T’S 25 years since the most famous snooker match of all time — but Mark Allen is thinking about a different anniversary.
In 1985 Allen’s fellow Ulsterman Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis 18-17 on the black ball in the World Championship final.
But Allen starts his second round match against Mark Davis at the Crucible today exactly one year on from his own greatest moment in the game — a 13-11 victory over then defending world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The Antrim cueman then defeated Ryan Day 13-11 in the quarter-finals before going down 17-13 to eventual champion John Higgins in the semi-finals despite a brave fightback after being 13-3 down.
“Obviously I have good memories of last year at the Crucible,” said Allen.
“Beating Ronnie O’Sullivan was the biggest scalp of my career so far. He is the best player out there.
“When he is in the right frame of mind he is the man to beat.
“That’s why beating Ronnie in Sheffield was such a good result for me — he was desperate to win and not too many people beat him when he’s like that. That’s the best win I’ve had.
“Ronnie played alright and I completely outplayed him in the last session which was very good for my confidence.
“I've had wins against other top players but not over the longer distance or at the Crucible.”
Allen continued: “I really enjoyed myself at the Crucible last season.
“The only disappointment was how I started the semi-final against John Higgins — I never really gave myself a chance to win it.
“I was 13-3 down after two sessions against John and I won 10 of the next 13 frames to get back in the match.
“Not too many people do that against John.
“I can take the positives from how I got back in the match.
“I showed I wouldn’t lie down even though I was so far behind and I have to remember that for this year’s tournament.
“The way I fought back against John gave me a lot of confidence — I took a lot of positives out of the tournament as a whole.”
Allen, who earlier this week beat Leicester’s Tom Ford 10-4 in the first round, now takes on Sussex potter Davis — 10-8 winner yesterday against Ryan Day —
over the best of 25 frames for a place in the last eight of the £1.1 million tournament.
“Mark Davis is having a very good season, he’s full of confidence and has nothing to lose. It’s a tricky one,” admitted Allen, who earlier this month reached the semi-finals of the China Open in Beijing.
“But I don't fear anyone. I just need to perform more consistently over the next few rounds and I have every chance of winning the tournament.
“I want to win the world title as soon as possible because the longer you go on without winning it, the more it will begin to play on your mind.”
Meanwhile, Kent-based Northern Ireland international Gerard Greene has it all to do after trailing 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy 8-1 after last night’s opening session.
Greene took the opening frame but could only watch and admire as Murphy romped into the lead with a 108 break in the fifth frame, the highlight.
The eventual winner will face Ding Junhui who yesterday completed a comfortable 10-1 success against Stuart Pettman.
Dubliner Fergal O’Brien yesterday lost 10-5 to Australia’s Neil Robertson, who tackles Martin Gould in round two.
Graeme Dott completed a 10-5 victory against Peter Ebdon in a repeat of the 2006 final.
Dott beat Ebdon to the title four years ago and outscrapped the same opponent last night to set up a meeting with Stephen Maguire or Stephen Lee, with Maguire 6-3 up after yesterday’s opening session.