Richard Mann blogged live from the UK Championship final where Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Mark Allen - recap the action frame by frame.
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Result: O'Sullivan 10-6 Allen
Thanks for joining me today, I hope you enjoyed the coverage as much as I enjoyed writing it and I hope readers of the Antepost Angle column managed to snap up some of the 4/1 about O'Sullivan when advised a couple of months back.
Until The Masters, goodbye!
What a finish. O'Sullivan and Allen share a warm embrace at the end of an engrossing final but The Rocket had too many guns today.
Allen didn't do a great deal wrong but he came up against an O'Sullivan, particularly this afternoon, in imperious form. At 6-2 down, there was no way back.
A record seven UK Championship titles, 19 Triple Crown wins. Ronnie O'Sullivan is, quite simply, the best.
Ronnie O'Sullivan gracious in victory: "It's amazing, I can't believe it. Mark is an unbelievable player and an unbelievable competitor and if he doesn't win a world title I'll be amazed. I played really well today and even at 9-6 I had to convince myself I'd win, that's how hard the match was. Great to create history and great to break my hero's record, Stephen Hendry."
Mark Allen all class in defeat: "To beat Steve Davis' record of UK titles, to beat Stephen Hendry's record of 19 Triple Crown events, he's [O'Sullivan] something special.
An emotional O'Sullivan showing just how much this great game means to him. What a day, what a tournament, what a winner.
Ronnie O'Sullivan, the greatest.
O'Sullivan opens up with a stonking long red. Yes, another.
Black to follow and he's up and running.
46 and counting. Can he hold himself together?
61 not out. He's almost there.
O'Sullivan looks so pumped. I actually think he might cry. You can see how much this means to him.
Ah, the split on the reds goes wrong so no century but a break of 78 is enough to get him over the line.
Ronnie O'Sullivan is the UK Championship winner for a record seventh time.
Yikes. O'Sullivan sinks another fabulous long pot. An absolute cracker that one.
He'll have to wait a little longer for victory, though, having snookered himself moments later.
Stalemate with the brown hanging over the bottom left corner pocket.
O'Sullivan finally gets in but misses a red to centre. Can Allen claw another one back?
Allen holding himself together really well here. He really ought to clinch the frame at this visit. What heart.
Oh Mark, what have you done? Allen misses with the frame almost won but O'Sullivan can't make him pay.
Allen over the line now. Is Ronnie starting to feel the heat?
It's getting tense out there and with me to be perfectly honest. Ronnie getting the job done tonight holds the key to Christmas in my house this year.
Come on Ronnie, bring home the bacon. Or turkey.
O'Sullivan misses by a foot from distance and Allen finds a red with the rest. Reds wide open.
Five reds and five blacks for Allen. He seems to have a 147 maximum break on his mind already.
I don't want to jinx this but these reds are so well placed for this.
Ah, not to be. Allen misses to middle when trying to force an angle back for the black.
Ronnie needs a snooker and he's playing for it.
Allen wrapping the frame up now. Purely academic.
A clearance of 68 from Allen and he reduces his arrears to 9-5.
We're back. O'Sullivan two away.
More cat and mouse here. Allen taps his cue on the table after another excellent O'Sullivan safety.
O'Sullivan misses from distance but Allen jabs at a much simpler red. Tension.
Now he's off. Allen strokes in a beautiful long red. He really needs to make plenty here.
Allen loses the white but finds another long red moments later. Massive chance now.
Allen gets himself out of a hole when making the potting angle on the red be swerving around another. 59 lead already.
It's all happening. Allen is forced to play safe but O'Sullivan finds a shot-to-nothing before laying a snooker behind the green.
Allen finds the escape but moments later O'Sullivan repeats the trick and finds himself in the balls and with a great chance to counter.
The final red along the cushion disappears and black to yellow is played to perfection.
Tricky green to come. It's there.
Pink and black needed.
Nerves of steel.
Black to go 9-4 up. It's there. What a clearance from O'Sullivan.
