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Northern Ireland Open | E1 Coverage

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UK Championship
'It took the shine off his victory' - Murphy apologises to opponent over amateur rant
28/11/2021 AT 09:56

The last four

Here's your Saturday best of elevens:
1.00pm - Mark Allen vs Ricky Walden
7.00pm - John Higgins vs Yan Bingtao

John Higgins is through to the semi-finals

For the seventh time in eight meetings, John Higgins has beaten David Gilbert. It was a match of short bursts; Gilbert won two, Higgins four and then Gilbert briefly looked like he'd come again until Higgins eventually got over the line in the eighth frame. In the studio Higgins his shaking his head ruefully, grinning, and saying how tough it was out there. It wasn't his best performance of the week and he stumbled over the line a little but he got through it, because he's John Higgins. He's through to face Yan Bingtao in the semi-final tomorrow.

Higgins 5-3 Gilbert

Gilbert lays a snooker but the green is over its own pocket. That leaves Higgins the big up and down off the bottom cushion for the match effectively...and with the faintest of connections he's potted it! He puffs out his cheeks, as well he might. Brown and blue follow, and we're done here.

Higgins 4-3 Gilbert (55-32)

Oohs ring around Waterfront Hall as Higgins almost flukes the red into the right middle when escaping from a snooker. Gilbert elicits four points after laying another, but after escaping Higgins lands one of his own and it's a beauty. Gilbert escapes from behind the pink but it's hit and hope at the red in the middle of the table. He hits the red, but he's left it on long to the bottom left. Higgins bullets it in, followed by the yellow. He needs yellow and green now to leave Gilbert needing snookers. The yellow goes but he leaves a difficult green with the rest...and he's missed by a mile! Gilbert is still in it!

Higgins 4-3 Gilbert (50-28)

Gilbert gets a red down, but is faced with a difficult long green to the bottom left. He cues across the line of the shot and misses as a result; he's back in now though, draining a red into the bottom right after a poor safety from Higgins. A gutsy clearance on the remaining reds follows, as it takes some intricate positional play and he's awkward on the last red after an attempt to canon it free from the pink only partially comes off. It's a difficult thin cut to the right middle and Gilbert turns it down in favour of a safety. That's probably the right shot, and he's right back in this.

Higgins 4-3 Gilbert (50-0)

The reds are set to go here, and it doesn't even look like Higgins will need to risk a canon if he can retain position. A barrage of short range stuns and screws are opening up avenue to pockets, but just as it looks to be a formality Higgins runs out of position slightly on 49. He takes a red to the bottom left with the rest...and it jaws out! There are seven reds still out there, and more importantly for Gilbert, so is he.

Higgins 4-3 Gilbert (18-0)

What a frame this could be. If Gilbert can snag it then we've got a Friday night appointment in Shredsville. Higgins gets away first by dropping in a plant, but can't convert a long blue into the yellow pocket to follow. That leaves Gilbert his chance, a mid-ranger to the bottom left...and he's missed it and left it there! Higgins is quickly on to his feet, and into the balls. The black is on to both corners and there plenty of stray reds; Gilbert is in bother now.

Higgins 4-3 Gilbert

Just like that, it's done! Higgins goes in off trying to lay another snooker, and concedes.

Higgins 4-2 Gilbert (37-60)

Gilbert escapes, before Higgins pots green and brown. The equation has changed, now Higgins needs a five point snooker to tie and he lays one behind the black. There really is just no quit in this guy. Gilbert escapes, before Higgins puts him in another, better snooker right behind the black. Higgins is a waking nightmare to face in this position. Gilbert escapes again, but oh me oh my it's edgy out there.

Higgins 4-2 Gilbert (30-60)

Gilbert has located the form of the opening two frames just in time. He clears up the open reds with colours to reach 60, but misses the final red along the rail and into the green pocket, leaving it in the jaws. Higgins is 39 behind with 35 on. He picks off the red but can only take a pink with it, so will need two four pointers and the colours to win. The yellow goes, before Higgins tucks Gilbert in behind the brown.
On the other table Yan Bingtao is through to face the winner of this tomorrow, after whitewashing Mitchell Mann 5-0.

