Snooker: White able to bridge the gap

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JIMMY WHITE, the world No 3, overcame Ken Doherty, of Ireland, 10-9 to win the Rothmans Grand Prix title in a thrilling final in Reading last night.

White, only now practising hard after the disappointment of his defeat in May's World championship final against Stephen Hendry, said: 'This buries that for me. It's gone and forgotten now as far as I am concerned. I took the summer off just to get the championship out of my brain and my early season form was appalling.'

White looked destined to be the nearly man again when Doherty, the world No 21 who was appearing in the final of a world ranking tournament for the first time, recovered from the loss of the opening frame to establish a 5-1 lead.

'At that point I knew I just had to keep punching,' White said. White did just that as he fired in breaks of 106 - his sixth century of the event - and 72 to trail only 5-3 at the end of the first session. When play resumed he was quickly on level terms at 6-6 thanks to breaks of 85, 48 and 75.

Doherty, a former world amateur champion, regained the initiative at 7-6 but failed to score in the next two frames as White rattled off runs of 90 and 65 to move 8-7 ahead. Doherty won the 16th frame with an 80 break on his first visit to the table but White then went one up with two to play.

Doherty hit back with a 117 break - the highest of the final - to force a decider, although White held firm after giving himself a useful cushion with an early 44.

ROTHMANS GRAND PRIX (Hexagon Theatre, Reading) Final: J White (Eng) bt K Doherty (Irl) 10-9.