Stephen Hendry Jimmy White
Features, Ranking, World Championship

Stephen Hendry vs Jimmy White – A Famous Rivalry

The pair of legends will renew their rivalry on Monday.

The excitement is building ahead of the mouthwatering encounter between Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White in the World Snooker Championship qualifiers in Sheffield.

For the first time in a decade and 35 years after their first fixture, the duo will clash in a professional match on the Main Tour.

Few could believe the draw when it was announced as it pit two of the sport’s most recognisable figures against one another – a twosome that brought countless moments of joy and misery into snooker households throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Over the years, Hendry has of course enjoyed the better of their head-to-head contests, but the Whirlwind boasts several important victories of his own.

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Stephen Hendry vs Jimmy White in the World Championship

1988 World Championship – Second Round – White 13-12 Hendry

The first of many meetings at the Crucible between Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White transpired in 1988.

Having reached the 1984 world final after winning the prestigious Masters during the same year, the latter was already an established star.

Hendry, still only 19 at the time, was quickly rising through the ranks and a month before the tournament began he had won his second ranking title with victory in the British Open.

A quick-fire match in which both players showcased an attacking intent that would soon become snooker’s norm, White edged the teenager in a thriller that lasted the distance.

With Hendry’s hat-trick of centuries and 21 breaks over 50 between them, their last 16 fixture is still talked about as an all-time Crucible classic.

1990 World Championship – Final – Hendry 18-12 White

Following 1988, it was obvious that original encounter wouldn’t be the only time their paths would cross, but few could have predicted just how entangled their respective World Championship destinies would become.

Two years later, White was back in the final for the first time in six years while Hendry qualified for his first.

When White overcame Steve Davis in the semi-finals – the “Nugget” so often the bane of his fortunes in Sheffield throughout the 1980s – the then 27 year-old must have thought that his time had finally come.

Hendry had other ideas, and the Scot initiated his decade-long dominance by becoming the youngest ever world champion at the age of 21.

1992 World Championship – Final – Hendry 18-14 White

As the People’s Champion, Jimmy was the most loved personality in the sport which meant that every defeat was like a punch to the stomach.

Some, though, inevitably hurt more than others, and the 1992 final definitely falls into that category of emotional anguish.

Having played brilliantly to establish a 14-8 advantage, White lost the last two frames of the penultimate session to lead by only four.

It still ought to have been a big enough cushion, but the seed of doubt was sewn when Hendry pinched the opening frame of the last session on the black.

White capitulated, and by 1992 Hendry already boasted a killer instinct that saw him notch up 13 ranking titles.

The world number one reeled off ten frames on the bounce to stun his opponent into submission, compiling century breaks in three out of the last five frames.

1993 World Championship – Final – Hendry 18-5 White

Twelve months later, it was as though Hendry had simply continued where he had left off a year before.

He won five out of the first six frames and never looked back, destroying any hope of a challenge with his most one-sided World Championship glory.

It marked only the third – and most recent – time in Crucible history that the final was completed with a session to spare.

1994 World Championship – Final – Hendry 18-17 White

The 1992 collapse is arguably worse in terms of squandering his opportunity for a maiden world crown, but the heartache of the 1994 final is probably felt even more intensely.

Jimmy White faced Stephen Hendry for the fourth, and what proved to be last, time with the world trophy on the line at the Crucible.

A see-saw battle ebbed one way and then the other, with rarely more than a frame between them at any given point of the best-of-35 frames classic.

In contrast to 1993, nothing seemed to be able to separate them, except possibly a steely nerve when it ultimately mattered the most.

A deciding frame was required, and when White was in among the balls with a golden scoring chance to finally enact his revenge, the tension became too great and he missed a routine black off the spot to allow Hendry in for a reprieve.

Much to the dismay of the majority in the audience and millions more watching at home, Hendry cleared the table for his fourth World Championship success – all secured by beating White in the final.

1995 World Championship – Semi-Final – Hendry 16-12 White

For the first time in years, Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White weren’t seeded on opposite sides of the draw in 1995.

It robbed viewers of another potential final showdown, although maybe supporters of White had endured enough by then.

