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Mark Allen's season a 'waste' as world title bid crumbles

By Luke Baker

Published 26/04/2016

Joy and pain: Kyren Wilson shows his delight as defeated Mark Allen makes his exit at the Crucible
Joy and pain: Kyren Wilson shows his delight as defeated Mark Allen makes his exit at the Crucible

Mark Allen wasn't too far away from pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in Betfred World Championship history but dubbed his season "a waste" after crashing out of the tournament yesterday afternoon.

The Antrim cueman trailed Kyren Wilson 11-5 overnight but had a chance to complete one of the all-time great turnarounds at Sheffield's iconic Crucible Theatre when he reeled off the first four frames in their best-of-25, second-round encounter.

Yet the mid-session interval worked wonders for Wilson as he assuredly clinched the two frames he needed to get over the line 13-9 and set up a mouth-watering quarter-final with World No.1 Mark Selby.

In truth, the damage had been done when Allen found himself 7-0 down on Sunday morning and although he managed to close to 7-5, he could never quite get back on terms.

The Northern Irishman claims he never lost belief but after his quest for a maiden World title ended early once again, he was in no mood to try and take positives. "I set my season out to win the World Championship and I haven't done that so it's a waste of a year really," said Allen, who has only reached the semi-finals at the Crucible on one occasion.

"The comeback probably looked on a couple of times. At 7-5 and 11-9 I had two chances then to push on. But at both of those stages, Kyren found a bit of form. I hoped under pressure he'd start missing a few long ones but it didn't happen.

"It's probably true what they say, you can't win it in the first session but you can lose it, and that's where I lost that match.

"Kyren thoroughly outplayed me, he deserved his 7-1 lead and played superb snooker.

"It wasn't massively high scoring but he didn't put a foot wrong in that session and I was sort of glad to get a frame on the board.

"I've got the mindset that if someone can do that to me, I can do that to them. It worked for periods of the match but I couldn't get close enough to put him under pressure."

At 11-5 down heading into the start of yesterday's play, Allen essentially had nothing to lose and he played like a man free of pressure as he smashed in breaks of 86, 103 and 64 en route to making the score 11-9.

The 30-year-old started to sense that something special could be happening but Wilson took a hard-fought 21st frame before a 71 break in the next saw him finish the job.

Allen believes that if his opponent's incredible long potting holds up he will be tough to stop in Sheffield this week but after once again failing to do himself justice on snooker's grandest stage, the World No.7 was frustrated.

"I got close enough but it's very disappointing to lose," added Allen. "Looking back people will say 'you did well to get back into it' but I'm sitting here as a second-round loser once again and that's a disappointment.

"I've always been a fighter so I wasn't going to give up. I try and pass on a bit of wisdom to my stepson Robbie, I always say to him when he's getting beat that you can win the next frame.

"But Kyren is in a good place, his long potting is probably as good as I've ever seen.

"He's riding the crest of a wave and he's going to be a hard one to stop. I put him under a lot of pressure and he handled everything - that's the sign of a top player."

Watch the World Championship LIVE on Eurosport, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

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