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Jimmy White Reaches 1,500 Matches Milestone at UK Championship

The “Whirlwind” has been competing on the professional circuit for 40 years.

A 6-4 victory for Jimmy White over Alan McManus in the first round of the UK Championship on Wednesday took his career professional matches count to 1,500.

According to renowned stats website CueTracker, White is only the third player to reach the impressive figure.

Four-time world champion John Higgins leads the way and could eclipse the 1,600 target with a good run in this week’s ranking event at the Marshall Arena, with fellow “Class of ’92” star Mark Williams in second on the all-time list.

Coincidentally, White’s encounter against his fellow veteran McManus was also the 58 year-old’s 100th in the history of the UK Championship.

White joined the pro ranks in 1980 on the back of his recent amateur successes in both the English and World Amateur Championships.

The Londoner quickly became a member of the elite brigade, winning the 1984 Masters before subsequently claiming the 1986 Classic to secure a maiden ranking event triumph.

Nine more ranking titles were accumulated across the next 18 years with White consistently a member of the top 16 in the world and at one period ranked as high as number two.

Of course, the “Whirlwind” will unfortunately be most remembered for his inability to win the biggest tournament of them all, failing in the final of the World Snooker Championship on six occasions.

His well-documented off-table escapades, including a lavish lifestyle and a tendency to gamble, probably held him back from achieving more.

Still, the reigning world seniors champion was one of the sport’s original entertainers and built up an enormous fan base that endured the turbulent roller coaster of emotions alongside him.

In fact, he remains one of the most popular players on the circuit and proudly holds onto the moniker of the People’s Champion.

White’s form declined rapidly after 2004, though, and in recent seasons he has had to rely on wildcards from the World Snooker Tour in order to maintain his professional status.

Wins like the one against McManus, in which White compiled a 66 clearance in the tenth and final frame to complete the victory, are now few and far between.

China’s Zhou Yuelong represents his next opponent in the second round of the 2020 UK Championship on Saturday.

White is a huge underdog to progress further in the competition, carrying odds of 23/5 to beat the 22 year-old with EnergyBet – an associate of EnergyCasino which provides online casino slot games.

While White may not be able to mix it with the younger brigade as often as he’d like, the Eurosport pundit has at least become the dominant force on the World Seniors Tour in the last few years, with three World Seniors Championship crowns attained.

There are many who call for his retirement from the Main Tour, but on occasion he is still able to conjure up his old flair and charisma around the table.

One thing that is for certain is that his love of the game has never waned, underlined by his willingness – and eagerness – to return to battle after the numerous defeats.

With so many more events and matches to compete in now compared to his heyday, Jimmy White will almost inevitably slide down the list of the players who have participated in the most matches in the future.

Depending on whether or not he continues to receive the biennial invite, or if he prolongs his own tenure on the tour, it’s possible that there won’t be too many more matches to add to his tally of 1,500.

It’s not a particularly important milestone, but even so, White’s longevity should be admired and his legacy will live on as one of the most important protagonists in the sport’s compelling history.

Featured photo credit: World Seniors Snooker

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