Snooker: Victory is therapy for White

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JIMMY WHITE returned to the heat of the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield yesterday and went some way towards erasing the memory of his nightmare finish to last year's Embassy World Championship.

Many believe White will never get a better chance to win an elusive first world title than he had 12 months ago. On that occasion, he led Stephen Hendry 14-8 in the final only to lose the last 10 frames and finish runner- up for the fourth time.

Hendry moved into the next round on Saturday with a convincing 10-0 defeat of Danny Fowler, who became only the second player in the tournament to be whitewashed. In every frame the Scot made a break of 50 or better, on two occasions recording frame scores of 200.

White, the second favourite, could not emulate Hendry's constant high scoring. But he beat Joe Swail, the Irish champion, 10-4 yesterday to reach the last 16. The 30-year-old Londoner said: 'It was a horrible leg to get over. I needed to win this match to bury a few bad memories.'

Leading 7-2 overnight, he lost the first two frames of the final session but then won the next three with a best break of 83 in the 13th. 'I didn't make many big breaks,' the world No 3 said. 'I didn't want to open the balls up in the first session because Joe is such a fantastic scorer.'

White will now find himself matched against either the Canadian Alain Robidoux or Doug Mountjoy, of Wales, in the second round.

Meanwhile, John Parrott - the world champion two years ago - also cruised through to the last 16 when completing a 10-1 win last night over Stephen O'Connor, the Irish debutant from Dublin. Parrott, who was leading 8-1 following the morning session, took only 43 minutes to set up a meeting with Willie Thorne.

'It wasn't spectacular stuff but it was solid,' the 28-year-old Liverpudlian said. 'Hopefully, the spectacular stuff will come later on. I adopted the Steve Davis tactics and decided to play it hard.' Parrott has failed to win a tournament since the Dubai Classic back in October, but is not unduly worried by his lack of recent form. 'When you come to the Crucible it's all about horses for courses,' he said.

The Midlander Spencer Dunn, a 1,000-1 outsider, had a difficult match against the ninth seed, Nigel Bond, as he went 6-1 behind yesterday. But the former postman did manage to win the last two frames of the session on the black to trail 6-3 going into today's final session.