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Why Mark Allen is hoping for snow after his first round win at the Welsh Open

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Mark Allen

Mark Allen

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Mark Allen

Mark Allen says he is hoping for snow after his first round win at the ManBetX Welsh Open in Cardiff.

The Belfast potter eased past world No.59 Andrew Higginson 4-1 under the Motorpoint Arena lights, going behind but compiling classy breaks of 114, 76, 64 and 57 to line up a second round date with either Jimmy White or James Wattana on Wednesday.

And after extending his stay in a city he enjoys, he says he doesn’t mind the weather taking a turn for the worse if that means he can remain in the Welsh capital for even longer.

“I’m praying the snow comes in this week just so we can get trapped here for a few days!” the world No.7 said.

“That’s what happened a couple of years ago and it turned into an eventful few days with a few drinks.

“I don’t like the travelling side of snooker but I love Cardiff as a city - the people are really friendly and I love the Welsh accent.

“The location is also really good - you’re right in the centre of it all so you’ve got all the bars, restaurants and shopping malls and stuff like that, so everything is right on your doorstep.”

The 33-year-old has struggled for consistency on the circuit this season, reaching the semi-finals at the Betway UK Championship and 19.com Scottish Open but succumbing to premature defeats at the Dafabet Masters and Coral World Grand Prix.

He enjoyed successful runs at the 19.com English Open and International Championship however,  as he continued his pursuit of a first ranking event title since the 19.com Scottish Open in Glasgow in 2018.

And while he showed glimpses of his majestic best in Cardiff on Tuesday morning, he says he is not getting ahead of himself just yet.

“I’ve been struggling for a bit of form lately, and the first frame and a half was really poor but I played really well after that, so I’m really happy,” he added.

“I’ve been getting away with my struggles for most of the season to be honest - I don’t feel like I’ve played my best game all season but I’ve been winning a lot of matches.

“I’ve been practicing really hard and working on the right things, but I can’t really seem to transfer that into good performances.

“I’m not getting too far ahead of myself this week, and the way I’ve been playing over the last few months I’m just happy to get a win under my belt.”

Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds

Belfast Telegraph