The “Whirlwind” defends the crown and wins it for a record third time.
Jimmy White staged an outstanding comeback to beat Ken Doherty 5-4 and win the 2020 World Seniors Championship on Saturday in Sheffield.
Amid late-night drama befitting of the Crucible stage, the 58 year-old fought back from a 4-0 deficit to deny his opponent in a deciding frame.
It’s the third world seniors success for White following his previous victories in 2010 and last year, while he also pockets the £20,000 top prize.
The Londoner will additionally be invited to compete in the lucrative Champion of Champions tournament on the Main Tour later this year.
A tale of two halves, White responded in remarkable fashion after losing all four frames before the mid-session interval of the final.
The former world number two, who earlier in the day inflicted a 4-2 defeat on old rival Stephen Hendry in the semi-finals, looked to be all at sea as his pot success rate languished below 70%.
Doherty, by contrast, had picked up the pieces well with breaks of 93 and 56 helping him coast towards the winning line.
However, after the resumption the entire complexity of the contest changed, and the Dubliner began to crumble as the pressure mounted.
The defending champion stopped the rot and avoided the whitewash by taking the fifth frame and duly added the next to reduce his deficit to only two behind.
When Doherty squandered golden opportunities in the seventh frame, including a pink that would have seen him capture a maiden world title at seniors level, there was a new favourite.
White snatched it on the black and then compiled his highest break of the showdown, a terrific 79 to force the shoot out.
With his confidence high, the 10-time ranking event winner finished the turnaround in style with a flashy break of 85.
As a returning first-time Crucible champion, the Englishman will lay claim to breaking the fabled curse, although whether that can really count on this occasion is up for debate.
He’ll not worry too much about that as he continues his dominance on the World Seniors Snooker Tour with a sixth career seniors title.
For Doherty, it was a painful climax to what had been the perfect day up until the interval.
A triumph for the Irishman, who overcame fellow Dubliner Michael Judge in the last four, would have completed a unique set of world titles, having won the world amateur and world under-21 trophies in 1989, and then the professional world crown eight years later.
The 50 year-old will rue several missed chances to kill off the tie, and it could be a long time before he recovers from the disappointment.
The 2020 World Seniors Championship was enjoyable overall and provided a fitting conclusion between two of the sport’s greatest competitors.
It was a coup for WSS to get the tournament broadcast on the BBC, but the decision to pull live coverage from the Red Button during the final frame in order to show golf highlights was almost unforgivable.
In general, the tour continues to go from strength to strength, though, with more participants and more viewers around the world.
Jimmy White is as appropriate a name as any to sell the brand, and once again the “Whirlwind” can revel in being a Crucible world champion.
Featured photo credit: WSS