Open can provide boost for aspiring snooker talents

ALAN McMANUS hopes the Scottish Open snooker will inspire the next generation of tartan talents on the green baize.

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The 41-year-old will join countrymen John Higgins, Graeme Dott and Stephen Maguire at the three-day competition, which kicks off on Friday at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.

With a prize pot of £56,000 on offer, some of snooker's biggest names will make the trip to Lanarkshire looking to pot their way to the winner's cheque and crucial ranking points.

The event is the fifth on the Betfair European Tour and the first to be held in Scotland for several years.

Scottish snooker fans will finally be given the chance to see their heroes in action, and McManus hopes the home stars can put on a show for aspiring potters.

He told SportTimes: "It has been a couple of years since we had a tournament up here and I know all the Scottish boys are looking forward to it.

"It is nice for the fans as well. There are a lot of snooker fans in Scotland and they will want to see the top players in action because they have been starved of that chance recently.

"Younger players don't often get the chance to see the top players up close and it is totally different from watching it on the television. Everyone will fancy their chances of going on a run or winning the competition.

"I certainly think you will see one or two Scottish players in the latter stages. That tends to happen with players at their home tournament."

With snooker expanding across the world, it seems only right that the game should return to a country that boasts three world champions in Higgins, Dott and Stephen Hendry.

Scotland's top cuemen will be joined by the likes of Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Jimmy White at Ravenscraig as they take on the best the world has to offer.

Much of the season is now spent jetting around the globe in search of wins, and 'Angles' is pleased to be able to enjoy some home comforts as he prepares for his opener against George Cunningham or Lucky Vatnani

McManus said: "It is not as big an advantage as other sports but it does help playing at home. You have the crowd behind you and you are closer to the venue. It will be nice for us to be able to play at home again."

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