The manner in which Mark Allen beat Dominic Dale in the Northern Ireland Trophy last night suggests he has what it takes to be one of snooker’s leading players for the next decade.
There were question marks as to his temperament coming into the new season.
Allen ended the last campaign by letting slip a 9-7 lead over Stephen Hendry at the Crucible in losing 10-9.
It hurt so much that he broke down in tears afterwards.
However, the blow was softened by securing a place in the top 16 after just three seasons. This helped him draw a line under the Hendry defeat and look to the future.
What a potter this 22 year-old from Antrim is. And how fearless as well.
Dale played superbly to recover from 4-1 down to 4-4. At the start of the decider, the momentum was his.
But Allen immediately cracked in a long red and then a few minutes later went for a very difficult pot which could have cost him the match.
It went in and he put together a match winning break. Despite Dale’s recovery, Allen continued to think positively and – crucially – believe in himself.
These are the qualities required to be a champion.
Indeed, Allen is already used to winning having captured the Northern Ireland amateur title at all age levels as well as the European Under 19 Championship, European amateur Championship and World amateur Championship.
It surely cannot be long before he picks up silverware from the professional ranks too.