Mark Allen will have to wait a little longer for his first major victory after going down 10-8 to Judd Trump in last night’s thrilling UK Championship final in York.
THRILLING FIGHTBACK BY ULSTER ACE BUT TRUMP TAKES UK TITLEAll mine: Judd Trump savours the moment after winning the UK title by beating Mark Allen 10-8 MARK Allen will have to wait a little longer for his first major victory after going down 10-8 to Judd Trump in last night’s thrilling UK Championship final in York.
But the Ulsterman (below) was generous in his praise of his 22-year-old opponent.
“Obviously I’m disappointed to lose but I came up against a player on top of his game. Judd’s a very worthy champion,” he said.
Trump responded: “It's a brilliant feeling and it's been a brilliant week. It was a good job I had a good lead at the end.
“It's the best that anyone has played against me, and I was hoping he would miss but I had to force him into mistakes.”
Allen showed his class with a superb break of 141 in the third frame but he trailed 5-3 after the first session against the sport’s next big thing.
The Bristol potter then took the first three frames of the evening session to make it 8-3 and really pile the pressure on Allen.
But he rallied and won the next two frames with excellent breaks of 139 and 133.
Trump then moved to within one frame of the title but Allen took the next three to make it |9-8 before the Englishman edged to victory.
Allen picked up £46,000 for finishing runner-up, while Trump is £100,000 better off.
Allen, who has battled depression for the past year, lost six major semi-finals before Saturday’s 9-7 win over Ricky Walden thrust the 25-year-old into his first big final.
He has experienced the winning feeling as a professional, clinching the Wuxi Classic in China in 2009.
But success in the big events had always evaded him.
Victory for Allen last night would have been the biggest snooker success for an Ulsterman since Dennis Taylor’s epic triumph against Steve Davis in the 1985 World Championship final.
The challenge now for Allen is to use this latest experience as a launching pad to major successes — particularly the world title.
Allen will fancy his chances in the Masters next month and, given his criticism of shorter matches, should really come into his own when the World Championship starts in April with matches being a minimum of best of 19 frames.
Meanwhile, Allen has been offered an olive branch by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.
On Monday Allen called for Hearn to hand over responsibility for the running of the game, criticised the revamped format of the UK Championship and found himself facing the possibility of legal action from the veteran sports promoter who took offence at the personal nature of the remarks.
Hearn would rather he and Allen resolve their differences amicably as opposed to letting a rift widen, and hopes the pair can meet later this month.
The sport's off-table driving force has transformed the snooker calendar in the space of two years, introducing a host of new tournaments and sending annual prize-money soaring from £3.5m to above £6m.
Allen strongly criticised the move to bring early-round matches at the UK Championship down from best of 17 frames to best of 11, claiming Hearn reneged on an earlier promise, and has since ironically gone through the draw to reach the first major final of his career.
The tone of Hearn's latest remarks indicates he will stand by the steps he has implemented to revive snooker and bring in a new young audience, warning of financial disaster if the sport goes stale.
Hearn, who is on holiday in Mauritius, said: “I see that Mark Allen's quite happy to have a meeting and I'm delighted to sit down.
“I wish we'd had it before if he felt so strongly. I'm surprised he kept it to himself,” he said.
“But the (World Snooker) AGM is on December 19 and I trust Mark Allen will come there and I'll be very happy to sit down with him, either collectively or privately, and explain our strategy going forward and hear his comments, because he made derogatory comments about me which I take personally but at the same time he didn't make any constructive points.
“He didn't have any idea of where the game was going,” Hearn added.
“He actually admitted that what we're doing might be good for snooker in the long run but not in the short term.
“I called these ‘silly comments' and they are, because he's not proposing anything, and if we stop listening to our customers, if we stop listening to the people who inject the funds into the game that have given us this vibrant economy in such difficult days, if we stop doing that we're out of business.”