Higgins 4-2 Gilbert (21-27)

Here, perhaps, is that chance. Gilbert drains a long red down the right of the table, and he comes back up for the blue. He's soon into the bunch after potting a loose red, which is low risk with the yellow over the bottom right. That goes, with assistance from the spider, and he's got a great chance to register a big visit here. He runs slightly out of position on the blue, but recovers it superbly to drill it into the yellow pocket and land on his next red.

Higgins 4-2 Gilbert (21-0)

Gilbert is struggling here. He tries to play a containing safety back to baulk, but he's left a red on to the left middle. It's not easy, with the white near the top cushion, but Higgins strokes it in imperiously to land on the brown. Within what feels like a heartbeat he's up to 20, but pink and black are awkward so it'll need a bit of work to keep this break moving. Sure enough, it curtails when Higgins misses an awkward brown with the rest. There's nothing on, but can Gilbert craft a chance from somewhere to keep the argument going?

Higgins 4-2 Gilbert

Higgins moves his break to 59 and Gilbert can only tie. A difficult pink to left middle follows; he's not on a red, but with the black out of commission Gilbert folds it after Higgins plays safe. That's four in a row for Higgins, who needs one more for victory.

Higgins 3-2 Gilbert (51-0)

After just about surviving a sloppy safety shot that saw the white clip two reds before creeping back to baulk, Gilbert misses a long tempter to the bottom left and leaves Higgins right among the remaining reds. The pink is on its spot and available, surrounded by ehough open reds for Higgins to banks this comfortably. It's 20 and counting in this break so far.

Higgins 3-2 Gilbert (31-0)

Higgins is struggling to lasso control of the cue ball in this break and eventually runs out of position when playing off the yellow to land on a red near the bottom of the cluster. That's end of break and a reprieve for Gilbert.
On the other table, Yan Bingtao takes a tight fourth frame to lead 4-0 at the interval against Mitchell Mann.

Higgins 3-2 Gilbert (17-0)

We've a brief lull at the start of the sixth frame as referee Rob Spencer has to clean the rests due to Covid-19 protocols after Gilbert picks up the wrong one. Higgins is in again, after Gilbert leaves a thin cut on a red to right middle from baulk and Higgins snicks it in to land on the brown. You can sense that Higgins senses he's got Gilbert in bother here, and if he can clear the black spot early in this break that might soon be reality in this frame.

Higgins 3-2 Gilbert

It's 67 in total, he needs two more frames for a place in the last four. Gilbert needs to jam the brakes on this a bit lively, or Higgins could run away with it.

Higgins 2-2 Gilbert (65-5)

Higgins piles on 40 in swift fashion, dispatching the eleventh red of the frame to leave Gilbert needing snookers. There's plenty more left too, and Higgins is going to hit the front for the first time.

Higgins 2-2 Gilbert (27-5)

Did Higgins get a kick there? He seems to think so; either way he jaws a simple red in and out of the bottom right. That leaves a red to the left middle for Gilbert, who misses it high on the knuckle and leaves an easy red for Higgins as a result. Gilbert's gone off the boil since those opening two frames, and all of the momentum in this match is with his opponent.

Higgins 2-2 Gilbert (7-5)

We're back, and Gilbert misses a long red by a huge margin to leave Higgins a cut on a red to the yellow pocket. That goes and he booms into the pack off the blue, but can only leave a difficult red to the bottom right with the rest and he's missed it. Gilbert then flukes a red when playing safe and picks up four from the ensuing snooker, but can't then convert a long red into the green pocket. Scrappy stuff here in the fifth, before Higgins clips in a thin red with the extensions and he's on the brown.

