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Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 15:05 GMT
Joker Jimmy still a class act
Jimmy White is still capable of pulling off a big result
Jimmy White is still in love with snooker
BBC Sport's Clive Everton says Jimmy White still has plenty to offer snooker.

Jimmy White's career is defined not so much by what he has won as by what he has almost won.

Some of his most bitter disappointments have been not only been by narrow margins but from winning positions.

He led Stephen Hendry 14-8 in their 1992 World Championship final but lost 18-14.

And he lost against Hendry again in the 1994 final 18-17 after missing a simple black within a few pots of achieving his life's ambition.


I'm trying my nuts off... or in my case, my nut
Jimmy White

In all he has lost six World finals and has only won the Benson & Hedges Masters and UK Championship once.

But hope springs eternal and, as he said after his 6-5 semi-final defeat by Mark Williams at Wembley, he is "still in there punching".

He is actually playing better than he was a couple of years ago but the trouble is that so are all the other players.

His 6-5 quarter-final defeat of Ronnie O'Sullivan this week from three down with four to play was a testament of his grit.

He handled the pressure of the occasion, including a mammoth crowd of 2,403 - the highest afternoon attendance at Wembley for 20 years and better than the World Championship did.

Jimmy White waits for his chance to pot a few balls
Hope springs eternal for the Whirlwind
He was unlucky in the semi-final, in that Williams played superbly, making breaks of 93, 102 and 133 on his way to a 5-2 lead.

After beating O'Sullivan, White said he was so excited he didn┐t sleep until 5am the next morning.

As a result, "the cue felt heavy" against Williams.

It certainly did not look like that as he, too, played to a very high standard.

His break of 108 launched a recovery to 5-5 and he was not far from a winning position in the decider.

He was only 15 behind when he opened a cluster of reds, but the one he attempted was just a little tricky and he did not get another chance.


Like everybody else, he likes to win, but even more he likes the scene, the buzz and the battle
Clive Everton
on Jimmy White
It is one of his most endearing characteristics that he never whinges either about snooker or about life's misfortunes.

Even his brush with testicular cancer a few years ago is now a source of self-deprecating humour.

"I'm trying my nuts off," he said this week. "Or in my case, my nut."

Like everybody else, he likes to win, but even more he likes the scene, the buzz and the battle.

And he wants to retain enough form to remain part of it as long as he can.

He is playing well enough to suggest he will be around for a while.

And it is in his favour that he loves the game as much as ever and that practice is still a pleasure rather than a chore.


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