Trump Resists Brave Allen For UK Championship Crown

Congratulations to 22-year-old Judd Trump who has tonight defeated a brave Mark Allen 10-8 in a classic to capture the 2011 UK Championship at the Barbican Centre in York. It was far from straight-forward for Judd as Mark closed the gap from 8-3 to 9-8, but it was Trump would would eventually emerge victorious following a thrilling final…

Having taken the last four frames of the afternoon session to come out with a 5-3 lead, Judd Trump picked up from where he had left off this evening by taking the first three frames with a dazzling display of potting, presumably the ‘naughty’ brand of snooker that he has referred to all week.

Trailing 8-3 viewers just tuning into the action could have been forgiven for thinking that Mark Allen had played terribly, but in truth barring a couple of misses at important times, most notably when 3-1 up and looking to move 4-1 ahead earlier in the day, he had not done an awful lot wrong. With the scoreline as it was however, he needed to find a response and he duly did so, successive breaks of 139 and 129 either side of the mid-session interval reminding Judd that he had a match on.

The following two frames were to be shared, a 75 from Judd to put him one away from the title, followed by a 125 from Mark, his fourth ton of the match and his third in the space of three frames.

With his lead cut to 9-6 there were signs that Judd was just beginning to feel the pressure, a missed red at the start of frame 16 allowing Mark in for the first scoring opportunity. Allen though could not take it in one visit and the frame looked to have turned when Trump got his next shot badly wrong, only to fluke a red and find himself in prime position. Looking in control however, Judd was the miss a straight-forward red and when he eventually left the final red over the left-centre just a few minutes later, Allen was able to clear to the pink to close to 9-7.

The pressure beginning to shift, Judd earned the first opportunity of the following frame, but having run out of position he allowed an increasingly confident Allen back to the table to close the gap further with a break of 95.

The decisive frame however would prove to be the 18th as Mark having missed a long ball, left the red on for Judd to take into the green pocket and given the events of the past hour, produced a tremendous match-winning break to clinch victory in one visit and with it his first major title.

Having already won the China Open, two PTC events and of course reached the final of this year’s World Championship at the Crucible, tonight’s victory crowns a memorable breakthrough year for snooker’s self-proclaimed full-time international ‘playboi.’  Taking home a cheque for £100,000 together with 8,000 ranking points, Judd has now confirmed his status as one of the leading players in the sport and with the supreme level of confidence that he clearly has in his game at the moment, I am sure that this will not be his last major title.

For Mark meanwhile, he may have been defeated, but the man who has been in the headlines for his off-table comments this weekend did himself proud tonight with a phenomenal fight-back from 8-3 down that will surely have earned him a number of new fans. He takes home £46,000 and moves up to 10 in the rankings, equalling his previous career high.

As was the case 12 months ago when John Higgins memorably came back to defeat Mark Williams in a deciding frame, we were treated to a brilliant advert for snooker which demonstrated that for all the gimmicks such as shot clocks and special rules that some tournaments deem necessary, there is nothing better than a match of traditional snooker played over a longer format.

All in all it has been a terrific week in York with excellent crowds, quality snooker and a thrilling climax. Thanks to everyone who has visited the site during the last week and the qualifiers before it and hopefully you will stay around for what will hopefully be an even better 2012!