Snooker great Jimmy White qualifies for UK Championship at age of 60

Sport

Jimmy White has continued his recent resurgence in form to qualify for the UK Championship finals at the age of 60.

White will head to the York Barbican for the event, which starts on Saturday, after beating the Welshman Dominic Dale 6-1. “Thanks for all the kind messages everyone,” White tweeted after the result. “On to York we go.”

“I’m not here to just make the numbers up. If I bring my A game, I can win the competition,” White told BBC Sport. “I’ve been hitting the ball well for quite some time. We are very lucky, us snooker players, because it’s not like football or boxing, if you’ve got the passion to practice, you can keep your game in fairly good shape.”

The world No 89 reeled off four successive frames to defeat Dale after upsetting Stephen Maguire 6-4 in the third qualifying round at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. White did not drop a frame in his first two qualifying matches, beating both Victor Sarkis and Mitchell Mann 6-0.

The televised stage of the tournament will have a new format this year, with the world’s top 16 players each playing a qualifier in the first round. White, the oldest player to qualify since Eddie Charlton at 63 in 1993, will find out his first-round opponent in Thursday night’s draw.

Neil Robertson, the No 3 seed and three-time UK champion, tweeted: “Wow! @jimmywhite147 qualifying for the later stages of the UK championships at the age of 60 has to be one the greatest achievements in our sport.”

White last qualified for the UK Championship in 2010, and returns on the 30th anniversary of his only UK title in 1992. A six-time former world championship finalist, White’s recent successes have come in the world seniors event at the Crucible, winning in 2019 and 2020 and losing the last two finals.

Tom Ford, Jamie Clarke and Xu Si also booked their places on Wednesday, with qualifying continuing until Thursday evening. The three-time former winner Ding Junhui faces Robert Milkins on Thursday, with Matthew Stevens, Ali Carter and Graeme Dott among the other familiar names hoping to book their place.