Mark Allen clinches first Masters title after beating Kyren Wilson in absorbing showdown 1 year ago

Mark Allen clinches first Masters title after beating Kyren Wilson in absorbing showdown

You can see what it meant to him.

Mark Allen overcame a gutsy performance from Kyren Wilson in the Dafabet Masters final to clinch his first triple crown title.

The Northern Irishman's victory arrived exactly 40 years after fellow countryman Alex Higgins won his first Masters and it was clear how much it meant to Allen on a charged night inside Alexandra Palace.

Wilson, who broke down in tears after narrowly missing out on what would have been a remarkable accomplishment winning a Masters aged just 26, matched Allen for much of the final but the world number eight held his nerve to win his fourth ranking event. The 31-year-old became the first Northern Irishman to win the Masters since Denis Taylor in 1987.

The Antrim man admitted that it was a 'surreal' feeling and had plenty of praise for Wilson.

β€œIt is surreal, it has been a long time coming," Allen said after being presented with the Paul Hunter trophy. "I was never sure it would come, I have knocked on the door for so long.

β€œWhat a competitor Kyren Wilson is. Not just a competitor, he is the nicest guy you can meet and he will have many more days like this. I know what it is like to lose a major, I was in that seat for the UK Championship [in 2011], losing to Judd Trump and Kyren will be in finals for years to come.”

Wilson was gracious in defeat, with tears in the Englishman's eyes as he congratulated the Antrim man on his victory.

β€œI’ve had an incredible week. If anyone was going to beat me I’d have loved it to have been Mark. He deserves it.”

The afternoon session didn't contain much thrilling, fast-paced snooker, with most of the frames being dominated by edgy, cautious tactical play. Resuming with the score at 4-4, the competitors took a frame apiece before Allen charged into a commanding 8-5 advantage with some superb play, including a break of 119.

Wilson, determined not to let the opportunity slip through his grasp having come from behind to beat Judd Trump in the semi-final, bounced back admirably by taking the next two frames. It wasn't to be, though, Allen responding taking the final two frames to complete a 10-7 victory.

After beating Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins en route to the final, Sunday night's clincher capped the best week of Allen's career. You couldn't help but be delighted for him.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Allen admitted to feeling slightly overcome by the occasion during the afternoon session before easing himself into the encounter.

"Weirdly, I felt calmer as the match went on, I felt more at ease with myself. You're never going to win one of these triple crown events easily and that was the test, it would have been easy to crumble. I was completely shitting myself in the first session. You want to win these big events so it was a massive occasion for both of us.

"It means so much to me, that's what I play the game for. It would've been devastating to get so close and not win it so very, very pleased.

"I actually heard today it was 40 years today since Alex (Higgins) first won it, that's always in the back of your mind, not so much when you're playing but when you've actually got over the line those sort of things come back.

"Northern Ireland as a whole get behind their sports people, they always do. I've got so much support over the years and I've done pretty much nothing in the game, hopefully now I'll get a bit more."