‘I don’t know how I’ve done it’ – Mark Allen hails UK Championship success as ‘one of best ever wins’


Mark Allen was at a loss to explain how he managed to win the UK Championship, having trailed 6-2 at the interval, after an epic comeback victory over Ding Junhui at the Barbican.

The Northern Irishman staged one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory as his scintillating play froze out his opponent.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” he beamed afterwards.

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“I don’t really know how I’ve done it if I’m honest.

“I didn’t play very well most of the week. I struggled at the start and Ding punished me heavily, scored ridiculously well in the first session. And I just hung on and hung on, and scraped the last frame.

“I don’t know what happened tonight. I won a good first frame of 60 and that was probably as good a break as I’ve made all day.

“And then all of a sudden I felt so good. I felt like my safety went up a level. I was forcing some errors and I started to score. And at six all I felt so good.

“In the dressing room, I was like: ‘I’m not going to lose from here’. And I don’t mean that to sound disrespectful, but I just felt so confident in my game then considering where I was at 6-1 down.

“But to beat Ding in a best of 19, from 6-1 down, it’s one of my best ever wins because he’s an absolute legend.”

Breaks of 79, 60, 93, 132, 56, 59 and 109 had delivered Allen seven straight frames but the rot finally stopped in the 15th as Ding made a century of his own to stay in touch.

However, Allen restored the two-frame cushion to move within one of a maiden UK title, and he duly won an incredibly tense final frame.

It has been quite the season so far for Allen, who also won the Northern Ireland Open title last month. Asked if he had drawn inspiration from those memories in Belfast, Allen responded: “I had to because I was struggling. I was just trying to stay as positive as possible in my seat.

“All I said to myself was, ‘can I win the next frame?’ And ultimately the answer is always yes. So, I was never getting ahead of myself and I was just waiting for that chance at the end.”

With the victory, Allen emulates fellow Northern Irishman and snooker great Alex Higgins, who won the trophy in 1983.

“To follow in Alex’s footsteps is obviously a great achievement, but I’m trying to leave my own legacy in the game. But I’m a long way from that yet,” he said.

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