Higgins 2-2 Gilbert

The final red goes, which is frame ball; the black follows, which ends the argument. A total break of 64 squares it up as the players troop off for a 15-minute interval.
Elsewhere, Yan Bingtao now leads Mitchell Mann 3-0.

Higgins 1-2 Gilbert (40-28)

Higgins gets in after fluking a red into the bottom right when trying to only play safe off it. There's points on but he'll need to use the pink as the black is tied up. He shifts it within a few shots though, stunning it in from a tight angle and moving a cluster of reds into more inviting positions as he does so. This is a big chance to clear up enough points to go in level at the interval.

Higgins 1-2 Gilbert (1-28)

In getting to 22 Gilbert comes perilously close to going in off after splitting the reds and catching the lower knuckle of the right middle. A difficult blue follows and then with the white welded to the left rail he misses a red across the table and into the right middle, and it's sa chance for Higgins. He can't take it though, missing the red with the rest to the bottom right.

Higgins 1-2 Gilbert (1-15)

Gilbert gets the better of another safety exchange at the start of the fourth, forcing a mistake from Higgins which allows him to clip in a wafer thin red to the left middle. He can't get position on a colour though, and plays safe. It's Higgins who gets the first real chance of the frame, fearlessly dropping a red softly into the left middle despite the white being close to the bottom cushion. Just as another heavy visit looks imminent, he misses a routine brown to the green pocket! That's a shocker by his standards, and he's served this up for Gilbert who is quickly accumulating points.
On the other table Yan Bingtao leads Mitchell Mann 2-0.

Higgins 1-2 Gilbert

It's another one visit frame as an 81 takes the third for Higgins.

Higgins 0-2 Gilbert (68-0)

A pink takes Higgins's break to 68 with just 67 remaining. This is a superb response after being frozen out at the start of the match.

Higgins 0-2 Gilbert (46-0)

It's hard work for Higgins as he lands straight on the blue twice in a row, but recovers with good pots on the subsequent reds and then splits a cluster of their pals when thumping the pink into the right middle. It's all there for him now.

Higgins 0-2 Gilbert (20-0)

Higgins hasn't potted a ball yet, and misses a long red to the bottom left but gets away with it. He then leaves Gilbert with his hand on the table and a chance at a longish red to the bottom left, but it jaws in and out to leave Higgins an easy starter. The black needs freeing up and Higgins does so quickly - although wobbles the subsequent pot on the black violently - to create his first real chance of the night.

Higgins 0-2 Gilbert

Gilbert is bossing this; a break of 69 is enough to put another one on the board.

Higgins 0-1 Gilbert (4-64)

It's another half-ton for Gilbert as the black goes down, and he's comfortably on his next red. A few shots later then tenth red needs all the pocket to drop into the bottom right, but green and another red follow and Higgins now needs snookers. Other than to get his arm moving if given the chance, he won't be coming back.

Higgins 0-1 Gilbert (4-22)

Gilbert drains a long red at the start of the second but overruns position on the black by fractions and he can only play safe from it thereafter. He gives away four a few shots later, before both players engage in reds-up-the-table safety again. Higgins makes the first mistake, leaving Gilbert a thin snick on a red to right middle, which is duly dispatched and position on the green is fluked to boot. Gilbert's in great touch this week, having already dispatched world champion Mark Selby, and he's got a great look at back-to-back one visit frames if he can shift a cluster of five reds below the pink spot.

Higgins 0-1 Gilbert

Even with a huge margin for error on this table Gilbert manages to leave an awkward cut on a red to left middle for frame ball. He drops it right into the middle of the pocket though, and goes on to make 79 before taking his eye off a red and missing to the bottom left. No matter, that's the first frame to Gilbert.

Higgins 0-0 Gilbert (52-0)

It's a half-century in no time at all as the black is dispatched to the bottom right. There are seven reds still out there, and potential for a sizeable visit.

