Today’s williamhill.com UK Championship final pits two young, exciting, attacking players against each other in a fitting climax to a brilliant tournament.
Judd Trump has been joined in the final by Mark Allen, who displayed poise, purpose and great sportsmanship last night in beating Ricky Walden 9-7.
The irony of Allen’s comments about Barry Hearn is that he is exactly the sort of player Hearn is looking for to take the game forward.
He has terrific skill and like those other Northern Irish ranking event finalists – Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and Joe Swail – is a fighter.
He also has something about him as a person. I was impressed by his behaviour last night when he queried whether a red apparently moved by the referee had been pottable in its original position.
Allen was certainly used to winning before turning professional, which is one of the reasons he made such an immediate impact.
Allen captured the Northern Irish amateur title at every age level and went on to win the European junior title, European amateur championship and IBSF world amateur championship.
In his first match on TV he beat Steve Davis as a wildcard for the 2005 Northern Ireland Trophy. The next day he beat John Higgins.
He has always believed in himself and relishes competition but does not seem to enjoy the life of a professional.
I get the feeling Allen loves playing in big matches, it’s the slog of the circuit he dislikes.
He was reportedly unable to get on the plane to China last season for the Hainan Classic invitation tournament. This led to treatment for depression.
He seems happier now. Terry Griffiths is in his corner, which is a positive, and he has every reason to believe he can capture his first major title today.
Trump of course will be very difficult to beat. I don’t think he has played quite as well as he did at the Crucible but he has demonstrated fine battling qualities alongside his wonderful shot-making.
He really does seem to love everything about life as a pro. He also understands that being a snooker player is about more than just playing. Trump entertains. He interacts with fans on social media. He is a star.
He has had a fine year and it can end on a real high with him joining the list of greats on the UK Championship roll of honour.
This final could be a hard-hat area the way these two play; a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it parade of audacious potting and big breaks.
It promises to be a pulsating end to what has been a memorable week in York.