Michael White: How the Welshman’s game is perfectly suited to the short-format events

Jonathan Davies in Editor's Column

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White has the perfect game for the shorter format (credit:Getty Images)

It is now just over a week since Michael White captured the 2017 Paul Hunter Classic crown after beating Shaun Murphy 4-2 in the final at the Stadthalle in Furth.

Victory gave White the second ranking title of his career and saw him become only the 34th player in snooker history to have won multiple events.

The Welshman’s other ranking success came at the 2015 Indian Open – just one week after he lifted the Shoot-Out trophy in the days before the tournament was given ranking status.

But does anyone notice the recurring theme in all three of his triumphs and why is it that each of his victories have come in these events?

Well, the answer is that each tournament is contested over a shorter format, whether it be over the best of seven frames or just one in the case of the Shoot-Out.

Combine that with White’s rapid style of play and, when at his best, the ability to reel off the frames in quick succession, then you’re onto a winner.

The Neath cueist’s natural ability first gained recognition at the tender age of nine, when he became the youngest player ever to make a century in competitive play, before winning the World Amateur Championship just five years later.

He turned professional in 2007 but it wasn’t until the 2013 World Championship that he truly announced himself to the globe – beating two-time champion Mark Williams on his Crucible debut as he went on to reach the quarter-finals.


‘Lightning’ takes aim (Getty Images)

Two years later, ‘Lightning’ enjoyed a dramatic victory at the Shoot-Out, where he beat Xiao Guodong by potting the black with just seven seconds remaining and, to complete the best week of his career and climb into the world’s top 16, landed a maiden ranking title in India just a few days on after whitewashing Ricky Walden 5-0 in the final.

White may have since fallen out of the elite bracket and had to wait another 29 months for his next piece of silverware in Germany, but he certainly earned it after overcoming world number one Mark Selby on the way to reaching the showpiece, where he was too strong for Murphy.

Ironically, the other time he reached the final of an event carrying ranking points came at the European Tour’s Gibraltar Open in 2015, where there was a best-of-seven format, while his best performance of last season came at the similarly tailored Home Nations Series’ Northern Ireland Open.

One of only 59 players to compile over 100 century breaks, White is a joy to watch when he is free-flowing and in among the balls. As touched upon earlier, the ability to reel off quickfire frames means his game is perfectly suited to the short best-of-seven events, which covers the majority of events on the ever-growing tour nowadays.

However, like with most players on the tour, it is just a case of being able to produce the goods on a consistent basis and frequently reach the business end of tournaments. Get that right and we could well see him back in the top 16 before long…