to remain in obscurity by being journeymen who've never even made a semi-final, unlike Trump and Cope.

Couldn't they just schedule one of those walkover matches in a non-TV table so we could see Cope-Trump? They may well be on their way to obscurity too but nobody's really writing them off yet and when Cope plays at his best, it's some sight.

Anonymous said...

The sense of entitlement if what I find hilarious.

If you want to watch Cope and Trump, buy a ticket for it.

Simples, see?

Dave H said...

This is always a thorny issue when there are non-TV tables as well.

Personally I think major tournaments shouldn't have non-TV tables because it's almost like there's two tournaments going on: the one you see and the one you don't.

The Welsh Open has got rid of its non-TV table this season but it's harder at the UK with the longer matches.

Of course the coverage used to start at the last 16 stage but the BBC, understandably, didn't want a load of big names going out pre-TV.

Bottom line, you'll never please everyone with the current system.

Anonymous said...

To straight talk @ 11.22

Maby your right about Hendrys flu (excuses cough cough :) ..I dont know.
BUT in fairness to Jimmy, he is capable of dishing out heavy scoring so I dont think its fair to dismiss these wins over hendry.

And, I'm sure there were a couple of Hendrys wins over White when White was a bit uner the 'weather' (Possibly more due to self inflicted hangovers than flu lol)

A Fan, Dublin.

Anonymous said...

Dave, Is there no TV coverage for the 12:30 session?

Higgins/Lee , Dott/Gould ...Two matches I'd love to see.

Shurly they are being covered?

Dave H said...

We're doing Higgins v Lee at 12.30 on Eurosport2. The other match is Robertson v McLeod.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave!

I woudl rather see Dott/Gound than Robertson as he's too far ahead,ah well cant please everyone :)

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how much royalties whoever composed the BBC snooker theme tune is getting now when it broadcast as a continuous loop during the mid session intervals?

Betty Logan said...

I can understand why they're showing Murphy's match — he's one of the biggest names in snooker with millions of fans so that's why they're putting it on TV. I can also understand the frustration at a potentially exciting match not being broadcast; like someone said, you'd think they could set up table cameras and put them on the World Snooker site.

Leon Mončiunskas said...

Very poor attendance spectators for world champion Robertson. Look to me like no interest in great player Robertson and Mcleoud.

Are briefs to expensive for country in recession?

Anonymous said...

For all the hype, BBC obviously decided that showing highlights of first session will be more interesting.

Anonymous said...

how far up jimmys @ss is john virgo?

Anonymous said...


end of frame 6 in carters match

carter attempts to double the blue

that doughball hallett says hes going for a cross double


cant you tell him the difference?

a double is a double

a cross double is when the white crosses the path of the ball youre doubling before it rebounds

everyone else on the planet seems to know this except mike "my apologies" halit

Anonymous said...

updating the blog while commentating on the carter match?

is it boring you that much?

Anonymous said...

Leon,Plan B is to fill the arena with mannequins and a tape recorder that repeats audience claps at the appropriate moments.

It's got a better chance of working than the arena scoreboard computer.

Loving the visuals on that thing though.

Betty Logan said...

Was that butterfly one of Barry's new initiatives to liven up snooker?

Anonymous said...

Mike Smith commentating on the Wallace/murphy game I think.

Anyway the ball on goes near the baulk side rail,leaving a distance prob 2/10 shot.

Mike 'here's a chance now Joe'

Joe 'eh no Mike I think he's playing safe, wouldn;t be taking this myself'

Mike 'Dead right Joe safety is defint the shot here'

Gotta love Mike, he does his best but comes out with some clankers!!

kildare cueman said...

If it is technically possible to pot a ball, Hallett calls it a "good chance". He has the commentator's eye of a blind man and totally kills any sense of tension or difficulty with his incessant waffle.

If you recorded two blokes watching snooker down the pub and compared it to Hallet, you would find very little difference in timing or substance.

Ive stopped watching Eurosport because of him.

Anonymous said...

GregP's predictions of walkovers went well: one match is 4-4 and the other's 5-3

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to see Hendry potting 95%. The reason he came off bad was his positional play which was terrible at some points.

It was a bit of a let-down because I heard he was very optimistic about his game. I'll be glued to the screen today to see if both him and Jimmy White can turn things around and perform well on tv.

Well done to Neil Robertson getting through what seemed like a very slow affair against Rory 'Bin Laden Beard' McLeod.

Anonymous said...

kc, i agree with what you say, but almost all the time eurosport commentators are sitting somewhere else in uk commenting on a tv screen.

sounds like bumlicking, but dave is the only average/better than average one on the channel, compared to the beeb, who arent that great but have a few who are good.

daves good comments, having to make it sound like he is there

"great atmosphere tonight"

"theres a buzz about the arena"


make his efforts much under-applauded. theres a new word i invented.