So near, but so far for Antrim champs

THEY both had a good run at the UK Championships in York, but Antrim’s Mark Allen and Jordan Brown had no option but to watch the final from their sofas.

Problems away from the table have cast a dark shadow over Allen in recent weeks, but he somehow managed to put that behind him to put in an occasionally impressive performance.

The two-time finalist had shown his steely resolve when he booked his spot in the third round with a win over Joe O’Connor.

It was a topsy-turvy match early on with the scores at 3-3 before Allen kicked on to claim three of the final four frames and progress.

But Mark got a taste of his own medicine on Tuesday when he took on David Gilbert.

‘The Pistol’ seemed to have victory in his sights when he raced to a 5-2 lead, needing just one frame to advance.

DREADFUL MISS

Allen, who is ranked 11 places higher, was left to rue a dreadful miss on a black off its spot when it seemed he was going to close out the match with the score at 5-4.

Speaking afterwards, the local man remained philosophical.

“Wasn’t to be yesterday for me,” he said.

“Had my chances but just couldn’t get it done...onto the next one.”

It was also a rollercoaster ride for stablemate Jordan.

He progressed comfortably to the last 16 with a 6-3 win over Mark Joyce.

NERVES OF STEEL

Next up for him was 16 seed Anthony McGill, and at first it seemed that he was going to hold his nerve and proceed further still.

But then disaster - with McGill taking the last three frames.

So no new silverware for this year’s Northern Ireland and Welsh Open champions, but both did Antrim proud once again - particularly in challenging circumstances for the World number 11.

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