ALAS there was to be no early Christmas present for either of Antrim’s two snooker champs this year.
Mark Allen, who holds the Northern Ireland crown, and Jordan Brown, the Welsh champ, sent themselves to Coventry this week to contest the World Grand Prix.
Allen, the world number 12, eased his way into the second round after beating Cao Yupeng in his opener - big breaks of 114 and 79 helping him to a convincing 4-1 win.
But he knew he faced a stiffer challenge next, as he was drawn to play world number one Mark Selby!
And Selby showed his quality early on, racing to a 2-0 lead with decisive breaks of 78 and 85.
But the Pistol managed to pull one back in the third, but Selby restored his two frame buffer in the next.
Allen held his nerve, however, taking the fifth thanks to a timely 69.
But it was not to be and Selby took the next to end it 4-2.
Jordan Brown also exited the competition on Wednesday after falling to a 4-1 defeat by in-form Luca Brecel of Belgium.
Brecel - who clinched the Scottish Open erlier in the week after losing the UK Championship final to Zhao Xintong - hit two centuries and a break of 88 as he comfortably dispatched the Welsh Open winner.