Snooker

White on Davis rivalry: 'You were going to be in a war'

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Jimmy White in 1989

Image credit: Getty Images

ByEurosport
26/04/2020 at 07:17 | Updated 12/05/2020 at 11:52

Jimmy White said that his games against Steve Davis were like 'going to be in a war' during the heyday of their 1980s rivalry in Eurosport's The Break vodcast.

White and Davis were the two most prominent snooker players of the decades, with White amassing almost £5 million in career winnings, and Davis taking £5.5 million. While the pair's careers were scarcely more different away from the tables, the real separation was White's failure to win a single World Championship despite featuring in six finals.

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Speaking on The Break podcast, Neal Foulds and White look back at the rivalry which saw the two of them dominate the headlines for much of the decade.

White said: "Neal will tell you, anybody playing in the 80’s, Steve Davis was the hardest player I have ever played against.

‘One that got away’ - Jimmy White on his rivalry with Steve Davis

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"He had such a great cue action, such great temperament and his scoring ability, he was so consistent, made so few mistakes. I had a style similar to Higgins, probably even more attacking then Higgins, I went for my shots, so then the newspapers set up this new rivalry, because Steve Davis kept on winning.

"I quite liked it, me and Steve Davis, I was sort of wasting me time partying and he was practicing, so I never had any problems with Steve Davis, but you knew, if you were playing Steve Davis, you were going to be in a war. I had a rivalry with him that lasted for five or six years, and I think it was quite healthy for the game."

The Whirlwind recalled his famous 1984 World Championship final against Davis, where he fell just short in the final frame.

"Someone sent me something the other day, I was 17-16 down in my final with Steve and I potted a red, and I didn’t get on the pink, so I played a really good safety shot and Steve Davis, with his Rolls Royce cue action, rolled this long red in, I was 40 in the front at the time, and he ended up winning the game on the green, so it could’ve easily been 17 each. "

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He explained that changing the tip of his cue was crucial to his famous comeback, which nevertheless was ultimately in vain. He also speculated that modern equipment might have been enough to give him the edge in his attempted comeback.

"In that match, I was 12-4 down after the first two sessions and the last Jim Meadowcroft, a snooker commentator, he used to put tips on for players and I said, this tip is so hard, I can hardly play with it, so after the session, we put a new tip on, which you wouldn’t be allowed to do now.

"I was practicing on the actual match table at 12.30am, knocking in this new tip, and I came out the next day and won the first three frames, and then the next session I won 4-0, so I ended up coming in 13-11 down, maybe it could’ve been 12 each.

"I feel that if I had the equipment that I have today, maybe it would have been different, but I do think I was that one shot away."

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