Today’s williamhill.com UK Championship final pits two young, exciting, attacking players against each other in a fitting climax to a brilliant tournament.

Judd Trump has been joined in the final by Mark Allen, who displayed poise, purpose and great sportsmanship last night in beating Ricky Walden 9-7.

The irony of Allen’s comments about Barry Hearn is that he is exactly the sort of player Hearn is looking for to take the game forward.

He has terrific skill and like those other Northern Irish ranking event finalists – Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and Joe Swail – is a fighter.

He also has something about him as a person. I was impressed by his behaviour last night when he queried whether a red apparently moved by the referee had been pottable in its original position.

Allen was certainly used to winning before turning professional, which is one of the reasons he made such an immediate impact.

Allen captured the Northern Irish amateur title at every age level and went on to win the European junior title, European amateur championship and IBSF world amateur championship.

In his first match on TV he beat Steve Davis as a wildcard for the 2005 Northern Ireland Trophy. The next day he beat John Higgins.

He has always believed in himself and relishes competition but does not seem to enjoy the life of a professional.

I get the feeling Allen loves playing in big matches, it’s the slog of the circuit he dislikes.

He was reportedly unable to get on the plane to China last season for the Hainan Classic invitation tournament. This led to treatment for depression.

He seems happier now. Terry Griffiths is in his corner, which is a positive, and he has every reason to believe he can capture his first major title today.

Trump of course will be very difficult to beat. I don’t think he has played quite as well as he did at the Crucible but he has demonstrated fine battling qualities alongside his wonderful shot-making.

He really does seem to love everything about life as a pro. He also understands that being a snooker player is about more than just playing. Trump entertains. He interacts with fans on social media. He is a star.

He has had a fine year and it can end on a real high with him joining the list of greats on the UK Championship roll of honour.

This final could be a hard-hat area the way these two play; a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it parade of audacious potting and big breaks.

It promises to be a pulsating end to what has been a memorable week in York.


Anonymous said...

lets hope it half lives up to expectation. if so, itll be great.

snooker needs these players. not the has beens the media pander to.

Keith said...

Looking forward to it. One other thing occurred to me - is William Hill one of the biggest companies to sponsor snooker since the tobacco days? A "High Street name" at last.

The Blog said...

I can't wait to hear Barry Hearn's comment if Mark Allen wins the event.

"Mark is a deserving winner. I sent him a text saying "**** off!" Er .... I mean I sent him a text saying "well done!"


Ray said...

It's devaluing the UK championship by reducing the number of frames played in early rounds.
Today we see that Luke Donald is the first player to come top of both European and USA money lists - but has never won a major. He wins a lot of minor tournaments (20 under par, what I call pitch and putt) but has never won a major. And he would undoubtedly swap it all to win any one of the 4 majors just once. Same applies to Andy Murray, he can beat them all over 3 sets but has never won a Grand Slam. At least both have got 4 chances per season to achieve their ultimate goal. Snooker players did have 2, now reduced to just 1.
So you will never convince me it was the right decision whatever spin is put on it about increased ticket sales etc. Unfortunately BH is not right this time.

Betty Logan said...

I think Barry will put this into perspective; sure, he doesn't like being bad-mouthed but the spat has raised the profile of the tournament, and especially the final. I don't see how they can do Allen for bringing the game into disrepute now.

I'm looking forward to the final, it should be exciting at the very least. I think Allen is actually the better player, but of course Trump has won a ranker and reached a major final before. Trump has been beatable all through, and I think he's winning because he intimidates his opponents; I've never seen Robertson look so uncomfortable in a match and he was the better player as the stats showed, but I don't think Allen is the sort of guy who will be intimidated by Judd.

Anonymous said...

Betty,allen the better player? Think you need a lie down!

Gerard said...

Robertson was the better player, except for the frames ofcourse. I agree he seemed to act strangely and might have been intimidated. Great semi, with the feel of a final. That match was a peek into the future, with many Robbo-Trump (semi-)finals to come.

Anonymous said...

Ermmmm betty you said in the battle of the lefties blog

"Allen does realise that with each win his fine is going up, doesn't he?"

Now your saying "I don't see how they can do Allen for bringing the game into disrepute now."

Betty Logan said...

Trump isn't a fantastic player really, his tremendous potting masks his deficiencies as a player. Robertson was terrible the other evening, and yet his stats were equal or higher than Judd's in every department. I think Allen is a superior player in every way to Judd, except in long-potting. If they go in he'll probably win, if they don't then he's there for the taking.

Betty Logan said...

Obviously the more he wins the more they will fine him—that's always the case with disciplinary fines—but being as it may I don't think they should do him now; he added a bit of sparkle to the tournament. I think the WSA should just let it go now, it would be mean-spirited after the monumental effort he put into the evening.

Anonymous said...

rubbish betsy!!