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Jimmy White insists “no regrets” over referee incident at the Northern Ireland Open

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Jimmy White clashes with referee Ben Williams (Eurosport)

Jimmy White insists he has “no regrets” over his run-in with referee Ben Williams during his Last 64 exit at the Northern Ireland Open.

White was thrashed 4-0 by Luca Brecel in Belfast on Tuesday and was given a warning by the referee for his conduct during the fourth frame.

Having produced a superb long pot on a red, the referee called out ‘blue ball’ prior to the next shot, before White corrected him by stating he had nominated the brown.

Realising his mistake, Williams declared brown and proceeded to laugh at the error, but White did not see the funny side, offering: “What’s funny about that?”

White then threw his hand in the air in frustration, prompting the referee to declare a warning: “Jimmy, I’m going to give you a warning, for sticking your finger up at me there. If you do anything further it will be the frame to your opponent.”

White missed the brown to a middle pocket and went on to lose the frame and match, with Brecel later admitting: “I don’t know what happened.”

“I just heard Jimmy say “What’s funny about that?” because the ref was laughing. I think the referee was just trying to be nice and laugh a bit, but Jimmy wasn’t laughing.”

White, who appeared to exchange words with the referee again at the end of the match, later told Eurosport: “He’s given me a warning because he thinks I gave him a hand gesture, which I didn’t.

“What I’m frustrated about is, I’m 3-0 down, the guy’s potting balls all over, I’m trying my best. We’re playing a serious match, it’s not an exhibition.

“All he has got to say is, “Ok sorry, brown” and we get on with the game.

“No regrets. It’s a serious situation.”

The Whirlwind was backed up by Ronnie O’Sullivan, who was a studio pundit for Eurosport alongside Alan McManus, with the seven-time World Champion admitting: “I can see why Jimmy’s not seen the funny side. He’s having a hard time out there, not playing well.

“Jimmy’s walked round so it might look like he’s playing the blue, but there’s no need to call a colour, it’s Jimmy White, the ball he’s going to hit is the ball he’s intending to hit.

“Then the referee starts laughing, then Jimmy goes like that with his hand, but he’s doing nothing, it’s like, “What’s going on? I don’t need this.” It’s just uncalled for, really.”

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