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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Swail targeting place in top 16
Joe Swail
Joe Swail beat Ronnie O'Sullivan last year
Joe Swail begins his bid to win a place in snooker's elite top 16 when he plays in the Northern Ireland Trophy at the Waterfront Hall from 13-20 August.

The Belfast player climbed ten places in the official rankings to number 30 and will start the new season in 13th place on the provisional list.

"I'm in a good position and I've got a great chance of the top 16," said the 36-year-old twice world semi-finalist.

"My form has been up and down but I want a good start in Belfast," he said.

"It's frustrating that I haven't been able to find a consistent level but I'm still here battling away."

Swail enjoyed some impressive results last season, including a run to the quarter-finals of the China Open and is delighted that his home city is hosting a ranking event for the first time.

"It's a great honour for Belfast to be hosting this tournament.

The Waterfront Hall is only about a quarter of a mile from where I was born so it's a really special event for me
Joe Swail

"The public there love snooker and they have supported it for many years, so it's nice that the top players can give something back.

"It's a ranking tournament for the first time now so that will make a big difference as there is a lot more to play for.

"Last year there was a very relaxed atmosphere among the players at the event but this time it will be more serious."

Swail beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 4-2 at last year's tournament.

"That was a great night, there were about 1,300 people there," he said. "The Waterfront Hall is only about a quarter of a mile from where I was born so it's a really special event for me and I can't wait for it to start."

The world's top 32 players, plus 16 qualifiers including Antrim's Mark Allen, will compete in the tournament.

White loses in Belfast qualifier
31 Jul 06 |  Snooker

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