Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed a record-breaking seventh UK Championship title with a 10-6 victory over Mark Allen at the York Barbican on Sunday.
His triumph, which came a quarter of a century after he won his first United Kingdom crown as a 17-year-old, also saw O’Sullivan nudge ahead of Stephen Hendry with 19 ‘triple crown’ titles - comprising the World and UK Championships and the Masters.
The 43-year-old reeled off six consecutive frames to establish a four-frame advantage at the interval and despite a brief rally by his opponent he wrapped up victory with a break of 78.
It capped a tumultuous tournament for O’Sullivan, who had threatened to launch a breakaway tour then required a final-frame decider to edge past veteran Ken Doherty in round two.
But O’Sullivan was in imperious form against Allen, who was looking to add a second major title to the Masters he won in January, yet had expressed dissatisfaction with his performances all week. The Northern Irishman took a scrappy opener then moved ahead again with a break of 74 after O’Sullivan had eased level with a break of 101 in the second frame of the match.
But then it was all O’Sullivan, as he proceeded to punish a series of costly errors by Allen and reel off six frames in succession.
A superb long red set O’Sullivan up to draw level again with a break of 85, and he went ahead with two 50-plus breaks in the next after Allen had missed a black off its spot.
A loose safely let O’Sullivan in to make it 4-2 with a break of 57, a brilliant long blue paved the way to extend his lead to three frames, and when Allen missed an easy red in a potentially pivotal eighth, there seemed no way back.
It was business as usual at the start of the evening session as O’Sullivan took the first frame with ease to move into a 7-2 advantage, although Allen responded well to stop his opponent’s streak at six.
Allen’s first century of the match reduced the deficit to 7-4 but O’Sullivan took the next two frames, including a brilliant clearance of 63 to extinguished his opponent’s 59-point advantage, to move within one frame of victory.
There was almost a remarkable twist as Allen responded with nine reds and nine blacks to threaten a 147 in the next, and despite stalling on 72 he followed up with 59 to pull back to 9-6 before O’Sullivan finished in style.