Crowd favourites and great pals Ronnie O'Sullivan and Jimmy White will face off at the northern Irish Open in Belfast this week for the first time since 2011.

The Rocket and the Whirlwind came through their first round matches comfortably with O'Sullivan firing in a 131 in his match with Welshman David John to win 4 - 1. White stole three key frames to win his match 4 - 2. O'Sullivan, already in two finals this season, missed out on his third Champion of Champions non-ranking event trophy last weekend to John Higgins but will face White in the new Home Nations ranking event in northern Ireland on Wednesday where £70,000 is up for grabs as the top prize.

The 40-year-old and 54-year-old Snooker legends have not met since 2011, but their last ranking event meeting was six years ago at the World Open in the last 32. White has not beaten O'Sullivan in a ranking event since the 2000 Welsh Open in the last 16. O'Sullivan has won in northern Ireland eight years ago when he thrashed Dave Harold 9 - 3. O'Sullivan and White are both pundits for Eurosport and White said after his match with 111th world ranked Welshman Gareth Allen, a new addition to the tour that he was playing well, but needed to find his game on the match table.


"I still make 147s in practice and a few centuries," he said. White, who still loves the game, added: "I've never played snooker for just the money." Pal O'Sullivan has over 835 career tons - and admitted on Eurosport after that he didn't think it was impossible for him to make it to 1000 tons before he packs up his cue for good.

He reckoned he would need to make 50 a season for the next four seasons to be in with a chance. He would need to play in most events for it to be possible, though. Earlier this year, a video went viral of White being caught on camera making a maximum in practice at a suburban snooker club in Coulsdon, at Frames Academy where he practices with other top players such as Marco Fu and Jimmy Robertson.

He is the oldest player still playing on the tour, outplaying the likes of Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis. The showdown comes in the week that O'Sullivan's new book Framed is released, a book loosely based on his own life. O'Sullivan said he needed to play in as many events as possible but said trying to "find" his form at events was difficult. He will also be at the UK Championship later this month, after he didn't defend his title by playing in it last year. Neil Robertson won the event last year.