ALLEN CROWNED CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS
Mark Allen defeated Neil Robertson 10-6 to win his first 888sport Champion of Champions title at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes on Sunday night, live on ITV4.
Having already knocked out World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and world number one Judd Trump, Allen’s task in the final was to overhaul defending champion Robertson in what was a re-run of the 2015 conclusion of this event.
Allen’s last tournament win was almost two years ago at the Scottish Open, but he ended that drought in style, collecting the £150,000 top prize with a confident victory over Robertson at the end of a week of the highest-quality snooker.
“Beating the world number one, two and three in succession to win a big tournament like this, it’s what we play for,” said Allen. “A few splits here and there and that could have been a lot closer, because Neil didn’t look like missing when he was in.
“My safety was pretty good all day and I feel like I played pretty well. Guys like Neil, Ronnie, Judd and Selby, they make winning look easy and it’s not. I work really, really hard on the practice table and if I can pick up a tournament or two every season or every other season, I feel like I am doing well because the standard is that good.
“I could have been beaten first round against Scott Donaldson, I was a few balls away from losing that match 4-2. I did what Stephen Maguire did at the Tour Championship; I didn’t feel I deserved to be here but I took full advantage by going on to win.
“My dad will definitely be watching. I don’t think he has stopped smiling since I won the Masters so this is like a new smile for him. He’s a very proud father and I’m a very proud son, so this is for him but it’s also for a lot of people who support me along the way.”
Robertson commented: “His safety play was very solid throughout the whole match. My safety against Selby in the semis was fantastic and today it wasn’t anywhere near those levels unfortunately. My scoring was very good throughout the match but I could have done better with some of my safeties and Mark capitalised and he thoroughly deserved to win the match. He played a brilliant match throughout and he has beaten some great players on the way to winning it, like I did last year.”
Allen had laid down a marker in the very first frame, firing in a 102. Robertson was equal to it though and responded with a 121 to level. Allen opened up a 3-1 lead by the interval of the afternoon session and the first two frames after the break were shared, leaving Allen 4-2 ahead.
Robertson hit back strongly, though, with century breaks of 108 and 109 to draw level. The ninth and final frame of the first session went the way of the Northern Irishman, who made a 67 to take a slender lead into the evening.
Allen again opened up a two-frame lead early in the concluding session, but the Northern Irishman missed a yellow to allow Robertson in and when it had looked like Allen would take a three-frame lead into the mid-session, he instead saw his lead reduced to 7-6.
However, a 119 in the next re-established Allen’s cushion and he was now as close to the title as he was ahead of his opponent. He moved to within one of the title in the next frame and completed the victory with a 105 in the 16th frame.