Higgins 0-0 Gilbert (0-24)

After a long period of safety play at the start of the opening frame, Higgins has the first look at a pot but misses a deadweight red to left middle. He gambled everything on that, and as the players were playing the white to the bottom cushion and the reds up table, there are a load on here for Gilbert. He's motoring here, 24 already, and they look inviting enough to go in one hit here. All six colours are in the open.

Baizing time

Our MC Phil Seymour welcomes the players. Best of nine it is then for a place in the semi-finals.

Also tonight

On table two tonight Masters champion Yan Bingtao will face Mitchell Mann, with the winner to face either Higgins or Gilbert. We'll keep you abreast.

The Wizard and The Angry Farmer

In meaningful encounters these two have met seven times, of which Gilbert has won only one – a 5-2 victory in the 2017 World Open. There is one match and one match only that stands out between the two however; that 17-16 humdinger of a semi-final in the World Championship in 2019, edged by Higgins, which slid effortlessly into the packed canon of Crucible jaw-droppers. Just nine months ago Higgins also turned Gilbert over in the semi-finals of the Masters, so it’s fair to say that the Farmer might feel like he owes him one.

Good evening!

Welcome to live coverage of quarterfinal day at the 2021 Northern Ireland Open. It’s been quite the day so far, so let's quickly recap. Judd Trump, the defending champion, was eliminated earlier today by local boy Mark Allen. In pursuit of his fourth Northern Ireland title in a row, Trump missed frame ball to go 4-0 ahead and watched on as Allen reeled off five in a row to take the match.
In the match that followed, Ricky Walden and Shaun Murphy split the first eight frames to take us to a decider. Walden emerged victorious in a tense final frame just seconds ago and will face Allen in the semi-finals tomorrow.
That’s the elongated afternoon in the bank, eyes down for the evening. We’ll have John Higgins against David Gilbert for you shortly.

---

Trump 3-5 Allen

A brilliant match, not for the quality of the snooker, but for all the drama instead. You can watch Shaun Murphy vs Ricky Walden now who have had to wait their turn.
And we´ll be guiding you through the action later has John Higgins takes on David Gilbert and Yan Bingtao faces off with underdog Mitchell Mann.
Catch all that on Eurosport too.
See you then!

Mark Allen beats Judd Trump 5-3

Mark Allen, the man from Belfast, has made the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open for the first time in his career to the delight of the home crowd. Absolutely brilliant.
It won´t be four in a row from Judd Trump whose 25-match winning streak here comes to an end in dramatic fashion. Trump was three up, missed a routine red and from that moment on Allen seized his moment, rode his luck, and reeled off five frames in a row.
A classic in Belfast, with Allen the victory against the defending champion and world number two.

Trump 3-4 Allen (52-54)

One good shot is all Allen needs here but he misses the brown! Somehow, and for the 10th time today, Allen has gotten away with it and the brown remains safe.
It´s safeties again and Trump is in trouble as Allen rolls the white up against the black.

Trump 3-4 Allen (52-42)

Trump with a masterpiece of a shot to get on to the final red, but he misses it anyway! Allen is back at the table with this frame firmly in the balance...He snookers Trump, who cannot escape without giving Allen the final red on a plate.
Can he clear up from here?

Trump 3-4 Allen (21-41)

Can you believe it? Allen misses a red that was just as easy, if not easier, than the one Trump missed in the third.
Trump sinks a red on the angle and is back in this now. Allen should have taken the frame there.

Trump 3-4 Allen (20-26)

Trump goes for a long red but it´s far too thick, and he can only watch the cue ball slide into the pocket. In truth, he´s lucky because anywhere around the pocket would´ve left Allen with a field of reds. Allen makes it so himself by sinking a long red to the cheers of a crowd not sniffing a win here for the home favourite.
Can he win the match in one visit?

Trump 3-4 Allen (20-0)

Trump is utterly focused right now and knows he cannot afford any further slips. In the fourth frame he missed the easiest of reds, and in the fourth he fluffed one too. Now, Trump strings together a run of 20 before he is forced to go safe.

