Higgins takes PLS opener - 18/08/2011
John Higgins 3-0 Jimmy White
61-36 (Higgins 41), 105-5 (Higgins 105), 71-69 (Higgins 30, White 39)
World Champion John Higgins got his 2011 PartyPoker.com Premier League campaign off to the best possible start with a 3-0 win over Jimmy White at the Embassy Theatre in Skegness. It was a relatively scrappy affair with the highlight being a majestic 105 break from Higgins, bookended by two exciting but error-filled frames.
Higgins missed last year’s event but stormed back in style last season, winning the World and UK Championships; that earned him a berth in the League which has introduced a new mini knock-out tournament each night with two semi-finals and a final. Players earn a league point for every frame won.
With a packed crowd in Skegness, the opening frame was a little tentative with both players making errors. Higgins though took it with a break of 42. The second, however, saw Higgins come into his own with a run of 105 which put him in line for the £1,000 prize for biggest break of the evening.
White needed to win the next two to force a shoot-out style decider and nearly got it to 2-1 but for a piece of cruel fortune. After misses from both players, White needed pink and black to extend the match. He made the pink and sent the cue ball table length to leave himself a nerve-wracking cut on the black.
Under pressure he made it; but the cue ball rolled inexorably up the table and fell into the corner pocket in its final rolls. That handed the frame and match to Higgins to put him in the final.
“Obviously, I’m delighted to win 3-0. I played a good frame with the 100 break but the other two were a bit scrappy,
“It’s hard for Jimmy as he’s not been on TV in the last few years but he’s been playing well in qualifiers but it’s tough to get used to TV lights.
“He’s a great addition to league as the atmosphere he brings is fantastic. Overall though I’m pleased with the win.”