WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2019 World Championship – Jimmy White is your Champion!

After six heatbreaking defeats in finals at the Crucible, Jimmy White’s dream finally came true! Yesterday evening he became World Seniors Snooker Champion in the iconic venue! He beat Darren Morgan by 5-3 in an excellent final.

Here is the report by WPBSA:

White Wins at the Crucible

19th August 2019

Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White has defeated Darren Morgan 5-3 to win his second ROKiT Phones.com World Seniors Snooker Championship title at the iconic Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

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Held at the undisputed home of snooker for the first time, the four-day event saw both White and Morgan come through a field of 20 players comprised of former greats champions and amateur qualifiers from across the globe to contest the title match.

The final would prove to be a tightly contested affair during which the players were never separated by more than a single frame until the final ball was potted.

Former world number eight Morgan drew first blood with a clearance to the pink from the last red to take the opening frame, before White countered a break of 55 with a dish of his own to level the scores.

The following two frames were also shared as the pair headed to the interval locked at 2-2, before 10-time ranking event winner White hit the front for the first time with a break of 53.

It was Morgan’s turn to respond positively as he claimed the sixth frame for 3-3, before White hit a match-high break of 86 to move one away from finally breaking his Crucible duck, having famously lost in the final on six occasions at the professional World Championship.

As the tension grew, it appeared as though the final was destined to head for a deciding-frame as Morgan established a useful advantage with the remaining reds awkwardly placed.

White, however, had other ideas as he fought back to within five points with two reds remaining, before eventually earning what would prove to be a match-clinching chance to seal an emotional victory at the Crucible Theatre.

The success comes an incredible 38 years after White made his Crucible debut back in 1981 and earns him the top prize of £25,000. The success caps a fantastic season which has already seen the 57-year-old claim victories at the Irish Seniors Masters and the 6-Red World Seniors Championship tournaments.

“It sounds strange to be world champion at the Crucible,” said White. “I have been playing really well, I lost the form on Thursday coming here and today I managed to get my game together and I felt very strong. I am delighted to win because [Darren] Morgan plays all of the time, he is a top amateur, so he is very sharp. I knew I had a tough match, it looked like it was going to go 4-4 so it could have been anybody’s and sometimes you have got to take these opportunities.

“On Thursday I was playing fantastic stuff and I went to Barnsley [for the China Championship qualifiers] and lost 5-4 after I should have won and everything just went out of the window.

“Tony Knowles [former world number two] said to me that I wasn’t standing right and that my back leg needed to lock like years ago. I actually looked at a couple of videos last night and he was right, my back leg used to be straight. It gave me a lot of confidence today and I potted some real good long balls. A great example was the red to get in to win the match, you are even money to get them anyway but it was a great cueing shot.”

And the full story in pictures!

WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2019 World Championship Press Day in picture

Following this morning rebranding announcement, the Crucible today welcomed a press day, with all the players, the sponsor, WPBSA Jason Ferguson and Jason Francis.

There were photo shooting, filming, doing interviews and signing goods. The new trophy was presented by the reigning World Champion Aaron Canavan.

Tomorrow morning action starts in earnest at the table. Bring it on!

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build-up – Jimmy White v Rhydian Richards

The last match at the ROKit 2019 World Championship on August 16, 2019 will oppose Jimmy White to Rhydian Richards.

Jimmy White of course doesn’t need any introduction. He’s won everything – or about – as a professional except the World Championship and he has been a prolific winner on the WSS tour as well. He is extremely popular with the fans and his love for the game is immense.

I’m not going to repeat all I wrote in his profile on this blog, you will find it here.

You will also find his profile by Elliott West here.

Rhydian Richard, on the other hand, has never been a professional. He qualified for the WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship by winning the first qualifying event.  He had already qualified for the Seniors World Championship in the previous season, and had beaten Joe Johnson in the first round. Rhydian has also beaten Darren Morgan in the 2018 Welsh Open – a main Tour event – and in the Final of the 2017 Welsh Amateur Championship. In 2016 he reached the semi-finals of the European Men Championship. All this is telling you one thing for certain: he’s a very capable player!

