‘Rocket’ aiming to put smiles on faces

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan
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  • Snooker stars Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White set for showdown at Guild Hall
  • Exhibition match is part of the popular Snooker Legends Tour
  • Duo will be joined on the night by fellow green baize legend Dennis Taylor
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Two of snooker’s all-time greats are heading to Preston in a couple of weeks’ time.

Five-time world champion ‘Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan will be taking on fellow green baize star Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White in ‘A Night of Snooker Legends’ at the Guild Hall on Thursday, October 15.

Considered to be the most naturally gifted player the game has ever seen, 39-year-old O’Sullivan will be returning to the scene of the first major triumph of his career.

The Londoner was just a fresh-faced 17-year-old when he defeated Stephen Hendry 10-6 in the final of the 1993 UK Championship.

The Big Interview: Ronnie O’Sullivan

Since then, O’Sullivan has gone on to enjoy a glittering career – winning five triple crowns. His rapid style of play and ability to play left-handed means he is an enormous crowd favourite around the world.

Jimmy is one of my best mates,

If there is one player who can rival O’Sullivan in the popularity stakes then it is fellow Londoner White, who is widely renowned as the people’s champion.

Now aged 53, White has never won the World Championships despite reaching the final on six occasions.

He has, though tasted success at the Guild Hall when he defeated John Parrott 16-9 in the final of the UK Championships in 1992.

“Jimmy is one of my best mates,” O’Sullivan told the Evening Post.

“We love going out on the road and having our little exhibition nights – it’s great for us. We aim to show the punters what we are all about.

“Jimmy is someone I watched all my life, especially growing up – him and people like Steve Davis

“All of those types of players from that era, I looked up to and so for me playing an exhibition with Jimmy is like a dream come true.”

The Big Interview: Jimmy White

The pair have played many times over the years in a competitive setting, with O’Sullivan leading the head-to-head 29-10.

Ironically, the match between the two which stands out the most for O’Sullivan was when White came back from 5-2 down to beat him 6-5 in the quarter-final of the 2002 Masters at Wembley Arena.

“I was 5-2 up and I was world champion at the time,” OSullivan said. “I did not expect to lose, but he ran hot that day.

“That’s what Jimmy can do. When he gets hot, he can win 10 frames on the trot.

“I played him twice at the Masters and he beat me both times, but they were great occasions – two Londoners playing each other at Wembley in front of 3,500 people –it was quite a intimidating atmosphere.”

Joining the duo at the Guild Hall will be ex-world champion Dennis Taylor – who will entertain the audience with trick shots and commentary – and well-known referee Michaela Tabb.

“It will be a competitive match between myself and Jimmy, but we also want to put on a show for the crowd,” O’Sullivan said.

“Hopefully they will get to see a 147 and we are aiming to play some good stuff and make the crowd go home happy.

“It will be a lot more fun than a competition match – we will get people in the crowd to play a doubles match with us. It’s all about entertainment and having a laugh and some fun.”

Tickets for the event are priced at £45, £35 and £15 and can be purchased online or by ringing the Guild Hall on 01772 804444.

For further information visit the website

www.prestonguildhall.com.

The Big Interview: Dennis Taylor