Dafabet Masters snooker 2018: Mark Allen beats Kyren Wilson in final

Last Updated January 21 2018, 22:47Snooker
Mark Allen with the Masters trophy
Mark Allen with the Masters trophy

Mark Allen claimed his first Masters title with a 10-7 victory over Kyren Wilson at Alexandra Palace.

The 31-year-old becomes the first Northern Irishman to win the tournament since Dennis Taylor in 1987.

Kettering-born Wilson, who like Allen was appearing in his first Masters final, led 4-3 in the afternoon session but failed to turn a promising start into victory.

Allen is available at 22/1 with Sky Bet to go on and now land his first World Championship title this year.

Wilson can be backed at 28/1 to land snooker's biggest prize.

Allen told BBC Two: "It's surreal, it's been a long time coming.

"I felt calm all week, apart from the first session today, but I felt as the match went on I got stronger. I'm very, very pleased to be on the right end of it for a change.

"What a competitor Kyren Wilson is. It's not a nice feeling, but how far has he come in these last few years?"

A tearful Wilson said: "I've had an incredible week, if anyone was going to beat me I'd have loved it to have been Mark. He deserves it."

It was 40 years since the great Alex Higgins won his first Masters title and Northern Irishman Allen - who beat former champions Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins en route to the last two - followed in the footsteps of his countryman following a marathon match lasting five hours and 14 minutes.

It was arguably the biggest contest in the careers of both men and the nerves showed across two edgy and even sessions.

Wilson, the first player born in the 1990s to appear in a triple crown final, had never won a match at the invitational tournament before this year and he threatened to complete a remarkable story before falling agonisingly short.

The opening three frames of the day followed a similar pattern with both players having chances among the balls and both making mistakes.

A 65 from Wilson gave him an early advantage before Allen, who ensured there would be a new name on the trophy by defeating two-time champion Higgins in Saturday's second semi-final, quickly levelled courtesy of a knock of 62.

Following a change of an ill-fitting waistcoat, Kettering-born Wilson stole the third after Allen had made the early running.

Allen then edged a mistake-littered fourth frame of more than 45 minutes which was briefly interrupted by a wasp on the baize and a phone in the audience.

The ringing mobile went off three times before the hapless spectator was escorted from the arena but Wilson, who was forced to get up off his shot each time, showed no ill-will and asked for the man to be let back in.

Allen took the next frame to lead for the first time in the match at 3-2 but it was proving difficult to separate the duo.

Wilson responded superbly with successive breaks of 86 and 89, however, Allen's narrow success in the final frame of the afternoon effectively reduced it to a best of 11 match heading into the evening session.

The keenly-fought contest continued from the restart.

Allen, twice a semi-finalist in this tournament, took almost 40 minutes to secure the ninth frame and then, following a re-rack, Wilson hit back with a finely-crafted break of 84.

A 73 from Allen followed by a sensational 119 - the first century of the match - and another 50 finally gave the 31-year-old daylight at 8-5 as Wilson began to make too many mistakes.

The 26-year-old - who had produced an epic comeback in his last-four victory over Judd Trump - was not done here and he reduced the deficit back to a single frame before his efforts proved to be in vain as Allen clinched the two frames required before celebrating with a fist pump.

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