Mark Allen has won the 2018 Scottish Open after a 9-7 victory over Shaun Murphy at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Sunday.
The Northern Irishman ends the year as he began it by collecting silverware, as he adds the Home Nations title to the prestigious Masters crown he captured at the outset of 2018.
Allen also prevailed in the International Championship in November and his 2018 Scottish Open triumph will help ease the pain of missing out on glory in the UK Championship after defeat to Ronnie O’Sullivan in last week’s final.
The 32 year-old has been the top-earner this season with the £70,000 champion’s cheque in Scotland bringing his overall total from ranking events in the 2018/2019 campaign to more than £350,000.
This has helped Allen to rise back up the rankings list to match his previous high standing of sixth and he’s not far off securing a place in the top five for the first time in his career.
It has certainly been a period to remember for Allen, who has begun to translate his undoubted pedigree and talent into more sustained results and performances.
Allen wasn’t at his best throughout the 2018 Scottish Open and even admitted to showing a level of disrespect to the tournament, having enjoyed a few late nights out on the town this week in Glasgow.
In fact, Allen made the surprising admission on Saturday that such was his poor condition during his semi-final encounter with Daniel Wells that he required a couple of drinks to remedy the situation when he fell 4-0 behind at the mid-session interval.
The Antrim man has never been shy of expressing himself, though, and it’s one of the reasons why he represents a popular figure on the tour.
Another reasons, of course, is his snooker and Allen once again demonstrated why he is a formidable force on the baize.
After winning the opening session against Murphy 5-3, Allen took the first frame of the evening’s bout of play to extend his cushion to three frames.
Murphy, to his credit, responded brilliantly to win the next four frames on the spin to grapple the lead off his opponent at what looked to be just the right time.
Yet, it was Allen who finished the strongest with runs of 66, a superb 134, and an 83 – aided by a huge fluke – taking him over the winning line.
What inspired him to a 9-7 victory over Shaun Murphy?
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) December 16, 2018
It will be a major sense of disappointment for Murphy, who has now been on the losing side in his last five ranking event finals.
The “Magician” can at least take some comfort in the fact that he was able to get back into a position to contend for success again after a dreadful spell this term that had seen him lose half a dozen first round ties.
Allen is the man of the moment, however, and will be able to head to the Alexandra Palace next month brimming with confidence ahead of his Masters defence in London.
The 2018 Scottish Open’s climax brings this year to a close in terms of the trophies being handed out, although the German Masters preliminaries will take place over the coming few days.
On a night when snooker was once more snubbed by the pretentious BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year, Allen and Murphy conjured up an entertaining finale to what has been another memorable twelve months for the sport.