Mark Allen (snooker player)
- Not to be confused with Mark Johnston-Allen
Mark Allen at the 2014 German Masters
22 February 1986 |
Antrim, Northern Ireland
|Sport country||Northern Ireland|
|Highest ranking||6 (March–May and June 2013)|
|9 (as of 11 August 2014)|
|Highest break||146 (2007 UK Championship Qualifying, 2010 World Snooker Championship)|
Mark Allen (born 22 February 1986) is a Northern Irish professional snooker player. He won the World Amateur Championship in 2004. The following year he entered the Main Tour and took only three seasons to reach the elite top 16. As a prolific break-builder, Allen has compiled more than 200 century breaks in professional competition.
Allen has reached five ranking semi-finals: the 2007 Northern Ireland Trophy, the 2008 Bahrain Championship, the 2009 World Championship, the 2010 China Open and the 2010 UK Championship. In June 2009 he won his first professional title, the invitational Jiangsu Classic in China. He reached his first ranking event final at the 2011 UK Championship.
- 1 Career history
- 2 Rivalry
- 3 Controversy
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Performance and rankings timeline
- 6 Tournament finals
- 7 References
- 8 External links
He began his professional career by playing Challenge Tour in 2003, at the time the second-level professional tour. Before entering Main Tour for the 2005/2006 season, Allen won the European Championship and the IBSF World Championship, plus Northern Ireland Championship at under-14, under-16, and under-19 levels. His early career was aided by National Lottery funding.
By chance, an invitational Northern Ireland Trophy was staged shortly after Allen turned professional. As a local player, he was invited and made an immediate impact, defeating Steve Davis and John Higgins to reach the quarter-finals, before losing to Stephen Hendry. In his first year on the tour, he reached the last 32 of the 2005 UK Championship and the 2006 Welsh Open, losing 2–5 to the then World Champion Shaun Murphy after leading 2–0. He also got to the final qualifying round of the 2006 World Championship, losing 7–10 to Andy Hicks, after leading 7–4.
In March 2007 he qualified for the World Championship for the first time, winning 3 matches culminating in a 10–4 win over Robert Milkins. In April 2007 he beat former world champion Ken Doherty 10–7 in the first round held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, but lost to Matthew Stevens 9–13 in the second round. This was his first run to the last 16 of a tournament and helped him into the top 32 of the rankings (at no. 29).
In the 2007 Grand Prix, in a match with Ken Doherty, he was involved in an incident that led to his opponent branding him 'a disgrace'. Unhappy that the black would not go back on its spot after potting it, Allen struck the side cushion with his fist. The referee told him that he would be warned if he did that again. Allen was not warned, and ended up winning the match. Doherty said, "He was a disgrace. For such a relative newcomer to the pro game, he's got a serious attitude problem". Mark later commented: "It was entirely my own fault and if there are going to be any repercussions then so be it." Allen did not reach the knockout stage of the tournament.
In the 2007 Northern Ireland Trophy he gave his home supporters plenty to shout about, by beating Graeme Dott 5–3 and Ryan Day 5–3 to reach his first ever quarter-final. In it he defeated Gerard Greene 5–3 to reach the semi-final, where he lost 3–6 to Fergal O'Brien. In the following UK Championship he defeated Stephen Hendry in the last 32. He opened his last-16 match against Mark Williams with two centuries in the first three frames, building a 5–1 lead, but Williams fought back and he lost 5–9. He then reached the quarter-finals in the 2008 China Open before losing to Shaun Murphy. At the 2008 World Championship he led Stephen Hendry 6–3, 7–4 and 9–7 before losing 9–10. However, first-round defeats for all his rivals for a top 16 place ensured that he finished the season at number 16 in the rankings.
After a consistent season Allen was back at the Crucible the following year where he beat Martin Gould in his opening match. He faced Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round and confident and unaffected by his opponent's reputation, Allen beat the defending champion, 13–11 for a quarter-final place in the 2009 World Championship. He then defeated Ryan Day by the same scoreline to reach the semi-finals, where he lost 13–17 to John Higgins, despite making a determined fightback from 3–13 down. Soon after his run in the World Championship, Allen won his first professional tournament, the 2009 Jiangsu Classic beating home favourite Ding Junhui 6–0 in the final.
During the 2010 Masters, Allen beat the World Champion, John Higgins, by 6–3 in the last 16. He lost out 5–6 to eventual champion Mark Selby in the quarter-finals.
