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Mark Allen takes it to the max with first 147 break

By Luke Baker

Mark Allen was ecstatic to finally get a particularly frustrating monkey off his back as he made his first professional 147 maximum break at the Betway UK Championship in York.

In 11 years as a professional, Allen has been renowned for heavy scoring but a magical maximum had always evaded him until frame seven of his 6-4 second-round win over Rod Lawler at the York Barbican yesterday.

The Antrim potter had previously made two 146s and celebrated going one better, which will earn him £10,000 providing no other player makes a 147 in York this week, with a double fist pump.

And the 30-year-old admits he had to fight back the nerves to tick another item off his snooker bucket list.

"It's big - I'm one of the few top players who hadn't made a 147 up until now," explained Allen. "It's nice to get that monkey off my back.

"Getting that 147 and the sense of achievement is more important than the money I get for it.

"I was very nervous the whole way through the break. The balls were sitting so nicely and once I split the reds on 17, they were all there.

"It puts you under pressure because they are all sitting there and you're expected to make it.

"I've probably made hundreds in practice but I would swap them all for one in a tournament and I have finally done it.

"When you turn pro, if you had a checklist it would be to win events, make your first century on TV, make a 147 and go on to win the World Championship or be World No.1.

"I'm halfway through that checklist already."

Allen became the second man from Northern Ireland to make a 147 after Jason Prince did it at the 1999 British Open qualifiers.

Some of the country's finest snooker players, including Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and Joe Swail, never achieved the feat but the World No.10 claims that isn't as surprising as it sounds.

"In Dennis and Alex's era there wasn't anywhere near as many 147s and the standard wasn't as good as it is today," added Allen.

"I'm a bit surprised Joe never made one as he's been a pro a long time and scores heavily but they are not easy to come by."

Ronnie O'Sullivan scored his second consecutive 6-0 victory, beating Rhys Clark to reach the last 32.

The Rocket needed 56 minutes to win his opening round tie with Boonyarit Keattikun last week and this time he needed 17 minutes more to finish off his victim.

Breaks of 112, 79, 82, 81 and 131 helped five-time UK champion O'Sullivan sail into round three, where he will face Michael Georgiou.

Ding Junhui came from 2-1 down to beat Ross Muir 6-2. He said: "I had the feeling I controlled the match and also I had really good luck."

China's Mei Xiwen saw off Martin Gould 6-3 while up and coming Yan Bingtao won a Chinese derby against Liang Wenbo on a 6-4 scoreline

Follow the UK Championship live on Eurosport with Colin Murray, Jimmy White, Neal Foulds and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

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