Mark Allen pockets £70k Scottish Open title with a 'nice fluke'
Mark Allen held off a Shaun Murphy recovery to win the final three frames and claim a 9-7 victory in the BetVictor Scottish Open final in Glasgow.
Allen produced breaks of 66 and 134 to move 8-7 clear from 7-6 behind before a massive fluke on the pink helped the Masters champion produce the winning thrust in the penultimate frame of an absorbing contest at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
He missed the pink to a middle bag, but looked sheepish as it flew into a baulk pocket.
- 'Hungover' Mark Allen produces stunning comeback after interval drinks to book place in Scottish Open final
Not that he was hanging around as he cleared to the pink to pocket the £70,000 winner's prize and take home the Stephen Hendry trophy.
"I finished the match well, albeit with a nice fluke," he smiled. "I got in the upper hand with the safety, created a good opportunity to win the match and twitched the pink in the middle. That was the match ball in my head because I knew I would pot the red after it. (I'm) absolutely blessed to see it go in the green pocket.
"I've been on the wrong end of that luck so it's nice to get it when it really counts. It's not nice though, especially with it being against one of my best mates. It's not the way I wanted to win."
For the Antrim man his fifth ranking event title was a sweet success, coming a week after losing the UK Championship final 10-6 to Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Speaking afterwards, Allen said he had even bigger prizes in his sights.
"I know I've got the game (to win the World Championship)," said Allen. "I feel great. Every time I go to the table now I'm feeling confident."
The winner's cheque cements Allen's place at the top of the one-year money list.
The 32-year-old has now earned £353,000 in ranking competition so far this season.
He held his nerve in the final having criticised his own behaviour and approach to the tournament previously.
Allen admitted to having had a couple of drinks during the interval of his semi-final victory over Daniel Wells.
In the semi-final he fought back from 4-0 and 5-2 down to claim a 6-5 win over Wells, before saying "I don't deserve to be in the final".
The world number six added that he had "disrespected" the world ranking event.
"I don't deserve to be in the final the way I've treated the tournament this week," he admitted.
"I had a couple of drinks at the interval and felt a bit better after it because I was really struggling out there,'
"Last night was the earliest I've been to bed and the least I've drunk any night (this week). I expected to feel good today but I felt terrible.
"That's what I was expecting early in the week because when I came here, I said I was going to enjoy myself.
"I've managed to scrape through a few matches. I was all over the place. I'm embarrassed to say I was hungover and stuff."
But Allen was on form last night and a break of 134, the highest of the match, in the 15th frame left him just one frame away from victory.
Allen had suggested on Saturday he was unlikely to have an early night before the final against Murphy, who defeated Judd Trump 6-3 in the second semi-final. "I could stay in tonight and go to bed early and feel horrendous tomorrow," said Allen.
"I would deserve to feel that way for the disrespect I've showed to the tournament all week. So I may as well go out and have a good time."
Resuming 5-3 clear from the afternoon session, Allen won the ninth frame to move three clear at 6-3 before he was forced to sit and suffer as he failed to pot a ball in the next three frames with a dominant Murphy, a former world champion, hitting 50 and 115 on his way to edging one ahead.
He seemed set to forced a final-frame decider in the 16th frame, but a miscue on the black leading 29-0 was pivotal in allowing Allen to return to the table for his decisive contributions.
"As the match went on, I got stronger," added Allen.
"At 7-6 down I produced some good snooker. Shaun will probably rue a few missed chances, as his long game was ridiculously good today.
"He created a lot of good opportunities which he didn't quite convert into frame winning chances.
"I was playing with my little girl (Harleigh) in the mid-session interval. I just kept her occupied for 15 minutes.
"I miss her a lot and she obviously misses me a lot seeing her reaction when I came in. It actually completely relaxed me."