Snooker: Doyle cross at border posting

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The Independent Online
RONNIE O'SULLIVAN'S Regal Masters title win was not only a fillip for the Essex player - but also for England's chances of lifting the inaugural Nations Cup later this season.

O'Sullivan defeated Scotland's John Higgins 9-7 in Sunday's final to collect the pounds 61,000 first prize and bring a smile to the face of his manager, Ian Doyle. However, Doyle is less happy about the decision of the sport's governing body to take the Nations Cup to the North-east of England rather than the North-east of Scotland.

O'Sullivan and Higgins, plus their team-mates and players from Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, will be lining up in January for the new competition taking place at Newcastle's Telewest Arena.

"Of all the Home International countries, everyone knows that England are the least patriotic," said the Stirling businessman.

"So, if you want to make it a success the powers-that-be should have brought it to Scotland. Inverness would have been perfect. The place would be packed out every night."

O'Sullivan, partnered in the England team by John Parrott and Peter Ebdon, wouldn't mind returning north of the border. He admitted: "I always enjoy playing up here and in Ireland. The crowds love their snooker and it gives you a buzz to try and play well for them."

The Grand Prix event begins in Preston next Wednesday.