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Allen Wins Fiery Joyce Showdown
Mark Allen enjoyed victory amidst a raucous atmosphere at the packed Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast, seeing off his bogey player Mark Joyce at the Coral Northern Ireland Open.
The Antrim potter had struggled in the past against the Englishman, who had won four of their five meetings prior to this evening. There’s no love lost between the pair and Allen added fuel to the fire ahead of their Belfast showdown by making comments in the press about his dislike of Joyce.
The tense atmosphere between the players was apparent from the start. Allen took the opening frame courtesy of a fluked blue to the middle, but then appeared to be unhappy with his opponent chalking his cue during his shot.
Allen trailed 52-17 in the third, before snatching the frame on the black with a clearance of 49. The 30-year-old was embracing the tempestuous atmosphere and punched the air after depositing the final ball. It proved to be a killer blow for Joyce with Allen running out a 4-1 winner.
“I’m happy with the win but not the performance,” said Allen. “There was a lot on the line in that match. I was at a home venue in front of family and friends. There was a lot of pressure and I’m happy with the way I handled that and got over the line.”
Joyce admitted that the better man won on the evening but felt the animosity from Allen stemmed from previous victories against him.
Joyce said: “It’s because I’ve got under his skin. I’ve played some good stuff against him. I played well at the German Masters when I played him. I’m not quite sure where it has all come from.”
World number four Ding Junhui suffered a shock defeat at the hands of fellow countryman Yu Delu. The Shanghai Masters Champion looked to be comfortable early on, as he established a 2-0 lead. However, Yu hit back to claim four frames on the bounce, making a century contribution of 104 on his way to a shock 4-2 win.
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Liang Wenbo continued his quest for the £1 million bonus attached to victory at all four Home Nations events thanks to a 4-1 defeat of Nigel Bond.
The English Open Champion struggled to find his feet early on in what was a drawn out affair. With the scores at 1-1 Liang eventually claimed a third frame which lasted nearly an hour. He eventually accelerated to the finish, making runs of 89 and 102.
Alan McManus came back from 3-2 down to win a final frame decider with fellow Scot Stephen Maguire.
The World Championship semi-finalist has yet to produce his best form this campaign. However, he looked to be in good touch this afternoon, making breaks of 64, 118, 68 and 60 on his way to the 4-3 win.
Kyren Wilson missed out on a gilt-edged chance for his first professional maximum during a 4-2 defeat of Hammad Miah.
The Warrior made 14 reds and blacks before missing a straightforward pot with the remaining balls at his mercy. Despite suffering the disappointment on missing out on a potential £10 thousand he remained professional and booked his place in tomorrow’s last 64.