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Not so sweet 16 as defeated Allen and Swail leave the table

By Luke Baker

Published 14/10/2016

Early exit: Mark Allen was knocked out of the English Open in Manchester yesterday
Early exit: Mark Allen was knocked out of the English Open in Manchester yesterday

Mark Allen is convinced that hard work is the only cure for his ills after suffering a shock defeat to a 16-year-old at the English Open yesterday.

And he is particularly keen to find his form with the £366,000 Northern Ireland Open starting at the Titanic Centre on November 14, followed by the UK Championship in York.

Allen had looked in good form at EventCity, Manchester this week but lost 4-3 to Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao in the last 32. Yan has been tipped for big things in the game but Allen was still a heavy favourite for the clash.

The Antrim potter looked all set for the fourth round as breaks of 75, 79 and 72 moved him within a frame of victory but his opponent's composed knocks of 92 and 56 saw him overcome a 3-2 deficit.

The defeat is the latest disappointment in something of a frustrating season for the world No.8, as he has failed to go beyond the last 16 of any event this year.

Allen has now lost all three deciding frames he has contested this campaign and admits he could really do with a change in fortune.

"I swear I'll win a decider some time," Allen joked after the match.

"People are continually playing well against me but I'm just not getting the rub of the green at the minute.

"I know it'll turn if I keep working hard," he added.

Allen wasn't the only Ulsterman to suffer defeat in the last 32 yesterday as Belfast's Joe Swail went down 4-2 to Tom Ford.

It has been a positive week for Swail, who came in with low expectations after having laser eye surgery just last Thursday.

The 47-year-old believes his eyes will take around five or six weeks to truly settle but his performances in Manchester suggest he may be ahead of schedule.

The veteran beat Itaro Santos 4-1 in round one and James Cahill 4-1 in round two but found the world No.36 a step too far.

Swail was pleased with his performance at the English Open and is hopeful of continual improvement over the next few weeks.

"I felt good out there," said the world No.57. "I played better than I did during the first couple of games but it's a matter of fine-tuning everything.

"I'm still not quite there yet with my eyes and that caught me out a few times. Against a top player like Tom, he's always going to punish your mistakes.

"I had every chance to nick it but I just missed a couple of tricky balls and that cost me dearly.

"I was just coming here to enjoy the tournament, because I have been really struggling, and it was a nice little run, a nice few quid and hopefully I can kick on from there."

Swail will now spend a little time away from the baize but with the Northern Ireland Open and the UK Championship coming up, he knows his targets.

"The main thing is getting ready for the Northern Ireland Open and the UK Championship," added Swail.

"I'm going to take a week off now and let my eyes settle because I'm straining them, which doesn't help. I'm finding myself getting a lot of headaches, so a week or two off now and then I'll get back into it."

Watch the English Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O'Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.

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