SNOOKER: Mark Allen thrilled to win Players Championship

Mark Allen
Mark Allen

Mark Allen came out on top in a see-saw battle to beat Ricky Walden 10-6 in the final of the Players Championship in Manchester on Sunday night and seal his third ranking event title and first in the United Kingdom.

The 30-year-old becomes the first Northern Irishman to win a ranking event in the UK since Dennis Taylor lifted the world crown in 1985.

Allen set up his victory by winning five successive frames to lead 6-3 going into the evening session and hit back strongly to take the last three frames after Englishman Walden had fought back from 7-3 to 7-6.

Ranked ninth in the world, Allen overcame 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy in the semi-final and sealed the £100,000 winner’s prize with breaks of 61 and 67 in the final’s last two frames.

A thrilled Allen said: “From 3-1 down today I found a bit of form, won six frames on the spin and got my confidence back.

“Tonight it wasn’t like that at all. I was very, very nervous, didn’t want to speak to anyone beforehand. I just wanted to get the job done, it means so much to me.

“It’s all about winning titles for me. Money’s a massive bonus but I just want to win tournaments.

“I feel I’m good enough to compete at the highest level but I haven’t really showed that.

“It’s been good to show that this week when I haven’t been at my best, but I can’t wait until I am at my best.”