Allen falls at final hurdle

THOUGH he seemed very much in the frame to take the Coral Tour Championship in Milton Keynes last weekend, Antrim’s Mark Allen utlimately fell at the final hurdle.

The pistol had been in commanding form in the semi-final after beating three times world champion Mark Selby 9-2 in a curiously one-sided affair.

In their last 11 encounters it has gone all the way to the final frame on eight occasions, but this time Selby had no answer to Allen’s electrifying potting game.

So he could have been forgiven for being hopeful of pocketing the £150,000 first prize against old pal Stephen Maguire - who had not won a title since the Welsh Open back in 2013.

He had been a late replacement to the tournament after Ding Junhui was forced to withdraw due to travel restrictions.

And it seemed that the title could be winging its way back to Antrim when Maguire got off to a sluggish start - considering himself rather lucky to end the first session all square on 4-4.

But he came back after the break a new man, battering in a 139 clearance to take the £10,000 highest break prize.

The pair split the next two frames before Maguire extended his lead to 7-5.

He seemed on the brink of closing the deal when he pulled ahead to 9-5 - but Mark hit back with a 107 break of his own.

Victory came following a marathon final frame when Maguire got the better of the 34-year-old during tense safety exchanges.

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