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Taking to Northern Ireland Open stage will be best moment for Antrim ace Fry

 

By Robert Jones

Antrim's Raymond Fry says playing in the Northern Ireland Open next week will be the best moment of his snooker career so far.

The 34-year old amateur has been handed a place in the world ranking event as one of the top two players in the national rankings, alongside Patrick Wallace.

The Northern Ireland Open runs from November 12 to 18 at the Belfast Waterfront and it will be the first time that Fry has competed in the final stages of a ranking event.

He has been given a tough draw against World No.13 Luca Brecel, with the match to be played in the evening session of the opening day.

"It will be a dream come true to walk out in a big arena, my best moment without doubt," said Fry. "I will be nervous but hopefully I'll be able to settle down and play my game.

"There will be around 60 or 70 of my friends and family there to watch me so I just hope I can perform.

"Brecel is a very talented player, I remember in the same event a couple of years ago he beat Shaun Murphy 4-0 in less than an hour. He goes for his shots, and if he misses a few then I will get chances. It will be up to me to take them.

"I believe I can beat him, and just to win one match would be a massive achievement for me."

Fry works part-time in an office role for a delivery company, balancing that with his snooker career.

"I practice with Mark Allen in Antrim which has really improved my game," he said. "If you can't compete against Mark you'll just be picking balls out all day and it has made me realise what I have to do against the top players.

"It has also removed the fear factor because I know if I can win a few frames off Mark then I can do the same against anyone."

The tournament will see 128 players battling for the Alex Higgins Trophy, including top stars like Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Williams, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson.

Allen will lead the Northern Ireland contingent alongside Fry, Wallace, Joe Swail, Jordan Brown and Gerard Greene.

Tickets are on sale now and start at just £10, fantastic value for the chance to see eight tables in play during the early rounds. A limited number of tickets are still available for the final on Sunday, November 18.

For more details visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets or call 028 9033 4455.

• BetVictor, one of Europe's leading online gaming companies, has extended its partnership with World Snooker, which will see the operator become title sponsor of two more of this season's Home Nations events - the Northern Ireland Open and Scottish Open.

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said: "We are delighted to join forces with BetVictor once again for these two prestigious tournaments. The company has been a strong supporter of the sport, having previously sponsored the Welsh Open from 2013 for four consecutive years and more recently the English Open.

"The Home Nations series has proved to be a fantastic addition to our tour and I'm looking forward to seeing packed arenas in Belfast and Glasgow."

Belfast Telegraph

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