On the first day of the 2010 World Championship on 17 April 2010, Allen came close to recording his first ever maximum break in his first round match against Tom Ford after potting 15 reds with blacks, and the yellow, before breaking down on the green. Five days later, Allen made the first 146 break in World Championship history, and the second of his career after defeating Mark Davis 13–5 in the second round. He was defeated 12–13 in the quarter-final by Graeme Dott, having led 12–10.
At the 2010 UK Championship, Allen reached the semi-finals for the first time, where he was beaten 9–5 by eventual champion John Higgins. In the Masters, Allen again reached the semi-finals, and led Marco Fu 4–1 before Fu reeled off five frames in a row to win 6–4. At the 2011 World Championship, Allen entered as the 11th seed and played Matthew Stevens in the first round, recovering from 9–6 down and seeing Stevens miss a pot on the final pink to win the match 10–7, before winning 10–9. In the second round, Allen defeated Barry Hawkins 13–12. He reached the quarter-finals for a 2nd year in a row but lost to Mark Williams 5–13.
The season began with Allen ranked world number 12 and he began it at the inaugural Australian Goldfields Open, where he beat Ryan Day and Marcus Campbell. Into the quarter finals, Allen was beaten by his rival Stuart Bingham 5-3. The next ranking event was the Shanghai Masters where Allen reached the second round and held a 4-2 advantage over Shaun Murphy before losing the next 3 frames and being edged out of the match 5-4. His steady start to the season meant that he maintained his world ranking of 12 after the first cut-off point.
Allen made it to his first ranking event final at the 2011 UK Championship by beating Adrian Gunnell, Ali Carter, Marco Fu and Ricky Walden. It was his first success in a ranking event semi-final, after having lost in all five prior attempts. In the final he played Judd Trump with whom he held a 2-1 advantage in the previous meetings between the pair. Allen opened up a 3-1 lead early in the best-of-19 frames match, but subsequently lost the next seven frames to trail 3-8. However, such a deficit brought out the best in Allen as he won five of the next six frames, which included three centuries. The comeback was not quite completed though, as Trump secured the frame he required to take an 8-10 victory. Allen said after the final, "I knew it was going to be hard the way he was playing, he scores so heavy and so quickly and I didn't feel I was playing too bad but Judd played so well and it was hard to compete." Allen made five centuries during the tournament, the most of anyone in the event.
Allen lost the last four frames in the first round of the Masters to Neil Robertson having led 3-2 and stated afterwards that he had "completely lost interest" in the match. He accused the Australian of employing slow tactics and said that at times he didn't want to watch him play. He then exited the German Masters in the second round and lost to Shaun Murphy in the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open.
In March, Allen won his first ever ranking event as he captured the World Open title in Haikou, China. He beat qualifier Jimmy Robertson in the first round, before exacting revenge over Judd Trump for his defeat in York, by coming back from 0–3 down to triumph 5–4. He comfortably beat Mark King 5–1 in the quarter-finals, before producing another comeback from 2–5 down against world number 1 Mark Selby to win 6–5 and reach his second ranking final of the season. Allen played Stephen Lee in the final and dominated the encounter from start to finish as he won by 10 frames to 1. His season finished in disappointment though, as he exited both the China Open and World Championship in the first round, to end the year where he started it, ranked world number 12.
Allen began the season with second round losses to Mark Williams at the Wuxi Classic and Judd Trump in the Shanghai Masters. His first title of the year soon followed at the minor-ranking Antwerp Open, by making three centuries in a 4–1 win over Mark Selby in the final. Allen then beat Robert Milkins and Cao Yupeng both 6–2 in the inaugural International Championship, before being edged out 5–6 by Trump in the quarter-finals. Before his first round match with Marco Fu at the UK Championship, Allen reiterated his claims that Fu has cheated in the past. Fu denied the accusations and went on to beat Allen 6–3. At the Masters Allen came past Mark Davis 6–2, but was then narrowly beaten 5–6 by Neil Robertson in a high quality encounter in the quarter-finals. At the Snooker Shoot-Out, the tournament where each match is decided by a 10 minute frame, Allen won through to the final where he lost to Martin Gould. He suffered successive second round defeats at the German Masters and the Welsh Open to Barry Hawkins and Ding Junhui respectively, before he travelled to China in an attempt to defend his World Open title from 2012. Allen comfortably won every match he played at the event as he beat Ryan Day 5–2, Robert Milkins 5–2, Ricky Walden 5–1, John Higgins 6–2 and Matthew Stevens 10–4 in the final to capture his second ranking title. Allen's Antwerp Open win from earlier in the season helped him finish eighth on the Players Tour Championship Order of Merit to qualify for the Finals where he lost 3–4 in the quarter-finals to Ding, who made a 147 and two further centuries during the match. Robertson beat Allen 5–1 in the second round of the China Open, and then Allen was the victim of a first round shock at the World Championship for a second year in a row as he lost to world number 30 Mark King 8–10, having led 8–6. Despite this, he climbed five spots in the rankings during the year to finish it ranked world number seven.