Trump 3-4 Allen

Allen has turned this right around. Brilliant. He´s one frame away after he was dead and buried. He´s playing his best stuff now and coasts into a 4-3 lead.

Trump 3-3 Allen (0-61)

Trump is going to need the last two frames here to avoid an exit because this one belongs to Allen.

Trump 3-3 Allen (0-22)

What a treat this is for the crowd. A thriller in Belfast and the best of the tournament so far for my money. Allen has ridden his luck but he´s still had to win these frames.
And he´s ahead in the seventh frame now too. The home favourite playing with much more confidence now, while Trump looks like he´s feeling the pressure.
We´ve not seen a century since the opener, and the last three especially have been very scrappy.

Trump 3-3 Allen

Allen has never been past this stage of his home event before, and an hour ago it looked like he´d be home by now. But Allen is back from 3-0 down and has turned this thriller around.
Trump leaves him a red at the end of this one and Allen takes that gift and sinks a black. He fluffs an easy red and Trump would need two snookers to take the frame, but the defending champion has seen enough of this frame and concedes.

Trump 3-2 Allen (9-63)

Allen racing into the lead in this frame but there are four reds surrounding the black and he´s going to need them. Ah, he puts a little too much on the pink and, with only five reds remaining, is at the end of this break because they´re all tied up with the cue ball tight to the cushion. He finishes his break with a good safety.

Trump 3-2 Allen (9-26)

Allen hands a foul and a miss to Trump, but it´s the northern Irishman who breaks the deadlock here with a red. He then nails the safety and it´s Trumps´s turn to foul. This frame, along with the last two, have been so utterly different to the first three it now feels like a different match.
Trump misses a red, misses it again, and is one miss away from handing Allen the frame. He doesn´t risk the same shot again, and instead hammers into the reds and gives Allen a huge chance here.

Trump 3-2 Allen (5-12)

If Trump has hit that frame ball in the fourth, he´d be home by now. Allen is back in this thanks to two very untidy frames, and all without playing his best snooker too.
Now, Trump needs this. But the two are already locked in a safety battle with all the reds tight to the bottom cushion. We could be here a while...

Trump 3-2 Allen (5-6)

Trump is in again first but that means little after the last frame where he took 61 from the off and still lost it.
A little pressure just creeping into Trump´s game here as he rattles the jaws on an awkward red. Allen is now at the table and kicks his frame off with a red and a blue.

Trump 3-2 Allen

I´m not sure how, but Allen is right back in this. It´s the most eventful frame of the tournament so far. Trump was flying through this one but Allen has clawed his way back and holds his hand up as the blank sinks, acknowledging a lucky frame. Not much Trump could do about that one.

Trump 3-1 Allen (61-50)

Trump fouls on his first try but lands the second. A bit of luck for the defending champ this time as the yellow remains safe...but WOW! Wow, wow, wow. Allen goes for the long yellow and bounces off the jaws, into the blue and into the middle pocket.
What´s more, he´s on the green! But Allen doesn´t take it because the blue is tied up. Trump is back at the table and snookered on the green. Allen has ridden his luck in this frame and he takes the green this time, then the brown. The blue is the hard one and he´s on it.

Trump 3-1 Allen (61-37)

Allen breaks the safety battle with a red and is back in the frame. He gets the black back on the spot and works his way into contention but there´s plenty left to do from here. 38 behind, 43 remaining. Another two blacks drop but Allen needs a nice angle on the pink. He goes for blue instead but makes a COMPLETE mess of positioning on the yellow. There´s not enough left-hand side and Allen has to settle for a safety.
But again, Allen´s luck continues in this frame as so often the balls have fallen kindly for him with Trump back at the table as he´s accidentally snookered the world number two.

Trump 3-1 Allen (61-1)

Allen pulls off a brilliant safety that forces Trump to leave a red out in the open. Allen gets on the scoreboard with a red and is so nearly on for the black too, but the cue ball rolls a little too far and his break of one ends there. Trump creates breathing space for himself by locking up the pink and the black, and at 60 down Allen needs those in play.
There´s nothing on for Trump who manages to screw the cue ball out of trouble.

