Stephen Hendry has urged his old rival Jimmy White to continue playing snooker and not retire

Stephen Hendry has urged his old rival Jimmy White to dismiss thoughts of
retirement after beating him in the first qualifying-round of the World Championship.

Hendry handed the six-time Crucible runner-up White another defeat on Monday night after beating him 6-3 in their much-anticipated clash.

That loss will more than likely leave the 58-year-old White needing to win at Q-School or accept an expected wild-card offer in order to avoid dropping off the professional tour.

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White said he was unsure over his future plans in the wake of a performance he described as “horrendous”, but Hendry was more clear in his opinion.

“I think Jimmy should keep playing – he loves the game so much,” Hendry said. “When I retired, I faced the fact I couldn’t play. If he can somehow take the pressure off himself and not look at results, not think he can win tournaments, then just go out there and play.”

After his arduous win over White, record seven-time world champion Hendry was “realistic” about his chances having returned to the sport after a nine-year absence.

Legends @SHendry775 & @JimmyWhite147 react to their eighth World Championship encounter.

Hendry won 6-3 at the English Institute of Sport to progress to round two of qualifying #ilovesnooker @Betfred

“On this evidence, my game isn’t ready. I think next year I would be more realistic about my chances,” he said. “In the next round I could play a lot better but I don’t think my game is ready to win four tough matches to get to the Crucible yet.

“Hopefully if I can keep getting better and keep improving, my technique becomes reliable and I can get to a better pace, then next year will be the goal to get back to the Crucible.”

“I will try to keep expectations low, (but) the animal that I am, if I start to get form, then the expectations will rise. At the moment it is about trying to get back to playing some good snooker.”

Kenna’s hopes dashed

In other news, women’s world No 4 Rebecca Kenna’s hopes of reaching the World Championship were ended by Brandon Sargeant in the first qualifying round.

One of only two women to be granted a place in qualifying, 32-year-old Kenna gave Sargeant a scare before suffering a narrow 6-4 loss in Sheffield.

Earlier, former world champion Ken Doherty saw his Crucible dream end after he let slip a 4-1 lead to lose 6-4 to Lee Walker.

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