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I was so wrong about Stuart Bingham bottle, says snooker player Mark Allen

By Frank Brownlow

Mark Allen has held his hands up and admitted he was wrong about new world champion Stuart Bingham's 'bottle'.

The Ulsterman made the remark at the Australian Open almost four years ago, starting a feud between the players that his since been resolved.

Bingham, after winning the title at the Crucible on Monday night, said Allen's jibe had inspired him to World Championship success.

Bingham underlined, though, that he meant this in the most positive sense.

Allen, who reached the last 16 at the Crucible, admitted: "I said Stuart Bingham had no bottle four years ago. I was wrong."

Allen added that Bingham had produced a superb performance under the most intense pressure and is a worthy world champion.

Bingham had moved quickly to clarify his remark.

"It was meant in jest -not in the way is has come across," Bingham said.

Allen made the initial comment about the Englishman's 'bottle' at the Australian Open almost four years ago, starting a feud between the players that his since been resolved.

Bingham, 38, became the oldest world champion since 45-year-old Ray Reardon in 1978 by beating Shaun Murphy 18-15 in Sheffield on Monday night.

Bingham said after his triumph: "Thanks to Mark Allen. He said I had no bottle and since then things have changed."

Allen made the claim prior to their 2011 Australian Open quarter-final, which Bingham won.

He went on to win the tournament in Australia that year, his first ranking event victory, before triumphing at the Shanghai Masters earlier this season.

Bingham responded by labelling Allen "an idiot", later adding that "the rivalry is not going to disappear".

Bingham went on to say: "I've seen him at tournaments but not spoken to him. Neither of us are going to say hello to each other. Until the next time I play him, I'll keep away from him.

"It's just one of those things that is unlikely to go away. After I lost in the quarter-finals of the PTC event in Killarney, someone on Twitter wrote 'no bottle'. So it looks like people aren't going to forget about it either.

"He did me a favour before our match in Australia because I forgot about the fact that I was playing for my first semi-final, I was just focused on beating him.

"I felt good about it after the match, but then after I beat Shaun Murphy to get to the final (against Mark Williams), I broke down and all the emotion came out."

Bingham produced a series of stunning displays in Sheffield over the past fortnight, tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan among his victims.

Bingham has been a professional for close on two decades and collected £300,000 for landing his first world title.

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