Antrim’s Raymond Fry says playing in snooker’s 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.
Click here for the match schedule
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. And he has been given a tough draw against world number 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.”
Practice partner: Allen
Fry works part-time in an office role for a delivery company, balancing that with his snooker career. “I practise 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 Irish contingent alongside Fry, Wallace, Joe Swail, Jordan Brown and Gerard Greene.
Televised by Eurosport and Quest, it’s the second of the season’s Home Nations series, after last week’s BetVictor English Open. That was won by Stuart Bingham, and if he can go on to win the events in Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff then he will scoop the massive £1 million bonus.
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, but fans must book fast.
For details CLICK HERE or call 028 9033 4455.