Snooker hero Jimmy White involved in angry bust-up with referee

Snooker legend Jimmy White was given a verbal warning after he was involved in a tense exchange with referee Ben Williams during his Northern Ireland Open clash with Luca Brecel on Tuesday. The angry row took place during the fourth frame of the match when White nominated the brown ball only for Williams to mistakenly call the blue ball.

Williams was quickly corrected by White and went on to laugh at his own mistake, which seemed to frustrate The Whirlwind as he stopped in his tracks to turn back and ask what was so funny about the situation in a firm tone of voice. White then appeared to raise a finger in the direction of Williams and was promptly cautioned for doing so, with the latter marching over and saying to him: “Jimmy, I’m giving you a warning.”

The standoff continued as White asked: “What for?” before Williams explained: “”For sticking the finger up at me. If you do anything again, it will be a frame to your opponent.”

White eventually backed down before going on to lose the frame of his own accord as Brecel eased through to the next round of the Northern Ireland open with an impressive 4-0 victory. Seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan insisted after the match that he could understand White’s angry reaction to Williams’ mistake, with the Tooting native having failed to perform to his own high standards over the course of the contest.

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“I can see why Jimmy hasn’t seen the funny side of it,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “He’s having a hard time out there, he’s not playing well. Jimmy has walked around here so it might look like he’s looking at the blue and the referee has jumped the gun.

“There’s no reason to call a colour. Whatever ball he’s going to hit is the one he’s intending to hit. And then the referee starts laughing and Jimmy goes like that with his hand and he’s done nothing with his hand apart from [to say]: ‘What’s going on? I don’t need this.’ He’s warned him and you just think it’s uncalled for, really.”


O’Sullivan’s view on the incident was echoed by fellow Eurosport analyst Alan McManus, who added: “It’s a serious business at the easiest of times out there and Jimmy is super serious about today, his big match, so he’s fully tuned in.

“You can have moments of hilarity out there when the occasion suits, but Jimmy’s got a brown that gets him down in amongst the reds. He doesn’t want any of that. I’ll be honest, the referee should say: ‘Apologies Jimmy, the brown ball, thank you’. And then it doesn’t become anything.”

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