Tense stuff out there but O'Sullivan draws on all of his previous experience and nous to get out of that mini-session 2-2 and restore his four-frame advantage.
That 12th frame was a huge one and he made sure he won it. When the pressure pots came, he never shirked the challenge and duly delivered. What a champion.
O'Sullivan is now only two away.
Get that kettle on. Back in ten.
Brilliant opening red to middle from O'Sullivan with the white tight on the balk cushion.
O'Sullivan already into the 30's but plenty of work still to do.
A masterful positional shot from pink to red keeps the break going but a missed black off the spot on 46 gives Allen another reprieve. Is O'Sullivan wobbling just a little?
Allen finds a terrific long red but doesn't land on a colour.
Cat and mouse now. Massive frame, this.
A long bout of safety is broken by a red to middle from O'Sullivan and then a terrific long pink to the yellow pocket. Had he missed, the balls were wide open for an Allen counter. So brave.
Frame safe now. A puff of the cheeks from O'Sullivan. He needed that.
Allen plays a poor opening safety and O'Sullivan is up and running.
O'Sullivan misses a simple red along the rail on 30. A grimace as he walks back to his chair.
Allen pulls off a remarkable three-ball plant. Is that the spark he needs?
He's motoring along now. 36 and counting.
Allen taking these really well. Frame safe now and a possible century on the cards.
Fabulous clearance of 105 from Allen reduces his arrears to 7-4.
Huge frame coming up.
Allen looking remarkably relaxed. Chatting away to members of the audience between the frame now.
Interesting times for O'Sullivan, too. Make no mistake, he wants this seventh UK title badly and with that comes plenty of pressure.
Stop the press. O'Sullivan misses a long red.
Allen jumps at the chance and is up to 40 in a flash. Noticeably picking up the pace here.
Allen forced to play safe after making 56. He took them well, though.
O'Sullivan pushes the boat out with a difficult long red from under the balk cushion and Allen takes advantage.
Allen misses from distance. O'Sullivan doesn't.
Only 22 from O'Sullivan this time as a rolled red along the bottom cushion fails to drop. Allen with a chance to counter.
Allen breaks down on 25. Chance missed.
Plenty of safety now.
Allen blinks first and misses from distance. O'Sullivan finds himself at the table with the balls well set.
O'Sullivan not over the line just yet.
And he's misses on 37.
Now then Mark, what have you got?
Allen makes another mistake and Ronnie knocks in a fabulous red with the rest. It's rarely mentioned but he really is a superb player with the rest. Quite something given how little he needs to use it owing to his proficiency with his left hand. Staggering really.
Anyway, Ronnie seals the deal in frame nine. 7-2.
Welcome back folks!
The final session of this year's UK Championship is only minutes away now with Ronnie O'Sullivan needing four frames to lift his seventh UK title and claim his 19th Triple Crown win in all.
O'Sullivan's performance this afternoon in establishing a 6-2 lead over Mark Allen certainly befitted the occasion, a string of big breaks - including a century - made possible by some incredible long potting and miserly safety play.
Allen might wonder how he finds himself so far behind having raced into an early 2-1 lead with some typically brave and skilful snooker.
He didn't do a lot wrong until late in the afternoon when the O'Sullivan assault began to take its toll and simply, he just came up against a genius in full flight.
Still, there is still plenty of snooker to play and Allen will be hoping he can win three of the next four frames to close the gap to 7-5. Were he able to do that, who knows.
If you fancy an Allen comeback, Sky Bet are offering 10/1 about him lifting the trophy.
Even after all these years of following snooker, the final Sunday night of Triple Crown event still gets the hairs standing on the back of my neck as the excitement goes into overdrive. Even more so when O'Sullivan is featuring.
I guess that's the Ronnie factor and displays like he produced this afternoon must be enjoyed and appreciated. He wont be around forever and I intend on savouring every last moment of him.
Here's hoping for more of the same tonight.
Antepost Angle readers will also know that I'm waiting on O'Sullivan for a 4/1 winner for the column as well and with Christmas looming every nearer, the wallet could certainly do with the reinforcements.
