Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

Mark Allen made a stunning comeback after beating Ding Junhui 6-1 to win the British Snooker Championship 10-7.

The Northern Irish came from behind in every game this week and did it again to win their second triple crown title at York Barbican.

“It’s absolutely amazing, and I really don’t know how I got it,” Allen said. “I didn’t play well most of the week, I didn’t play well in the first session and I was penalized.

“I held on and fixed the last frame and after my first break of 60 [in the second session] I felt very good and started to score goals.

“At 6-6 I was very confident. Beating Ding 6-1 in a best of 19 frame game is one of my best wins ever – he’s an absolute legend.

The resurrected Ding, who cleared world No. 1 Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarterfinals, looked in good form in the afternoon session as he took a 6-1 lead with three centuries. Allen looked apathetic, perhaps exhausted, after his late night win in last black against Jack Lisowski on Saturday night, but he won the last frame of the session 6-2 back.

The evening was a different story as Allen looked much more positive. He played a more careful and patient game for much of this tournament, but returned to his more natural offensive play and was 6-6 in the first four frames of the session, with 357 points unanswered at one point. He then took an 8-6 lead, adding two more to make seven squares in a row.

Ding Junhui
Ding Junhui rocketed into the British Snooker Championship final and took a 6-1 lead, but was powerless to thwart Mark Allen’s comeback. Photo: Isaac Parkin/PA

Now it was Ding’s turn to look grumpy, looking powerless to respond to Allen’s attack. Full points to him, though, for responding with a good 105 timeout to pull back to 8-7. But Allen took the next two to complete a great comeback.

His win continues a good season with his second trophy after successfully defending the Northern Ireland Open title in October. He also lost to Ryan Day in the British Open final. There has been some turnaround after battling off-the-table issues in recent years, including being declared bankrupt in May 2021.

He threw four stones in the summer and came back more grumpy and confident. His second title of the season promoted him to 5th place in the world after starting the season just inside the top 16. He completed the second leg of the triple crown after winning the Masters four years ago. Now minds will turn to the world championships in April, where he had a bad track record for his talent.

Ding has had a resurgence of his own at this tournament after three troubled years since winning the 14th place title here in 2019. the first 16 to automatically qualify for the world championship.

But when Allen came back to him, there were signs that old frailties were returning. He’s a good front runner but seems to struggle when the pressure rises. He notably entered this tournament as the eighth highest ranked Chinese player and saw his compatriots Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong win the triple crown competitions in the past two seasons.

Ding’s excellent form here gave him hope of adding a fourth UK Championship title, but Allen’s stubbornness and determination didn’t do much for him.