Mark Allen’s emphatic capture of the Haikou World Open title today is the fulfilment of a snooker talent who arrived on the professional scene already a winner.

Allen won just about everything possible as an amateur: the Northern Ireland title in all age divisions, the European juniors, the European amateur championship and the IBSF world amateur crown.

So he was used to winning before turning pro and this was evident again when he was selected as a wildcard for the 2005 Northern Ireland Trophy.

In his television debut against the great Steve Davis he did not freeze. Far from it, he played superbly and beat the six times world champion. The following day he beat John Higgins.

Very quickly Allen joined the top 16. He started making semi-finals – including at the 2009 Wordl Championship and 2011 Masters – and this season reached his first final at the UK Championship, where he contested a thrilling tussle with Judd Trump.

He was 3-0 down to Trump in the last 16 earlier this week but never stopped believing he could win, the same attributes that saw him come from 5-2 in arrears to beat Mark Selby 6-5 in the semi-finals.

Today he was unstoppable. To beat a resurgent Stephen Lee 10-1 is some achievement.

It’s a case of what a difference a year makes for the Antrim man. Last year, he went to the airport to fly to Hainan Island for an invitation event but was overcome by panic and could not get on the plane.

He subsequently received treatment for depression. Things picked up in his personal life and he is now engaged to his girlfriend, Kyla.

Allen has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t like travelling but in fact this is his second final far from home this season after he partnered Gerard Greene to the runners-up spot for Northern Ireland in the World Cup. His first professional title also came in China, the 2009 Jiangsu Classic.

He’s not endeared himself to everyone in the sport but, like his legendary compatriot Alex Higgins, doesn’t seem to care.

Maybe after the controversy earlier in the week he fired himself up with an ‘I’ll show them’ attitude.

Well, he showed us what we already know: that he’s a brilliant player possessed of steely resolve with the ability to beat anyone in the game.
Now that he has won his first ranking title there is no reason why more shouldn’t follow.


Anonymous said...

Ironic how both of his profressional titles are in China, especially since he loves to travel so much.

I can honestly see Trump, Ding and Allen dominating when the late 90s generation start to decline.

ali said...

now you can leave the 'stinky country of filled with ignorant people' behind now, mr allen.

good riddance.

Greg P said...

Well done Mark Allen.

He was focussed like a madman during the first session. It was really great to watch. He survived a brief lull in his concentration because Lee couldn't capitalise (probably already demoralised at that point).

That was a real battering. Lee only just survived a whitewash (that one frame he won was still losable until he sank the very last black ball).

Anonymous said...

The World Champs is beginning to look very open this year. Love the new look to the blog Dave.

Anonymous said...

Really well done Mark! A very tough draw at the Worlds but a great season regardless of what happens there.

Anonymous said...

mark was a nice guy up until a couple of years ago.

he is from a good family, but over the last couple of years has turned into a horrible little man.

i am all for people having different opinions, but there is a way normal decent human beings put things when they are not happy.

he is quite offensive to the point i now find him vulgar.

Anonymous said...

Even his victory tweet mentions the people who criticise him.
Allen seems a well balanced lad, in other words he has a chip on both shoulders.

Anonymous said...

He's in the easiest quarter. Avoids O'Sullivan, Higgins, Williams, Trump and Robertson. You can't ask for more than that really. That must probably rank as one of the best first title wins ever.

Allen obviously needs a bit of controversy to get going. Maybe he could slag off chav culture when he heads for the Masters; go in for a bit of holocaust denial at the German Masters; complain that Sheffield is overrun with Asians when he heads for the Crucible; call the Welsh a nation of Sheep shaggers...he could win the whole lot!

Anonymous said...

The snooker fraternity awaits the next installment of the Mark Allen story and his words of infinite wisdom, rapier wit and profound observations about the world in which we live.
He has tackled matters such as the lack of business acumen of entrepreneur Barry Hearn who he claimed should resign.
He also managed to quickly condemn the Chinese people as "ignorant" during his brief stay.
This guy is a big hitter. No doubt that next will be the Cameron/Clegg alliance.
I expect Mark to say something really relevent, current and insightful about these world matters.
All done tastefully and with no little class and sophistication.

Anonymous said...

It makes a nice change though to have an opinion that clearly hasn't been "stage managed"; I'd take an unpleasant person over a fake any day.

Anonymous said...

