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Beattie is hungry and thirsty for more title success

By Staff Reporter

Mark Beattie admits he has a big act to follow in the World Masters - the final event of the Short Mat Players' Tour - at the Watson Stadium today.

The big Foyle man, who is the reigning champion, approaches the showcase tournament determined to become the first Northern Ireland man to pick up a SMPT title since Gary McNabb's success in the UK Open back in August.

There is a certain amount of pressure off Beattie as he is already guaranteed to finish top of the world rankings, having built up an unassailable 255 points advantage at the top of the table.

But he would dearly love to retain the title he won with a certain degree of panache 12 months ago, following a victory over fellow country man Paul Canning.

"They say it's difficult to win any SMPT trophy, but it is even tougher retaining it," said Beattie. "I've been fortunate enough to pick up titles over the past few years and it would be nice to become the first player ever to retain any SMPT trophy."

Beattie will have a fair idea of what to expect as he has been drawn in the same group as Petra Coyle, Tommy McAleavey, Andrew Robinson and Stephen McCrory, who are all representing the IIBA.

The Strabane Cricket Club man gets things under way this morning (9am) against England's Andrew Jones. Other local players to feature are Kevin Conroy, Tony Bell, Stuart McSorley, John Qunn, PJ Gallagher, Cecil Dillon, Dairmuid McMahon, Aidan Corrigan and Raymond Stubbs.

Belfast Telegraph

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