This is the last frame of the match between Darren Morgan and Rhydian at the Welsh Open 2018

For what I have been able to find, Rhydian and Jimmy have never played each other.

Mini Preview. I have to make Jimmy favourite, not just because of his record, but also because Rhydian has never before played at the Crucible. It’s a very special experiance and it can be intimidating. However, I expect a hard fought match.
Prediction: Jimmy White to win.

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build-up – Dennis Taylor v Stuart Watson

The evening session on 16 August 2019 will start with the match between Dennis Taylor and Stuart Watson.

Dennis Taylor of course will forever be associated with that “famous black” and the 1985 Final when he became World Champion, beating Steve Davis 18-17 in the early hours of the Tuesday morning , with over 18 Millions watching on BBC. Here you go…

But there is much more to Dennis than this match and this black. Dennis was ranked as high as n°2 in the World and won 19 professional titles, including the Masters and – of course – the World Championship.

Dennis loves to crack a joke … or many, but don’t be fooled: at the table he wants to win, badly and very seriously!

You will find Dennis profile on this blog here

And his profile by Elliott West here

Dennis opponent, Stuart Watson, has never been a pro. He earned his spot at the Crucible by beating Patrick Wallace by 3-0 in the final of the qualifying event 2, in Jersey.

Stuart has played a lot of snooker on the WSS tour over the last two seasons and earned the “most improved player award” at the “end-of-season” week-end in Newbury last June. 

More recently Stuart played at the Pink Ribbon 2019, a charity event organised for ten years at the South West Snooker Academy by Paul Mount and his team. There were nearly 400 entries this time. Amateurs competed over two days for the privilege to get to the “pro stage” and play some of the top professionals. Mind you … the final was played between Mark Allen and Stuart Bingham. Well, Stuart was one of those top amateurs who did reach the pro stage. He’s a seriously good player!

Mini Preview. Although Dennis Taylor still can play a a high level on his day, he tends to be a bit inconsistent nowadays. Dennis of course is used to the surroundings and that may be in his favour. Stuart Watson on the other hand has never played at the Crucible, it will be all new and maybe, intimidating. But I’m sure that he will relish the challenge, and he’s very solid. Prediction: Stuart Watson to prevail in a decider (and, why not? on the final black … )

My advice to Stuart … don’t listen to Dennis quips 😉 he will try every trick that old fox!

 

 

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build- up – Stephen Hendry v Tony Drago/Dene O’Kane

The second match on the afternoon of August 16, 2019 at the WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship will see the “King of the Crucible”, Stephen Hendry take on either Tony Drago or Dene O’Kane.

WSSMasters2019GThorburnvHendryQF-6372

Stephen Hendry made the Crucible Theatre is own place during the nineties, winning the World Championship at the iconic arena a record seven times: in 1990, 1992-96 and 1999. He remains the youngest ever Snooker World Champion. He also changed the way snooker is played forever. He used to claim the “safety is over-rated”. He was all-out attack, and never changed that approach even when his form dipped and wins eluded him. He won 75 titles in total, 36 ranking events, including 18 “Triple Crown” events. He made 775 competitive centuries as a pro, including 11 maximum breaks. In May 2012, after featuring in his 27th consecutive World Championship, he announced his retirement from the game. He had spent 23 consecutive seasons in the top 16 of the world rankings.

In the first round of his very last World Championship he made this maximum break…

You will find Stephen Hendry profile on this blog here

And Stephen’s profile by Elliott West here

Reading the above you would be entitled to think that his opponent – Tony Drago or Dene O’Kane – stands no chance. Actually, after retiring Stephen really walked away from snooker for a long while, in part because he couldn’ accept to play at a lesser standard, in part because of his commitments in China where he was appointed to promote Chinese Pool, in part because of major changes in his private life.

He opened up about his career, its highs and its lows in his autobiography

Since he came back to play on the Seniors Tour, two years ago, he has struggled and he hasn’t won an event yet. Could it happen this week? It’s hard to tell.

Only one way to find out: come and watch! I won’t make any prediction …