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Former champion Allen is dumped out of Masters at first hurdle with heavy defeat

Horror show: Mark Allen fails to get going at Ally Pally
Horror show: Mark Allen fails to get going at Ally Pally

Mark Allen became the latest victim of the Ally Pally curse after crashing out of The Masters at the hands of David Gilbert.

Allen won the prestigious tournament just two years ago but was unceremoniously dumped out of the competition 6-1 by debutant Gilbert.

The Englishman was good value for the win with Allen’s demise continuing a trend, with the favourites for all four matches played so far losing.

The Antrim potter had no answer to the efforts to his opponent in London, not even winning a frame before the mid-session interval last night.

The Masters victory in 2018 was the first Allen secured in a Triple Crown event but there were to be no happy memories this time around, despite getting on the board in the fifth frame.

That was to be as good as it got as Gilbert won the last two frames to close out the contest.

Gilbert has broken through to be one of the top players in the world this past 18 months.

His swift start was no surprise, with breaks of 77 and 121 seeing him race into a 2-0 lead.

The third frame proved arguably the most pivotal, both players making breaks of 50 before Gilbert produced a gutsy clearance and pinched it on the final black.

Soon, his three-frame lead became four.

Winning the fifth frame kept Ulsterman Allen alive, bidding to avoid a repeat of his first-round exit 12 months ago.

But his bid to put a run together proved fruitless, another classy break of 95 from Gilbert taking the World No.11 to within one frame of the finishing line.

The seventh frame was an unsurprisingly edgy affair and one untimely mistake proved to be Allen’s final shot of the night.

Earlier, Stephen Maguire produced a thrilling comeback from 5-1 down to shock Neil Robertson and prevail 6-5.

Belfast Telegraph

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