Mark Allen beaten by record-breaking Ronnie O'Sullivan in UK Championship final
Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-6 Mark Allen
Mark Allen has been beaten by Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Betway UK Championship final on a record-breaking night at the Barbican.
O'Sullivan has now beaten Stephen Hendry's all-time major record of 18 titles and Steve Davis' tally of six UK crowns after his 10-6 success.
Allen had been looking to add his second Triple Crown title to the Dafabet Masters crown he won earlier this year.
The Antrim man had dubbed O'Sullivan the 'greatest ever' before the final and after this record-breaking win, it's a title that few could contest.
After the afternoon session, Allen trailed O'Sullivan 6-2 and that gap opened to 9-4 before Allen rallied to come within three-frames. That only set the stage for O'Sullivan to close out the winning frame with a 78 break to secure history.
"It's a part of history I didn't really want, to be honest. He's something special. Hopefully he p*sses away off to this breakaway tour," Allen laughed. "I love playing Ronnie. It's the ultimate examination of your game. I was just slightly out and I got beaten 10-6.
"I'm doing things right but I still feel I have a lot of improving to do."
Amid his celebrations, Ronnie took time to tip Allen for bigger things ahead.
"History's amazing and I can't believe it but just to be involved in a final against Mark - he's an unbelievable player and competitor," he said. "If (Mark) doesn't win the world title, I'll be so surprised because it's not just about talent. It's about bottle and courage. He's got that in abundance."
Golf has Jack Nicklaus' 18 major titles, tennis has Roger Federer's 20 and now snooker has O'Sullivan in the middle on 19.
"They've got four majors (per year) and I've only got three to go at so my strike average is better," the champion smiled to applause from an adoring crowd.
Allen had led twice as the pair shared the opening four frames of the match but O'Sullivan soon gained the upper hand, winning five frames in a row to close the afternoon session at 6-2 ahead.
O'Sullivan returned for the evening session and extended his winning run to six consecutive frames to move within three of victory.
But just when it seemed there was a danger of the match concluding with a half-session to spare, Allen rallied to end his opponent's run and reduce the deficit to 7-3.
And a remarkable three-ball plant in the next frame set Allen up for his first century break of the match, a 105 taking him within three frames of O'Sullivan at 7-4.
Unfortunately for Allen, Ronnie won the final frame before the break and returned from the mid-session interval to draw within a frame of victory. It was a tight frame with Allen totting up a 58 point lead before Ronnie finally got to the table, clearing out a superb break of 58 to clear the table and edge the frame 63-58.
There was almost a remarkable twist as Allen made a superb attempt at a 147, potting nine reds and nine blacks on a break of 72 before missing a red to the centre.
It was enough to win the frame and he added a second in a row to take the scores to 9-6 before Ronnie cleared up the title-winning frame with apparent ease. The work of the 'greatest ever'.
Here's the match as it happened:
Belfast Telegraph Digital