Don't fail me Ronnie!
Right. The players are back. An electric entrance for both. It is on.
What a session of snooker. Thoroughly enjoyable for everyone bar Mark Allen you feel.
In fairness, the Northern Irishman didn't do a great deal wrong and played really well to lead 2-1 before O'Sullivan produced a fabulous exhibition of snooker to win five frames on the reel.
In truth, I can't remember O'Sullivan playing much better in recent times. He's been that good. Barring a scrappy first frame, he's was simply flawless and gave Allen little chance and little hope.
Breaks of 101, 85, 54, 66, 57 and 65 showcased his incredible scoring power but the way he manufactured those breaks, often from tricky positions, was quite something.
His long potting was simply breathtaking and when you add that to his rock-solid safety game, he's almost impossible to play against.
Still, a 6-2 deficit isn't insurmountable for Allen and he will take hope from Kyren Wilson's comeback against O'Sullivan in the Champions Of Champions final earlier in the season.
It's going to be tough but he won't stop fighting.
I'll be back at 1900 for the final act of this year's UK Championship final so please do join me then.
Bottle. Allen has spades of it and knocks in a brilliant long red and then pots the following black.
Oh Mark. Allen breaks down on 17 when missing a simple rolled red. It very nearly drops.
O'Sullivan up in a flash.
Now O'Sullivan misses and leaves Allen in. He must take this chance you feel.
But he can't. A split into the reds goes wrong and he retreats to the long grass.
It's tense here. Allen misses from distance.
O'Sullivan's long potting continues to impress. If he steals this one, he'll have one hand on the trophy you feel.
Clinical. O'Sullivan wraps up the frame with a break of 65 before closing out the frame frame with a fine safety shot.
6-2 O'Sullivan. Allen will be happy to get out of there.
Stunning long red from O'Sullivan. Again. This one played with a touch of side to swerve around the yellow. Genius.
25 and counting. Still plenty of work to do.
Things getting tricky now but O'Sullivan finds a brilliant long blue. Incredible snooker.
The break ends on 49 but O'Sullivan finds a good safety. He'll want to close this frame out.
O'Sullivan in a spot of bother here and has already conceded 11 in fouls. This frame is huge and both players know it.
Allen feeling the heat now. Misses a tricky pink to middle and surely O'Sullivan will extend his lead further.
And he does despite missing a red from short-range. Allen contemplates playing for snookers but decides against it.
This final frame of the session is a must-win for Allen you feel.
O'Sullivan finally misses from distance but Allen loses the white when potting a red from short-range and is forced to retreat to the balk line.
Average frame time 12 minutes so far. He is nicknamed The Rocket I suppose.
Red and blue for O'Sullivan but with the black tied up, he can't get the break going.
Allen flukes a red and lays a good snooker.
Allen lays another good snooker but O'Sullivan responds with a brilliant escape.
Scrappy stuff with the reds all clustered together. Both players trying to lay a snooker behind the inviting yellow hanging near the yellow pocket. Key frame, this.
O'Sullivan sinks another terrific long red. What can he produce?
A break of 57 is the answer. He took them really well and moves two frames clear at 4-2.
Allen needs to respond quickly before O'Sullivan starts to move through the gears.
We're back and normal service is resumed with O'Sullivan's break-off. Allen slots in the long red but can't hold for the black.
Re-rack. Both players miss attempted pots to the yellow pocket and after one roll into the pack from Allen, a re-rack is agreed.
On we go...
Another poor break-off from O'Sullivan and Allen makes no mistake with the long red.
Allen misses a black off the spot on 15 and O'Sullivan sinks a tricky red with the rest.
More hard work for O'Sullivan but he's up to 46.
A break of 54 not enough for O'Sullivan to seal the frame after he loses the white but a stunning long red moments later puts him back in prime position to take the lead for the first time in the match.
Breaks of 54 and 66 put O'Sullivan in front at 3-2.
Ominous signs for Allen.
