Jimmy White century
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Jimmy White qualifies for Northern Ireland Open with century break

Jimmy White compiled a magnificent 132 century break in the deciding frame to reach the venue stages of the Northern Ireland Open on Thursday.

The 60 year-old produced a strong display against Yuan Sijun in the preliminary round at the Robin Park Leisure Centre in Wigan.

White won the opening frame with a break of 75 before taking two out of the next three – including the third frame on a respotted black – to lead 3-1.

His young Chinese opponent fought back well to force a final frame, but after getting in first the Whirlwind never looked like missing and rolled back the years with the excellent ton.

After a dismal 2021/22 campaign, White has already won two qualifying matches so far during this campaign.

The former UK and Masters champion credited his son Tommy with his mini resurgence in form, the latter joining his dad at the practice table to help him to stay motivated.

Meanwhile, Ding Junhui safely booked his spot in Belfast with a 4-1 victory over last week’s European Masters semi-finalist Ali Carter.

Ding, who is hoping to rebound up the rankings after a miserable spell, looked rusty at the start of the game but grew in confidence as the match progressed.

Michael White, Tom Ford, and Scott Donaldson were other notable winners on day three of what is effectively the first round of the competition.

White defied heavier scoring from Liam Highfield to win 4-2, while Ford and Donaldson secured respective 4-1 triumphs over Alfie Burden and Sanderson Lam.

Elsewhere, Lu Ning fought back from 3-1 behind to deny Jak Jones in a dramatic decider that was settled on the colours.

Louis Heathcote overcame Dean Young with a 4-2 scoreline, and Alexander Ursenbacher recorded the only whitewash win of the day with a 4-0 victory against Mark Joyce.

On Friday, there are eight more encounters scheduled with David Gilbert, Robert Milkins, and Marco Fu among those in action.

Thursday’s results

Jimmy White 4-3 Yuan Sijun
Lu Ning 4-3 Jak Jones
Ding Junhui 4-1 Ali Carter
Scott Donaldson 4-1 Alfie Burden
Michael White 4-2 Liam Highfield
Louis Heathcote 4-2 Dean Young
Alexander Ursenbacher 4-0 Mark Joyce
Tom Ford 4-1 Sanderson Lam

Friday’s order of play

Ryan Thomerson vs Sam Craigie (10am)
David Gilbert vs Ross Muir (10am)
Noppon Saengkham vs Ben Mertens (1pm)
Jamie Clarke vs Marco Fu (1pm)
David Lilley vs Andres Petrov (4pm)
Gerard Greene vs Barry Pinches (4pm)
Aaron Hill vs Zhao Jianbo (7pm)
Robert Milkins vs Jenson Kendrick (7pm)

Live coverage of the Northern Ireland Open qualifiers is on Matchroom.Live and the Eurosport App.

Featured photo credit: WSS

One Comment

  1. Jay Brannon

    White made no centuries last season so to have two already this season is a sign that his new practice regime is bearing fruit.

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