Instead, the pair rekindled their rivalry in the semi-finals and it was a familiar outcome once more.

The standout moment of an entertaining encounter in which Hendry always had his man at arm’s length came in the second session when the Scot compiled a magnificent 147 break.

1998 World Championship – First Round – Jimmy White 10-4 Stephen Hendry

In the second half of the 1990s, White’s form deteriorated dramatically and in 1998 he had fallen outside the world’s top 16, thus needing to qualify for the Crucible.

Qualify he did, and a first-round draw for the ages paired him with his nemesis in the last 32.

White hadn’t tasted victory over Hendry in a ranking event for seven years, but an incredible opening session saw him establish a 7-0 lead over the top seed.

Hendry fought back a little to instill some doubts again, but after a 10-4 loss he found himself on the losing side from their clashes in Sheffield for the first time in ten years.

Stephen Hendry vs Jimmy White in Other Events

1990 World Matchplay – Final – Jimmy White 18-9 Stephen Hendry

Most people understandably remember their duels in World Championship finals, but many forget that White actually won the other two title deciders that they contested.

The first of those was not long after their initial Crucible final in 1990, when White prevailed against the youngster with a dominant display to win the World Matchplay.

Indeed, it was the second season in succession that White triumphed in the prestigious invitational event that was open only to the best 12 players in the world at that time.

Televised by ITV, it was an opportunity for millions of viewers across the UK and Ireland to see their People’s Champion gain a modicum of revenge for that recent reverse in Sheffield.

1991 Classic – Final – Jimmy White 10-4 Stephen Hendry

Not long after that, they were in another final – this time for the Mercantile Credit Classic title that White had previously won in 1986 for his maiden ranking success.

After a remarkable start that saw the Londoner forge 9-0 clear, Hendry just about avoided the whitewash and then put a few seeds of doubt into his opponent’s mind by winning four on the bounce.

But the task was too big and White completed the heavy victory in the 14th frame to consign Hendry to another defeat in a rare tournament that he never actually managed to succeed in.

1992 Matchroom League – Semi-Final – Stephen Hendry 9-0 Jimmy White

In 1992, there was no questioning the fact that Hendry and White were the two best players in the world at that time.

The latter won four ranking events during the calendar year – his most prolific ever – while Hendry triumphed in the Masters, Welsh Open, and the World Championship.

At the Matchroom League in May, Hendry and White faced off against one another just weeks after their aforementioned Crucible final in which the Scot won the last ten frames for an unbelievable turnaround.

The relentlessness didn’t ease up in Bournemouth in the play-off stages of the Matchroom League, with Hendry taking another nine frames in a row to destroy his hapless challenger before proceeding to dominate Steve Davis in the final for good measure too.

1996 Masters – Quarter-Final – Stephen Hendry 6-0 Jimmy White

Hendry and White faced each other on numerous occasions in the Masters, and more often than not the outcome was the same.

At the Wembley Conference Centre in London, White had the backing of his most vocal supporters and the atmosphere could border on being chaotic.

Hendry had already silenced White’s legion of followers in 1990, 1991, and 1992 en route to consecutive glories in the prestigious competition.

However, in 1996 he inflicted the most crushing defeat of them all with a one-sided 6-0 thrashing that featured a hat-trick of century breaks.

2004 Masters – Last 16 – Jimmy White 6-4 Stephen Hendry

Further agony on home turf came for White in the 2001 and 2003 editions of the Masters, but finally in 2004 he had the last laugh.

In front of a raucous crowd and with a clenched fist in the air, an in-form White overcame his old nemesis 6-4 in the last 16.

All these years later, the pair will battle into a fifth decade and everyone is just as eager as ever to discover who will manage to emerge on top.

Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White play in the World Snooker Championship qualifiers on Monday, April 5th at 7:30pm UK time.

Click here to view the qualifying draw.

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. Pingback: Stephen Hendry vs Jimmy White – A Famous Rivalry | PK Sports News

  2. Julian worlock

    This match should be on TV live

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  6. Pingback: Stephen Hendry: 'It was tremendous to play in front of an audience again.' - SnookerHQ

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