Trump 3-1 Allen (61-0)

Trump is racing through this. A cannon into the pack isn´t perfect but one red bounces out and he sinks it. He´s a red and a black away from the frame but the cue ball sits too tight with the pink and keeps Allen alive in this one.

Trump 3-1 Allen (30-0)

Trump looks Zen out there, and I can´t imagine he thought for a second on that missed red in the final frame.

Trump 3-1 Allen (10-0)

Trump gets an easy start after mid-session interval as Allen leaves a red on. There´s a solitary clap as he sinks it. After that long frame that saw Allen claw one back, Trump could easily be on his way to four now anyway as he starts to work his way across the table.

Trump 3-1 Allen

Allen pots a truly brilliant green and clears up for his first frame of the afternoon and a lifeline ahead of the mid-session interval. After three quickfire frames, Allen has ground out the toughest of the bunch. But Trump handed it to him on a plate, what a red to miss and at what a time.

Trump 3-0 Allen (53-17)

Allen tries to take on a very dangerous red but instead hands a gift to Trump. The world number two sinks it, pots that troublesome pink, and is on his way to victory. But WOW, Trump has missed frame ball!
Surely this is Allen´s for the taking now!

Trump 3-0 Allen (46-17)

There´s plenty left to do but Trump is unlocking reds as he goes. But Trump misses the cannon off the reds after a black and that´s end of break, with two reds held tight to the left cushion.

Trump 3-0 Allen (2-17)

Such a cagey frame this and Allen is doing very well to stop Trump getting a proper visit to the table. But the home favourite is not playing at his best and cannot seem to get his rhythm going or string anything big together. He looks uneasy going for a red to the bottom left with the spider and it rattles the jaws of the pocket.
This is a brilliant frame and, given the awkward positioning of the reds, there´s plenty left in it.

Trump 3-0 Allen (1-11)

Allen returns with a long red for himself but again, there´s nothing left on. Trump fouls on a safety with far too much pace and gives Allen another visit to the table as well as four points. A kiss off the blue looked to have spoiled things but he takes a gutsy brown on and sinks it. He´s playing for survival in this game now and must make this count.

Trump 3-0 Allen (1-0)

It´s so clean from Trump who hits a long red and he´s very nearly on the black too but gets a small kiss off a red and must now return to his safety game.

Trump 3-0 Allen (0-0)

Absolutely crucial frame before the interval. The crowd give Allen a few encouraging shouts but it´s all a bit melancholy with Trump 3-0 up in under an hour.
A very cautious exchange of safeties tight to the pack kicks the fourth frame off and are we heading for an other re-rack? Nope, the cue ball is touching the red so Trump plays off tot he edge of the table.

Trump 3-0 Allen

That has to hurt...Trump makes no mistake on his third attempt at this one and steals the frame from underneath Allen who made a mess of things when the reds all looked easy there. Trump makes no mistake on a tricky brown and a run of 43 gives him the frame.

Trump 2-0 Allen (30-60)

Allen´s cue control lets him down as he just slides a little too far and misses the next red. Trump is back! But once again he squanders the chance to take a 3-0 lead with a red left dangling over the middle pocket!
All of a sudden the reds look very difficult and after Allen misses a red off the side, Trump is back at the table and has a third chance to clear up here...

Trump 2-0 Allen (30-46)

Just like that, Allen turns the frame around and should be able to clear up here. The remaining reds are all generously placed.
Trump will be kicking himself because he should be three up here.

Trump 2-0 Allen (30-0)

The reds are very nicely split after all that and Trump has a clear path towards the end of this frame too. We´ve not been going an hour yet and Trump could be 3-0 up in no time.
But no! Massive mistake from Trump who misses a routine red and hands a lifeline to Allen!

