November 19th, 2023

MARK ALLEN lifted the Cazoo Champion of Champions trophy as he swept aside Judd Trump 10-3 in Sunday’s final.

The Pistol upset the odds to take the prestigious title for the second time in his career after winning in 2020, and with it the £150,000 first prize.

World Number 4 Allen put himself in control by storming into a 7-2 lead in the afternoon session, which left him needing only three frames in the evening to clinch the best of 19 final. Trump pulled back the first frame of the session, before Allen eased to victory.

This was World Number 2 Trump’s third consecutive Champion of Champions final – he won it in 2021 – and fifth final already this year, but the Ace in the Pack was out of sorts against his Northern Irish opponent, who made it 14-11 in head-to-head clashes.

Trump’s only consolation at Bolton’s Toughsheet Community Stadium was a runners-up cheque for £60,000, as he was pipped to the title for the second year running. Last year he was beaten 10-6 by Ronnie O’Sullivan despite hitting a 147 break.

Allen joined O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson as a multiple winner of Matchroom’s Champion of Champions. He dedicated his win to a close friend, Joe Shortt, who sadly passed away this year.

“That was for Joe,” said Allen. He added: “Judd has been outstanding this season and I am fed up texting him after every tournament to say ‘well done’ so it is nice to get one back on him.

“I’ve been working so hard to get my game back, so to come here and find some form, I really enjoyed it.”

The battle of the left-handers saw Allen settle first in the afternoon session, taking the opening frame with breaks of 30 and 59 as Trump failed to pot a ball. Trump responded with some sensational snooker as he levelled the match with a clearance break of 123.

Allen stole a tight third frame, and then came from behind to take the fourth by one point and lead at the interval.

Trump was the one making more errors of the two and Allen won the next to open up a 4-1 lead. The Antrim man was clinical and a fine break of 137 increased his lead further. It was his fifth century in this year’s Champion of Champions to put him halfway to the victory mark.

Allen turned the screw against out-of-sorts Trump in a scrappy seventh frame, moving into a 6-1 lead, and went further ahead with a 65 break in the next. The final frame of the afternoon session gave Trump a glimmer of hope as he claimed it to trail 7-2 at the break.

Trump gave the capacity crowd an immediate lift when he potted a long red with his opening shot of the first frame of the evening, and later compiled a 77 break to pull one back. Allen is known for his steely temperament, however, and he took the next two frames to move to 9-3 and within one of victory.

That victory was sealed soon after as Allen put together a break of 75 to complete a dominant display.

Trump, 34, has been the dominant player on the circuit so far this season by winning four titles, including successive ranking tournament triumphs at the English Open, Wuhan Open and Northern Ireland Open. However, it was Allen’s night.

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