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Allen – I Must Stay In Top 16

Masters champion Mark Allen is determined to continue his winning streak as he looks ahead to this week’s Coral Shoot Out in Watford.

Shoot Out match schedule

Allen enjoyed the best moment of his snooker career so far last month when he beat Kyren Wilson 10-7 in the Masters final to win his first Triple Crown event.

But the £200,000 top prize did not count towards his world ranking so the Northern Irishman is still in danger of dropping out of the top 16 in April, which would mean he would have to play three qualifying matches to reach the final stages of the World Championship.

He currently sits precariously in 16th place on the Race to the Crucible list with six counting events to go – starting with the Coral Shoot Out at the Watford Colosseum which runs from Thursday to Sunday.

“I have enjoyed the success but I can’t rest on my laurels,” said 31-year-old Allen. “I have to get back to the practice table and keep working. In the last few months I have been working on the right things to get my game into good shape, and that has paid off. You always question yourself on the practice table until you get that big breakthrough, so winning the Masters confirms that I have been doing the right things. If you can’t get confidence from winning the Masters then you never will.

“I’m still in danger of missing out on an automatic place at the Crucible. I need a strong end to the season to make sure I’m in the top 16 come April. There are a lot of big events coming up and I need to continue to play well.”

Allen reached the final of the Shoot Out in 2013, losing to Martin Gould, and enjoys the challenge of the fast and furious format. All matches last a maximum of ten minutes, with a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes and ten seconds for the last five.

“I’ll go to Watford, have some fun, try to concentrate during the matches and do my best,” he said. “Anything can happen in the Shoot Out format and that’s one of the reasons people enjoy it.

“It probably suits me more than some because I can play quickly, but it’s no good playing fast if you miss! I’ve been drawn against Tom Ford in the first round and he is one of the fastest on the tour so I couldn’t have had a much tougher opponent.”

Other top stars in Watford include Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, Jimmy White, Barry Hawkins, Luca Brecel, Kyren Wilson, Ali Carter, Ken Doherty and defending champion Anthony McGill. There are 128 players in the field in the ITV4-televised event, and a top prize of £32,000 up for grabs.

Tickets start at just £13.50 thanks to the current special winter offer – fantastic value for the chance to see snooker kings put to the test. There’s also a special student offer of £5 tickets on Thursday February 8th – use the code SNOOKER5 when booking (student ID needed).

For all ticket details CLICK HERE