Trump 2-0 Allen (1-0)

The crowd comes to life as Allen snookers Trump early in the third frame thanks to a fortunate kiss off the yellow.
Trump prowls around looking for a safe shot to play and finds one. Allen then goes for an ambitious red into the middle pocket and misses it. Back at the table, Trump spreads the reds and can´t find a pot either. Ah, now Allen has caught a red very thick and Trump has a risky red to go for himself. But he sinks it right into the middle of the bottom right pocket and the crowd can´t help but applaud that one.

Trump 2-0 Allen

Trump falls short of back-to-back centuries as he misses a blue but a break of 91 gives him a 2-0 lead, leaving Allen in plenty of trouble because the Northern Irishman is yet to have a sniff and really needs the next frame on the board. If Trump goes 3-0 then that could be curtains for Allen.

Trump 1-0 Allen (68-0)

There were valid claims that Allen had played the better snooker so far prior to this match in Belfast, but Trump is at his best right now with cue control from the gods. The home crowd sound desperate to see some of their man Allen at the table because they are awfully quiet right now. Some polite applause as Trump goes 68 up leaving Allen in need of a snooker should he get back to the table.

Trump 1-0 Allen (27-0)

Allen lets Trump to the table from the break and he´s in quite fearsome form already to be honest. The world number 2, who will be back to number one by the end of the week, has a chance to open the reds up off the black and he does just that. But the red up next is a touch one and Trump can´t decide whether to straddle the table or get the spider out. He opts for the spider but doesn´t appear to like the look of either spider on his table. Ah, he´s wandered off to table 2 and come back with a spider he likes.
It´s a horrible shot to play, but Trump sinks it and then keeps the spider for later.

Trump 1-0 Allen (0-0)

Both players go for the same long red and each miss, with Allen very nearly sinking the black too.
RE-RACK
Ah, it´s a stalemate and both players agree to a re-rack after Allen left that black just over the bottom left. They are not here to mess around.

Trump 1-0 Allen

Brilliant. Trump opens up with a statement century that shows Allen he´s well in the mood for this one. He looked very confident on that second visit to the table.

Trump 0-0 Allen (60-17)

Allen leaves Trump a red and very quickly Trump is well ahead. The reds look good and he will take the frame as long as he takes care from here on in. He overscrews a red and is forced to go for the blue instead of the black but that shouldn´t matter too much because his cue ball is inch perfect after that.

Trump 0-0 Allen (14-17)

Allen strings together an iffy run of 17 before missing a difficult black. Trump is back at the table but can´t take his chance either as he cannons off the pack after a black and is left with nothing on.
Mark returns for a battle of safety shots.

Trump 0-0 Allen (0-1)

Remember, we´re best of nine now. No more funny business, the real snooker has started.
Trump leaves a red right over the bottom right pocket in the opening exchanges and so it´s first blood to Allen.

On the menu this afternoon

We´re kicking things off now with Judd Trump vs Mark Allen...
Then another belter between Shaun Murphy vs Ricky Walden a little later...

Trump - ´best atmosphere in years´

´It´s a game that I´m really looking forward to, Trump told Eurosport. ´Mark hasn´t had the best of runs here before and I know how much it means to him. He´s going to want to top his 147 off with a win. I´ve not really got going yet, but this will probably be the best atmosphere we´ve played in for two or three years.´

Trump vs Allen

The three-time defending champion up against the man in form. Trump has yet to hit his best but he´s on a 25-match winning streak in the Northern Ireland Open.
Home favourite Mark Allen is playing some of the best snooker of his life though and has already hit his first televised 147 this tournament.

Welcome back!

It´s quarter-time final time...

FRIDAY ORDER OF PLAY

Fri 15 12:00
  • Judd Trump v Mark Allen
Fri 15 14:00
  • Shaun Murphy v Ricky Walden
Fri 15 19:00
  • Yan Bingtao v Mitchell Mann
  • John Higgins v David B Gilbert
- -
Stream the Northern Ireland Open live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com.
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