MALVERN snooker fans are hoping for a double helping of Jimmy White magic this weekend as the big names start to arrive for the £35,000 Benson and Hedges Snooker Championship.

White's appearance at the Willie Thorne Snooker Club tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon is fast becoming a sell-out with tickets selling like hot cakes.

The six times world championship runner-up, however, faces a potentially testing opening match as he bids to secure a wild card entry to next year's B&H Masters at Wembley.

White, who if successful will play again on Sunday, meets newly crowned world amateur champion Stephen Maguire. And the Scottish teenager is out for revenge after losing to his famous rival at the Scottish Masters qualifiers back in September.

People's Champ White has become almost an annual visitor to Worcestershire due to his slide down the world rankings. But this season the 38 year old Londoner has been a revelation, reaching the British Open final at Plymouth and the semi-finals of the Grand Prix at Telford, both tournaments last month.

And if the action of the first week is anything to go by it should be worth watching. David McLlellan , a 30 year old Scot, compiled a 147 maximum break in his 5-3 win over Steve Meakin on Tuesday.

McLellan's maximum, only the third in the history of the tournament, was worth £5,000 to the world number 98 from Glasgow.

Maureen McCarthy made a substantial improvement on her 1998 display when she achieved a record low points aggregate for a best of nine frame professional match when potting just two reds. This time she made 73 in a 5-0 defeat against John Wade.

And that's been far from the lowest aggregate in the first five days of the event, Londoner Shazi Khan managed only a paltry 21 - against Irishman Colm Gilcreest.

Malvern's Dave Finbow was due to open his campaign in round three last night (Thursday) against Jeff Cundy of Scunthorpe who defeated Mark Carrington 5-0.