Name: Michael White
DOB: 5th July 1991
Birthplace: Neath, Wales
Turned Pro: 2007
Highest Ranking: #34 (2013)
Highest Break: 145 (2011 Shanghai Masters qualifiers)
Career Highlights: 2012 UK Championship, International Championship and Wuxi Classic last 32, 2011 UK Championship last 48, 2012 PTC7 semi-finalist, 2012 APTC1 semi-finalist, 2009 Welsh Number 1, 2006 IBSF Grand Prix Winner, National Champion at U-14, U-18 and U21 levels, former European U-19 Champion
Like fellow professional Daniel Wells, 17-year old Michael White is another gifted young player who hails from the town of Neath in South Wales and if his junior record is anything to go by, he could reach the very top of the game.
Credited as the youngest player ever to have made a century break (aged just 9), Michael was clearly a fine prospect from an early age. Nationally he is a champion at under-14, under-18 and under-21 level, as well as a runner-up at senior level and what is most impressive is his age when winning these events. In 2003 when he took under-14 and under-18 glory he was just 12 years old and it was just two years later when he completed the set with under-21 and second place in the senior event.
More was to come on the international stage however as he won the European U-19 Championship with victory over Vinnie Muldoon as well as becoming the youngest ever winner of the IBSF World Grand Prix in 2006, again aged just 14 which unfortunately meant that he was too young to join the main professional tour due to the age restrictions in place.
Main Tour 2007/8
The age restrictions in place were to become an even greater issue when he did graduate to the main tour a year later as he was forced to miss the qualifiers for the season opening Shanghai Masters tournament because they fell just days before his 16th birthday. Whether this affected him mentally for the rest of the season only he knows but the only managed to win five matches and lost his professional place at the end of the year.
Barring a run to the final in Event Three, the 2008/9 PIOS series at Prestatyn was fairly uneventful for Michael, indeed he barely competed in the other events as he finished up in 35th place.
Instead he chose to focus on the Welsh national events and this proved to be a great success as he won events at senior, under-19 and under-21 levels. By the end of the campaign he had won three of the four events played at senior level and immediately secured a return to the main tour as a result.
Now knowing exactly what to expect on the professional circuit, Michael got his second stint amongst the big boys off to an encouraging start with victories over Lee Page and Mark Davis to reach the third qualifying round of the Shanghai Masters. Though he could only reach the second round at the Grand Prix, the UK Championship was to see him reach the last 48 for the first time with victories over fellow Neath pro Daniel Wells, Jin Long and the experienced Jamie Burnett.
From there his season was to tail off somewhat as he won just one further match during the three remaining tournaments of the year. In particular his 10-9 World Championship qualifying defeat at the hands of Thailand’s Noppadol Sangnil was to be a real disappointment, though thanks to his earlier results he was at least sure of retaining his main tour place for 2010/11, finishing 6th on the one-year list of players not ranked inside the top 64 on the two-year list.
Michael struggled for consistency during the early stages of the 2010/11 season as despite reaching one PTC quarter-final and recording victories over Liu Chuang, Michael Judge and Dominic Dale in qualifying for the Shanghai Masters, he could not move up into the top 64 at the season’s first seedings revision in October.
Michael at the 2011 World Championship qualifiers
The second half of his season was to prove mixed but he was to impress at both the UK and World Championship tournaments, reaching the third qualifying round of both to secure a reasonable haul of ranking points. Although his defeat to Anthony Hamilton during the world qualifiers did mean that he would finish the season just short of the top 64, he had already performed well enough during the PTC events to retain his place on the main tour.
Following an early exit from the Australian Goldfields Open qualifiers against Yu Delu, Michael improved with a run to the third qualifying round of the Shanghai Masters, before a series of strong performances in the PTC events left him in contention for a top 64 place at the season’s first seedings revision.
Though he was to narrowly miss out on this thanks to the efforts of Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail, Michael was to qualify for the Snooker Shoot Out in January following the decision of Ronnie O’Sullivan not to enter the event.
Michael at the 2011 UK Championship qualifiers
Ronnie was also to play a part in Michael’s season at the PTC7 event as having reached the semi-finals in Gloucester, White was to lose out to O’Sullivan who would then go on to defeat Matthew Stevens in the final for his second PTC title of the season.
Despite this defeat however, the points from his run, together with those from his last 48 run at the 2011 UK Championship were enough to comfortably see him up into the top 64 for the first time in his career.
The second half of Michael’s campaign however was to prove a struggle as he failed to win consecutive matches in a ranking event tournament, before losing a surprisingly one-sided encounter 10-2 to Yu Delu at the World Championship qualifiers in Sheffield.
Michael was to continue his impressive form from the previous campaign in 2012/13 as he qualified for his first venue at the Wuxi Classic with victories against Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon, Xiao Guodong and Anthony Hamilton.
Though he was to lose out to wildcard Zhou Yuelong at the venue, he was to maintain his form, reaching the semi-finals of the following APTC1 event in China, before also reaching the last 48 of the Australian Goldfields Open.
Further consistent performances were to follow during the PTC events, before he then qualified for both the final stages of the International and UK Championship tournaments, results which helped him up to a career-high ranking of number 37 by the end of the year.
Michael at the Crucible in 2013
The best was still to come for Michael however, as he defeated Zhang Anda and Andrew Higginson to qualify for the final stages of the World Championship for the first time, before there defeating Welsh legend Mark Williams and Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng to reach the quarter-finals.
Though he was to lose out there to Ricky Walden, his performances had been enough to see him rise to 34th in the rankings by the end of the season.