Yet again, no mention of the final on sports bulletins on Radio 5live... but if you're into swimming then you're well catered for. Also on one well known agency's sports wires, no mention of the snooker from yesterday, but plenty of water-based sports reports as that's what everyone on the streets are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Good player but charmless idiot who think he knows everything but clearly knows zilch.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Dave. I would like to know one detail about PTC Grand Final 2012: is it a ranking tournament or minor-ranking? If you know, please, answer:) p.s. Sorry for off topic and (probably) my bad english.

Dave H said...

I count it as a ranking title

Anonymous said...

@ 8:31pm - so the quarter with Selby and Ding is the easiest?

Anonymous said...

Surely Dave it can't be classed as a ranking event as it is open to pro's and amateurs. Yes it provides ranking points but what would happen (in the very unlikely event) that Mike Hallett wins one ;-) ?

A Hansen said...

It has been a joy watching Allen this week. We knew he was good, and finally he got the victory he deserves.

Can´t wait for the worlds to begin, let´s hope he can focus and play his best there too.

You can´t beat the feeling when your favourite player wins ;-)

jamie brannon said...

Couldn't help but notice that John Parrott is coming out of retirement to enter the qualifying for the World Championship.

Be amazing if he made it, but think he will lose to Patrick Wallace first up.

Hendry has been dealt a good draw, while Steve Davis and Jimmy White have a chance.

The nugget would face Dominic Dale, who despite two ranking event wins, is not a player that scores too heavily or has capacity to do so like others in the 17-32 bracket, and White would have to play Jamie Cope, a player who is experiencing a crisis of confidence.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the quarter with Ding and Selby is the easiest, when compared to the draws in the other rounds. The top quarter has two players who have five world titles between them from 8 world finals. The second quarter has three finalists with 4 finals and a win between them. The third quarter has three world champions with 6 titles between them. The fourth quarter is the only section without a world champion, although it has two finalists with three finals to their name.

Anonymous said...

@5:10 Well using your logic, if Hendry was in the bottom quarter, it would become the hardest as it had most world titles.

Anonymous said...

At least I'm using logic, anon. The fact is Ding is a huge Crucible under-performer with just a single semi to his name. Higgins, Dott, Murphy, Carter, Trump, O'Sullivan, Robertson, have all reached the final since Selby reached it and are all in other sections of the draw.

Anonymous said...

The bottom half of the draw is clearly stronger. Higgins and Trump are favourites to get to the semi in the top half, the bottom could be anyone from Robertson/O'Sullivan/Selby/Allen/Ding. The bottom quarter of the draw is the strongest in terms of competitiveness. This is going on form and not historical statistics that mean next to nothing in the context of this years event.

Anonymous said...

"Clearly" as in based on your own subjective opinion. You have included two players who have never reached a final and one who last reached it five years ago, so your view has very little credibility in my eyes. More often than not, the world final is contested by players who have previously contested a world final in the previous 5/6 years, so historical form in the event obviously counts for something. In this century alone, the world final has been contested by 16 repeat offenders as opposed to 8 debutantes, so you are twice as likely to reach the final if you have been there before. Next time anon, do your homework before posting nonsense.

Anonymous said...

So Carter, Dott and Murphy are more dangerous than Ding and Allen? Talk about misguided

Anonymous said...

If White, Davis and Hendry manage to qualify, they will be even more dangerous than the other former finalists put together! :D

But seriously, I can see how some quarters might be slightly 'easier' than others, but there are no certainties and at least 10 of the current top 16 are quite capable of going all the way.

Tough call for the bookies.

Anonymous said...

I'd certainly have Murphy and Dott ahead of Ding and Allen. Ding and Allen have only reached one semi apiece, whereas Murphy and Dott reached two of the last three finals lol. You don't have a clue anon, you're the reason bookies stay in business.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
So Carter, Dott and Murphy are more dangerous than Ding and Allen? Talk about misguided

8:23 AM

i wasnt the person who put that, but id say AT THE CRUCIBLE (which i believe the person was referring to) that those 3 players ARE more dangerous. id say their track record proves this

kildare cueman said...

Think the players to look out for at the crucible are those with bottle and a bit of form going into the championships.

Right now thats Allen, Robinson, Trump and O'Sullivan.

I think Murphy and Selby seem to struggle at the very end of the tournament to get over the line the past couple of years.

Ding is unpredictable. He could bow out tamely or win the event. Higgins has the bottle but seriously out of form.

I dont agree with this easy draw stuff though. Any of the top 10 or 11 can win any tournament now, and any top 16er can beat each other in any match.

Anonymous said...

i agree kc

(theres a first)


Hi David. A superb performace from Mark Allen, to win his first professional title.