Steve Davis and Jimmy White seek former glories

Reanne Evans in action against Ken Doherty during the World Championship qualifying. Picture: PA
Reanne Evans in action against Ken Doherty during the World Championship qualifying. Picture: PA
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Steve Davis would love to see Jimmy White light up the Crucible stage one more time but admits his own swansong hopes look forlorn.

The king of the baize in the 1980s believes both he and the Whirlwind face tall orders to get through qualifying for the Betfred World Championship.

A tough field also includes the 1997 world champion Ken Doherty and ten-time ladies’ world champion Reanne Evans who were locked in a tense battle last night. Scotland’s Graeme Dott is also in the mix and enjoyed a 10-4 win over compatriot Mark Owens yesterday.

White will tackle fellow veteran James Wattana in his opener tomorrow. Davis, who will also attempt to qualify, expects the multiple runner-up would relish the challenge if he fought his way through to the first round in Sheffield.

“If me or Jimmy qualify for the Crucible, it’s arguably as big a win as we’ve ever had,” Davis said. “I’ve got a little bit of a desire to do it, but Jimmy would certainly love to get back to the Crucible.”

White, who lost six World finals, last appeared at the tournament in 2006.

While 52-year-old White is in the autumn of his career, for Davis these are the winter years before his cue is finally laid down. He turns 58 in August and fell off the main tour 12 months ago. A memoir, Interesting, hit the bookshelves yesterday.

A tricky qualifying opener against Jamie Cope could end in disappointment, but it would be short-lived. “I can’t build up the intensity that I used to have, but I must admit I’m getting excited about pitting my wits against another generation of players,” said Davis, who won six world titles in the 1980s.

“Of course, it’ll all end in tears. I’m not totally committed but I still have the juices running through me a little bit. I’ve been practising but it’s not a pretty sight. They’re wobbling more in the pockets before saying ‘nope’.

“Whether I get to the TV stages, that’s a long shot. That’s tough. I was still practising hard even when I wasn’t getting to the latter stages of the Crucible, and in the end you have to say, ‘Yeah, I’ve tried, but the price is too much investment of time’.

“Now if I’ve lost a match, by the time I’ve got in the car I’ve thought about what I’m going to do for the rest of the day, rather than beating up the person who’s come up with me.”

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