After losing in the first round of the opening two ranking events of the year, Allen won the minor-ranking Ruhr Open in Mülheim, Germany, by beating Ding Junhui 4–1 in the final. He also won the next European Tour event, the Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup by battling past former world champions Neil Robertson and Graeme Dott in the quarter-finals and semis respectively. He beat Judd Trump 4–1 in the final to become the first player to win back-to-back events since they were introduced in 2010. In the last 16 of the UK Championship, Allen and Judd Trump both struggled for consistency during their match, with Allen giving Trump a hug when the pair missed a succession of easy balls. Allen went on to win 6–4 to reach his first major quarter-final of the season, where he lost 6–2 to Ricky Walden. Allen came close to recording a hat-trick of World Open titles as he won through to the semi-finals, but was beaten 6–4 by Shaun Murphy. His two titles earlier in the season meant Allen was the number one seed for the PTC Finals where he lost in the quarter-finals 4–2 against Gerard Greene. Allen was 9–7 behind against Neil Robertson after the second session of his last 16 match at the World Championship and lost all four frames in the next session to be defeated 13–7. Afterwards, Allen tipped Robertson for the title saying he had faced perfect snooker from the Australian.
Allen had a rivalry with Stuart Bingham. After Bingham squandered a 12-9 lead in the second round of the 2011 World Snooker Championship to lose 13-12 against Ding Junhui, Allen stated that Bingham had "no bottle" and admitted that there was history between the players and that they did not get on. Bingham responded by calling Allen an idiot and the tension between the two was clearly high as they were drawn to play each other in the second round of the 2011 Australian Goldfields Open. Before the match Bingham said that he couldn't wait to play and that he had been waiting for it for a long time. He also stated that he didn't care what Allen thought and it would give him more pleasure to beat him. Bingham fulfilled his pre-match words by defeating Allen 5-3 and also went on to win the tournament by coming back from 8-5 down to beat Mark Williams 9-8 in the final. When the draw for the 2011 UK Championship was made it revealed that there was a potential quarter-final clash between the two. Upon anticipating the meeting Bingham said that the "feud was not over" and that he would be staying away from Allen and not be speaking to him until they next played. The match-up was avoided, however, when Bingham lost in the first round to Marco Fu. Allen announced before the start of the 2013 World Championship that there was no problem between himself and Bingham since Bingham had proved him wrong by winning tournaments, and the two have had drinks and dinner together.
In a post-match press conference after his first round win in the 2011 UK Championship, Allen called for chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), Barry Hearn, to resign. Allen's reasoning for this was based upon his belief that Hearn had promised not to alter the structure of any of the major snooker tournaments in the calendar (the World Snooker Championships, the UK Championships and the Masters) when he was appointed chairman in June 2010, whereas in fact the UK Championship had seen matches decided on a best of 11 frames basis, rather than the best of 17 frames used in previous years. Allen also stated his perception that the crowd atmosphere within snooker was turning into that of one usually associated with darts and that the tradition of snooker was "going to pot". Allen then swore when talking about Hearn at a press conference. The WPBSA announced that Allen would be facing a disciplinary committee for swearing when talking about Hearn and that he could be charged with bringing the game into disrepute. Hearn himself responded by saying he was "far too busy to worry about silly little boys making silly little comments". Upon learning that Hearn had been on holiday for the entirety of the event, Allen said it was a "joke" and only confirmed the views which he had expressed earlier in the week. The pair held a meeting in January 2012, to settle their differences ahead of the forthcoming Masters tournament. Hearn said after the meeting that the way he was running the game may not suit everyone, but his concern was the game of snooker in general. Hearn added: "Mark's prize money this year is probably double what he's earned in the last couple of years so I must be doing something right. We had a very frank and friendly exchange of views and in the end I think he saw my point of view, but time will tell." Allen was fined £250 for his actions by the WPBSA later in the month.