Yikes. What a start. Barring a jittery opening frame, that really was fabulous stuff from both players.
Allen looks in really good touch and far from overawed while O'Sullivan has seemingly sprung into life having finally been presented with some strong competition.
This really does have all the hallmarks of a classic.
Where's your money going?
Plenty of safety so far, and good safety at that. No points scored.
O'Sullivan knocks in an astonishing long red from tight off the balk cushion. Incredible.
Black and pink tied up. Only the blue to play with. Could be hard work, this.
O'Sullivan has still been working on a diet of blue and balk colours but he passes 50 with a brilliant pink and things suddenly look much easier.
This has been a masterclass, really. A wonderful break.
85 from O'Sullivan enough to level the scores at 2-2. Brilliant break.
O'Sullivan has had things all his own way in this tournament so far, only Ken Doherty in the second round really testing him, but he will know he has a match on here.
Allen, on the other hand, has come through some tough battles this week. A 6-5 victory over Stuart Bingham in last night's semi-final springs to mind but don't forget he came from behind to beat Neil Roberston by the same scoreline on Wednesday.
He's certainly in good form and knows how to get over the line.
We could be in for a classic in York.
Another poor break-off from O'Sullivan and Allen knocks in a long red.
Good chance, this.
Hard to see Allen missing from here. Approaching 50 already and the reds are perfectly placed.
The early jitters seem to have subsided and both players look to be in really good touch.
Allen closing in on 2-1.
No century for Allen but a break of 74 puts him back in front at 2-1.
That will hurt Ronnie. He should have closed that first frame out.
He responds with a glorious long red, though, and is up and running. Can he level up in one visit?
Yikes. O'Sullivan isn't hanging about. 43 and counting already.
Frame safe for O'Sullivan. 93 and counting. A century beckons.
And there it is. He's taken these beautifully.
No clearance but a break of 101 from O'Sullivan levels the scores at 1-1.
Allen draws first blood, sinking a cracking long red but he's forced to play safe having failed to land ideally on the black.
O'Sullivan goes in off and gives Allen another chance at a long red. Misses.
Some fine safety by both players.
O'Sullivan in now courtesy of a thumping long red followed by a sublime positional shot from brown to red.
Down goes the black and he looks well set.
29 and out as O'Sullivan misses a simple red to middle.
Allen pounces with a superb red to the green pocket. Can he lay down a marker?
No. A tricky missed black lets O'Sullivan off the hook and he finds an easy red to get started.
Both players look a little edgy, understandably so, and O'Sullivan misses a simple black.
50-20 O'Sullivan but Allen with a decent chance to counter.
Now Allen misses another red and somehow knocks the yellow in the pocket.
Errors galore so far.
O'Sullivan trying his best to tie up the frame here. Allen's safety holding up well.
Allen finds a good snooker and O'Sullivan can't find an escape.
Allen with a great chance to clear.
And he holds his nerve to clear to the pink. 1-0 Allen.
Hello and welcome to Sporting Life's live blog of today's UK Championship snooker final between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Allen at the Barbican Centre in York.
I'm Richard Mann and i'll be guiding you through all of the action from what promises to be a brilliant showpiece between two of the sport's biggest hitters.
For O'Sullivan, today gives him the chance to lift a record seventh UK title having drawn level with the great Steve Davis when beating Shaun Murphy in the final twelve months ago. O'Sullivan currently sits alongside Stephen Hendry on 18 Triple Crown titles and victory would see him surpass his former rival.
As for Allen, he has enjoyed a 2018 to remember already - claiming The Masters back in January and the International Championship last month - and winning today would leave him only step away from completing the famous Triple Crown treble.
While hoping for a cracking final, I must confess that I'm team O'Sullivan today having put up The Rocket in my Antepost Angle column a few weeks back at 4/1. Fingers crossed!
Right, it's almost time.....
Out come the players. O'Sullivan walks out to Oasis - the atmosphere is just electric.
The players shake hands. Smiles, all smiles for now.
Here we go. O'Sullivan to break.