Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Hurricane put the wind in White's sails

Star quality: Jimmy White features in tonight's legends event at Belfast's Waterfront Hall alongside fellow great Stephen Hendry
Star quality: Jimmy White features in tonight's legends event at Belfast's Waterfront Hall alongside fellow great Stephen Hendry

Jimmy White readily admits his swashbuckling style on the table was based on the approach of Alex Higgins.

And the 'Whirlwind' – in action at Belfast's Waterfront Hall tonight in a legends event – acknowledges that the 'Hurricane' often led the way off the table as well.

The pair were almost as famous for their hell-raising antics as they were for their snooker, but both are greats of the game even though White has incredibly never won the world title – losing in the final SIX times.

Belfast legend Higgins, who died in 2010, won the crown in 1972 and 1982.

White said: "Alex was the greatest shot-maker of them all – he could play shots that no other player could.

"Although Alex and I were great mates, there was nothing we enjoyed more than beating each other.

"In terms of playing style, of the young players coming through, Judd Trump is the most similar."

White also spots similarities between Higgins and Ulster's current star Mark Allen.

"Mark is a very attacking player as well," said White, who admits he is a big fan of Ronnie O'Sullivan, who missed out on clinching a sixth world title when losing last month's Crucible final to Mark Selby. Stephen Hendry – also in action at the Waterfront tonight – leads the way with seven titles.

White said: "Maybe Ronnie should play in more tournaments ahead of the World Championship, but he doesn't like flying.

"Ronnie is still the best player ever and will go on to prove it by winning eight world titles.

"I should have won three of the six finals I played in. I was well beaten in the other three.

"I've managed to keep my place on the main tour; which I am delighted about. I am far too good not to play! If I didn't think I was good enough, I would just forget about it.

"I'm really looking forward to coming to Belfast which is a great snooker city thanks to the likes of Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor, Joe Swail and Mark Allen.

"My great pal Alex used to play in the events which was brilliant."

Five snooker legends – with 10 world titles between them – compete in a special challenge match in doubles and singles at the Waterfront Hall tonight (7pm).

White partners 1991 world champion John Parrott against Hendry and Dublin's 1997 champion Ken Doherty.

Dennis Taylor – winner of the epic 1985 final against Steve Davis – will perform a trick shot cabaret and provide live commentary.

Referee Michaela Tabb takes charge of proceedings.

A member of the audience will get the chance to partner a legend in a game of doubles.

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