Just two months later while playing in the World Open in Haikou, China, Allen described the conditions on his Twitter page as "horrendous", following up with: "Journey a nightmare. People are ignorant. Place stinks. Arena's rubbish, tables poor, food is horrendous. Other than that I love China", although this tweet was later deleted. Answering critics of that particular tweet, he said they should "get a life". World Snooker described his remarks as very disappointing. It was later revealed that Allen was fined £1,000 for his criticism and he went on to close his Twitter account in April.
Following his defeat at the 2012 World Snooker Championship to Chinese qualifier Cao Yupeng, he openly accused his opponent of cheating and unsporting behaviour for not owning up to what he perceived to be a foul. Allen attributed the deception to his perceived cultural differences between British and Chinese players, purportedly with incidents involving Chinese professional Liang Wenbo and Hong Kong's Marco Fu. Barry Hearn confirmed that Allen would once again face a disciplinary process and said that the player's actions had left him "speechless". Allen was fined a total of £11,000 and warned he would be suspended from the tour for 3 months if he breaches the rules again in the next 6 months. He was also required to undergo media training.
Prior to the commencement of the 2013 World Snooker Championship, Allen renewed his criticisms of Barry Hearn. Allen voiced concerns that the World Snooker Tour's increasing emphasis on events in China was pricing players out of competing, pointing out that since Hearn took over the running of the game players now have to pay for their own flights, which can incur extra expenses of £10,000–£15,000 per season. Allen, who earned £278,000 over the course of the previous two years, further added he did not believe he was being fairly compensated for his services.
In March 2011, Allen admitted he was suffering from depression, due to the amount of travelling and hours spent alone in hotel rooms associated with the life of a professional snooker player.
Mark married Kyla McGuigan on 10 May 2013.
Performance and rankings timeline
|Rankings[nb 1]||UR||UR[nb 2][nb 3]||UR[nb 3]||98||61||29||16||11||10||12||12||7||9|
|Wuxi Classic[nb 4]||Tournament Not Held||Non-Ranking||2R||1R||A|
|Australian Goldfields Open||Tournament Not Held||QF||A||A||1R|
|Shanghai Masters||Tournament Not Held||LQ||LQ||1R||1R||2R||2R||1R|
|Indian Open||Tournament Not Held||2R|
|International Championship||Tournament Not Held||QF||3R|
|World Open[nb 5]||A||A||A||1R||RR||RR||1R||QF||LQ||W||W||SF|
|German Masters||Tournament Not Held||1R||2R||2R||1R|
|Players Championship Grand Final[nb 6]||Tournament Not Held||DNQ||DNQ||QF||QF|
|China Open||Not Held||A||LQ||LQ||QF||1R||SF||1R||1R||2R||WD|
|Champion of Champions||Tournament Not Held||1R|
|Championship League||Tournament Not Held||RR||2R||F||2R||SF||2R||A|
|Variant format tournaments|
|Shoot-Out||Tournament Not held||1R||3R||F||3R|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|Malta Cup[nb 7]||A||A||A||1R||LQ||NR||Tournament Not Held|
|Northern Ireland Trophy||Tournament Not Held||NR||1R||SF||QF||Tournament Not Held|
|Bahrain Championship||Tournament Not Held||SF||Tournament Not Held|
|Former non-ranking tournaments|
|Northern Ireland Trophy||Tournament Not Held||QF||Ranking Event||Tournament Not Held|
|Wuxi Classic[nb 4]||Tournament Not Held||A||W||SF||A||Ranking Event|
|Premier League Snooker||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||RR||Not Held|
|Performance Table Legend|
|LQ||lost in the qualifying draw||#R||lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
|QF||lost in the quarter-finals|
|SF||lost in the semi-finals||F||lost in the final||W||won the tournament|
|DNQ||did not qualify for the tournament||A||did not participate in the tournament||WD||withdrew from the tournament|
|NH / Not Held||means an event was not held.|
|NR / Non-Ranking Event||means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.|
|R / Ranking Event||means an event is/was a ranking event.|
|MR / Minor-Ranking Event||means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.|
- From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
- New players don't have a ranking.
- He was not on the Main Tour.
- The event ran under the name Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
- The event run under different name as LG Cup (2002/2003-2003/2004) and Grand Prix (2004/2005-2009/2010)
- The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011-2012/2013)
- The event run under different name as European Open (2002/2003-2003/2004)