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Home glory is all about handling pressure: Allen

 

By Robert Jones

Snooker ace Mark Allen has admitted he fears stage fright on his return home for next week's Dafabet Northern Ireland Open at Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

All of the Northern Irish players will be in action on the opening day at the world ranking event which runs from November 20 to 26 - Allen, Joe Swail, Gerard Greene, Jordan Brown and Declan Brennan.

Allen, who bowed out of the Shanghai Open yesterday, losing 5-4 to England's Jack Lisowski, said: "It would be great if one of the local players could have a good run next week. Maybe the fans shouldn't count on me because I was very nervous from start to finish at the tournament last year, although I got to the quarter-finals. I expect I'll be the same this time.

"It's like another major for me and with that comes a lot of pressure. Last year, every time I looked up into the crowd I could see 30 or 40 people I knew.

"I thought I would handle it last year and I didn't. I have a bit more experience now. I have to try to block out the fact that it's my home tournament and just concentrate on playing snooker."

Tickets are still available and start at £10. For details visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets or call 028 9033 4455.

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