One night after winning the World Masters in London, Mark Allen reminded spectators in Belfast why he is snooker’s hottest property with two titanic breaks.
At the fundraising event in Shankill Road’s Trinity Hall club, he hit a maximum break of 147 in a game against one of the lucky amateurs who had won the chance to play him, and against another he nearly did it again – hitting 141 as his opponent looked on.
Club owner Davy Mitchell said: “He was on top form. The guys he was playing didn’t get a look in, but at least they’ll have the story to tell – being on the receiving end of a 147 break and a 141 break the night after Mark won the Masters.”
The club has been open since the beginning of July, but the 48-year-old owner said he has been struggling to pay the bills due to under-use of the hall. To that end he organised Monday night’s fundraiser with Joe Swail and Mark Allen – unknown to him that the Antrim man would be Masters champion by the time it came around.
Discussing the new champ Mr Mitchell said: “He’s such a humble guy. He’s no airs and graces. Everything about him is amazing. Not just him but Joe as well.
“The laugh we had in this place – the craic was amazing.
“I think every single person got their photograph taken with him, he signed stuff, he signed one of our tables.
“He brought the trophy as well. I was just worried in case someone dropped it.”
Mr Mitchell said: “A night like this means everything to us. People are saying financially it must have been great, but it’s not even about that. It’s about the prestige that came from it. You couldn’t pay for that sort of publicity.”
He added: “Having a new heating system in is a big boost and we’ve Mark and Joe to thank for that.
“The next target is to get myself back in the black and out of the red.
“If people come in and start playing, the hall looks after itself.”
Yesterday on social media the champion himself posted: “Now the dust has settled and I’ve finally got a minute to myself I just wanna say a massive thank you to everybody for all their messages of support.”
Mr Allen added: “It means so much to me to finally lift one of the triple crown events and to bring it home to Northern Ireland. To do it with some of my family and friends in the crowd makes it all the more special. #GAWA #masterschamp18”