Mark Allen and Scott Donaldson will face each other in the first round of the World Championship in Sheffield.
Mark Allen’s season so far
When Mark Allen looks back on his career, the 2021/22 campaign will certainly stick out as a memorable one for various reasons.
The Pistol experienced an immense high on the table by triumphing in the Northern Ireland Open on home soil in Belfast.
But well-documented off-table troubles appeared to threaten his entire future in the game at one point.
Thankfully, those concerns seem to have passed and Allen can refocus his exploits on the green baize again.
The 36 year-old also reached the final of the Championship League and the semi-finals of the German Masters, helping him to maintain his membership among the top 16 in the world rankings.
Allen has the talent to threaten for a world title, but aside from reaching the semi-final early on in his career, the Crucible has not been a happy stomping ground.
Scott Donaldson’s season so far
It has been a quiet campaign for Scott Donaldson, whose qualification for the last 32 in Sheffield matches his best run in a ranking event during the 2021/22 term.
The £20,000 he has already earned for reaching this far has stopped the rot in terms of his slide down the rankings at least.
Prior to the preliminary competition, Donaldson was even in small danger of being relegated from the Main Tour, but those worries have now subsided.
This marks the 28 year-old’s second appearance at the Crucible, and on his debut three years ago he was comprehensively beaten by Kyren Wilson.
Allen and Donaldson have faced each other eight times in all competitions, with the Northern Irishman enjoying the much better success rate.
Indeed, Donaldson boasts just one solitary win over the former Masters champion and will represent a big underdog in this fixture.
For whatever reason, Allen seems to struggle in Sheffield and tends to always throw in a really dodgy session that completely derails any idea of a serious challenge.
Still, he’ll be a pretty sizable favourite against Donaldson and a victory could potentially set up a mouthwatering second-round clash against Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Prediction: Mark Allen 10-4 Scott Donaldson
Monday, April 18th – 10am and 7pm
Featured photo credit: WST