Mark Allen’s defeat of Judd Trump in last night’s European Tour final at Gloucester means back-to-back PTC wins for the Northern Irishman, who heads to Antwerp this week looking for a hat-trick.
This was the first professional title that Allen – not always the happiest traveller – has won in the UK.
Last season, he won the European Tour event staged in Antwerp and also defended his World Open title. But in the really big events he was disappointing, making first round exits at the UK and World Championships.
At 27, he is precisely the right age to be challenging for major titles. He certainly has the will to win, the temperament and, of course, the ability.
Allen’s problem is that all too frequently it has not all come together at once. But he said after his victory at the Ruhr Open how hard he had been working with Terry Griffiths, his coach, and this bodes well for the next few months, which includes the UK Championship and Masters.
Trump too will take confidence from the week. He has not been getting the results in big tournaments but, as I said after his Chengdu exit, this represented a slump not a career crisis.
Neil Robertson had five more centuries to take his seasonal tally to a whopping 44. He also knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Ken Doherty won only one frame but did so by making the tournament’s highest break, 140.
Among the players doing well were Chris Wakelin, a Q School graduate, who reached the quarter-finals and Jamie Jones, largely off the radar since his appearance in the 2012 Crucible quarter-finals, who reached the semi-finals.
The first day was devoted to amateur rounds and these ground on for so long that play did not end until close to 5am, a situation which did nobody any favours, least of all the players.
The answer is to either extend the event if entries are high, cap the entries or reduce matches in the amateur phase to best of fives.