The last four line-up for the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship is now complete after Jimmy White and Ken Doherty claimed the final two spots during Friday night’s quarter-final session at the Crucible Theatre.
Reigning champion White set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with career-long rival Stephen Hendry after defeating fellow main tour professional and 2017 winner Peter Lines 4-1 with a trio of sixty-plus breaks.
‘The Whirlwind’ lost a scrappy opening frame but responded with a well-constructed contribution of 79 to square it before a 62 helped him move 2-1 in front.
White continued to look determined, and with a gutsy run of 41 from the last two reds – including a glorious green down the side cushion with the extended rest – he went one away from progression. The ever popular and evergreen Londoner then finished the job with a 66 in frame five to keep at bay ‘The Crucible Curse’ and keep alive hopes of a third World Seniors Championship title.
The Hendry-White rivalry is the stuff of sporting legend. The pair famously contested four World Championship finals here at the Crucible Theatre in the 1990s with Hendry winning all four, although White did overcome his nemesis during their first and last meetings at the iconic venue.
There will be plenty of reminiscing, but plenty at stake when the two cross cues here once again tomorrow afternoon for a place in the final.
After his win, White spoke to Rob Walker; “When I got in the balls I felt really good. I’m getting more confidence in my cue action and I’m going for my shots. I’m back attacking.”
Looking ahead to his blockbuster tie with the Scot, White added “I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it. I understand three million people will be watching on primetime in China tomorrow, but I love all that.”
Earlier in the evening – thirty years on from their first meeting as professionals – Doherty eliminated 2011 winner Darren Morgan in a quality encounter.
‘The Darling of Dublin’ set his stall out with a classy 67 clearance to deposit the opening frame but Morgan retaliated with a frame-winning 30 finish in the next. Further breaks were traded in the following two frames as Doherty made a 72 to move back in front before Morgan levelled once more with the help of a 66.
World professional champion here in 1997, Doherty inched ahead again before shutting the door on the Welshman as he compiled a decisive effort of 80 in the sixth frame to triumph 4-2 with a 91% pot success rate.
Doherty will meet fellow Dubliner and practice partner Michael Judge in an intriguing semi-final with both still hoping to create first-time history later in this tournament. Judge is aiming to hold the World and UK Seniors titles at the same time, whereas Doherty is trying to add this crown to his junior, amateur and professional world titles.
“I’m delighted to get through, it was a tough game; Darren played some really good stuff there. It’s nice to play and get a few breaks – I was delighted to get a break at the end there. I’m looking forward to the all-Irish clash for sure.” Doherty said after the game.
The semi-finals – which feature the tournament’s four seeded players – will take place from 12 noon with the White v Hendry showdown first up and Judge v Doherty to follow. The winners will then meet on Saturday evening for a best-of-nine finale to determine the destiny of the championship.
Fans around the world can watch the event live. For the first time the 16-player event will be broadcast live on BBC digital platforms with selected matches available on the ‘Red Button’. Coverage in China will be shown on major digital TV platforms and elsewhere the event will be available on the Matchroom.Live network.
Go to Matchroom.Live to register. The Matchroom Live platform was launched in May, giving fans across the planet the chance to watch live content from the outstanding portfolio of Matchroom sports, including snooker, darts, boxing, pool and many more. There is also a wealth of classic archive content featuring great moments from the past 40 years.