White gets it right

Jimmy White scored his first ever Wembley win at the seventh time of asking over Stephen Hendry today – but admitted feeling “embarrassed” by his long overdue success.

The Whirlwind had finished second best against the six times Masters champion for six matches and 14 years.

However, he finally got it right, although his victory was marred by unsporting spectators in a noisy and partisan Conference Centre crowd.

Several rowdy White supporters did their best to put off Hendry, coughing as the seven times world champion was about to play crucial shots.

“Stephen is a total gentleman and I was embarrassed for him,” said 41-year-old White, now just three wins away from becoming Masters champion for the first time since 1984.

“He had done nothing wrong and didn’t deserve that treatment.

“You cannot blame everyone but there are four or five who spoil it for the rest.

“There was one woman who never stopped talking the whole time. Even people round her were telling her to shut up – it wouldn’t happen if there were a few ushers in the arena.

“Even if you are an idiot you don’t want to get slung out,” added White, who now plays Peter Ebdon or Australian Quinten Hann for a place in the semi-finals.

White also complained about table conditions and asked officials to change the cloth before his next game on Friday.

The south Londoner, who made a top break of 68 in frame four plus two other smaller half centuries, added: “The table was unplayable.

“It might be something to do with the temperature but you couldn’t play top snooker out there.

“If all the players agree then hopefully something will be done.”

Hendry also found it difficult to produce his best form, although he knocked in the 633rd century break of his career to lead for the final time at 3-2.

The 35-year-old Scot was poised to double his advantage in frame six but after making 47 he missed a straightforward pink into a middle pocket.

White then potted four glorious balls at the end of the seventh frame to go ahead for the first time since the opening frame.

Hendry levelled at 4-4 but then came up with several more uncharacteristic errors to fall in arrears at 5-4.

Referee Colin Brinded had to call for order and White also made his own plea at the start of the 10th frame as Hendry tried in vain to play his first shot.

A superb initial snooker behind the pink was then key to White making 51 to gain a 57-0 lead before he ran out of position.

Hendry hit back with 32 but stumbled over the penultimate red into another middle pocket. White removed the last two reds and though his mini-break of 11 came to an end, Hendry conceded the match.

“It’s part and parcel of playing at Wembley,” said Hendry of the unruly spectators.

“Every year the same thing happens but nothing seems to get done.

“It can be off-putting when you are down on your shot and someone is coughing or talking.

“But I’ve beaten Jimmy here plenty of times before so I am not using it as an excuse.

“I lost the match because I missed a pink into the middle to go 4-2 up. I was cruising and I probably would have won the match 6-2.

“It wasn’t a great table to play on and there were a lot of kicks. But I lost the match because of my own fault.”

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