Jimmy White: Whirlwind loses cool with referee during Northern Ireland Open


Jimmy White is one of the biggest names in the snooker world, becoming one of the best players in the sport during the 90s, although that major crown, the World Championships always eluded him.

The general consensus in snooker is that The Whirlwind is the best player of all time to not win the World Championships, with very few in disagreement, he’d certainly be a multiple world champ if it wasn’t for the dominant Stephen Hendry.

A former world number 2, White still competes on the tour at 60 years of age, but his best days are certainly behind him, but it’s great to see such a legend of the sport still put the time in to see what he can still achieve.

Jimmy White vs Luca Brecel

The Whirlwind was taking on The Belgian Bullet in the third round of the Northern Ireland Open, with the games played over a best of seven, so there’s little leeway in the match, you need to get off to a good start as it’ll be over sooner than you think.

Luca Brecel did just that, taking the opening frame with a century break, before taking the next two frames with half centuries, leaving White needing all four remaining frames to prevail.

It was far from vintage from The Whirlwind who was whitewashed, failing to make any sizeable breaks, with his best being a 36 in the second frame.

Jimmy White loses his cool with referee Ben Williams

LONDON – JANUARY 14: Jimmy White of England dries his face as he struggles in his match against Matthew Stevens of Wales during the 2007 Saga Insurance Masters Snooker Qualifying at Wembley Arena on January 14, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

During the fourth and what was the final frame, White was the first to draw blood with an opening red, after assessing his options he walked around the table, and referee Ben Williams called ‘blue ball’.

White looked at him confused and said ‘brown’ so Williams quickly corrected himself, White appears to make a comment not picked up by the cameras, causing the referee to break out in laughter, but the player was far from impressed.

He turns around and faces Williams and says: “What’s so funny about that? What’s funny about that? What’s funny about that?” Before proceeding to raise his hand before going back to the table.

Williams responds by warning White, saying: “Jimmy, I’m going to give you a warning.” The Whirlwind questions the decision by retorting: “What for?” Williams proceeds to explain himself: “For sticking your finger up at me there. You did, I’m giving you a warning, if you do anything further, it will be the frame to your opponent.”

Video: Jimmy White loses cool with referee during Northern Ireland Open clash

You can understand the frustrations from White, he’s had a rough time on tour over the last few years, and painfully struggled during his clash on the TV table. He had the support of Alan McManus and Ronnie O’Sullivan who analysed the situation and sympathised with White.

However, that doesn’t excuse having a go at the referee, especially when it appears something that was said by White triggered the response rather than his own personal mistake with the colour nominating, but we don’t know what was said in that little passage if anything.

After the match, White claimed he said ‘no, brown’, but that doesn’t fully explain that little passage after that which could have prompted the laughter, with The Whirlwind admitted he had no regrets at how he dealt with the situation.

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