Early exit for Allen

ANTRIM snooker ace Mark Allen has been left pondering what might have been after a disappointing showing at the Players’ Championship in Wolverhampton.

It is a tournament the local man has won before, but this year’s campaign was over before it began.

Afterwards, Allen lamented his ‘shocking performance’ in a 6-2 first-round defeat by Ricky Walden.

But it was not all bad news.

Mark showed a glimpse of form with a break of 69 to level the score at 1-1 but Walden won the next four frames to take control.

Allen pulled one back but a break of 74 by his opponent in frame eight was enough to see him over the line.

“Deserved what I got. Back to the drawing board,” said Allen on Twitter.

The Antrim player’s best result this year to date is a semi-final appearance at the recent German Masters.

Last year the 35-year-old took a memorable victory in his home event, the Northern Ireland Open - a win he counted among the high points of a stellar career.

The world number 10 fell in the third round of the subsequent UK Championship and failed to get past the first round of The Masters in January, losing 6-5 to Judd Trump.

After that defeat, Allen revealed that he would be continuing to play the game after a successful court ruling and some well documented personal problems.

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