Mark Allen will not be forgetting 2018 in a hurry, that’s for sure.
The Northern Ireland star began the year by winning the Masters for the first time in January before lifting the International Championship crown in China in November.
And not only did he reach the UK Championship final a week ago, but now he has lifted his third major trophy within twelve months by winning the Scottish Open to cap off a memorable year.
Allen beat Shaun Murphy 9-7 in an entertaining final at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena earlier tonight (Sunday, December 16).
The victory means Allen also takes home a cheque for £70,000 and will go into the Masters next month full of confidence as he bids to defend his title in the first major snooker event of 2019.
In a remarkable year, Allen has won more than £650,000 in prize money.
Allen looked set for a comfortable passage to glory tonight when he lead close friend Murphy 6-3 after winning the opening frame of the evening session.
But a brilliant fightback from Murphy saw the Englishman win three frames on the bounce without Allen potting a single ball.
And Allen fell behind when a stunning final red ball miss to the middle pocket was punished by Murphy who became just two frames away from winning his first ranking event in almost two years.
But Allen’s fightback was of real quality.
A break of 66 levelled the contest at 7-7 and stopped Murphy winning a fifth frame on the bounce and going further ahead.
A superb break of 134 then put Allen back in control and on the verge of the winning line before a bad miscue from Murphy ended a break of 29 and allowed Allen the chance to finish the match off.
The world number six had a big stroke of luck when he fluked the pink after missing it to the middle – but given the year he has had, many will argue he deserved it.
The year 2018 ended how it started with Mark Allen showing the snooker world he is the real deal.
His next challenges to come will be defending the Masters title – not an easy task judging by the history books – and of course the big one – can he win the World Championship for the first time?
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