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Local hopes over at Northern Ireland Open as Joe Swail crashes out

By Adam McKendry

There won't be a Northern Irish winner of the Alex Higgins Trophy this year as the final local player remaining, Joe Swail, was knocked out in the third round.

The 49-year old was beaten 4-2 by Scottish-Israeli cueman Eden Sharav, who now progresses to tonight's fourth round at the Waterfront Hall.

With other local players, including World No.7 Mark Allen, already eliminated in earlier rounds, it means for the third straight year it won't be a Northern Irishman lifting the trophy on Sunday.

For Swail it was a disappointing finish to his tournament as he dropped the final three frames of his match with Sharav on his way to defeat.

Although his opponent won the opening frame, a break of 59 in the second brought Swail level, and he went on to take the lead in the third in fairly straightforward fashion.

But from there he couldn't win another frame. Sharav breezed through the fourth frame before regaining the lead in the fifth with his own break of 59.

Belfast man Swail was presented with an opportunity to take it to a deciding frame in the sixth, but when he didn't take it, Sharav was decisive in securing the win.

The star-studded afternoon session, which gets underway at 1pm, sees Mark Selby, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson all play their third round ties, with all expected to progress.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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