During this year’s World Snooker Championship, we’ll be recalling some of the most memorable moments that took place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
It’s amazing to think that Mark Allen hasn’t featured at the business end of a World Championship for a decade.
The Northern Irishman was once tipped as a guaranteed future world champion but it hasn’t quite worked out that way and it was only last year that he finally landed his maiden major with victory in the prestigious Masters.
When Allen first burst onto the scene as a teenager, he had already won international amateur titles at both the senior and junior levels and it took him only three years to break into the top 16 in the world rankings.
Then in 2009, the first year that the Antrim man was seeded at the Crucible, Allen ran into the defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last 16.
Allen had compiled a hat-trick of centuries against the “Rocket” during the first two sessions but still trailed 9-7 and not many gave him too much of a hope going into the third and final session on April 25th.
Yet, the “Pistol” began to demonstrate his now trademark battling qualities and quickly restored parity as the boisterous crowd on that middle Saturday morning in Sheffield began to sense a story developing.
With the next four frames shared and the scores tied at 11-11, Allen constructed a timely 80 break to move to within the brink of victory and duly wrapped up what was undoubtedly his biggest triumph of that period in the next frame to truly announce himself onto the global stage.
The five-time ranking event winner would go on to reach the semi-finals, losing to eventual champion John Higgins, but he has surprisingly never reached the single table set-up since then.
Allen has improved significantly since triumphing at the Alexandra Palace, with a UK Championship final appearance against O’Sullivan in 2018 sandwiching two big ranking event successes.
However, the 33 year-old suffered disappointment in this year’s World Championship after an unexpected first round loss to Zhou Yuelong on Wednesday.
This article has been updated and was originally published on April 25th, 2018.