First Round: John Higgins v Mark Allen Masters Snooker


First Round: John Higgins v Mark Allen

Similar Content

Browse content similar to First Round: John Higgins v Mark Allen. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Good afternoon. Since 1975, the Masters has been producing some

:00:34.:00:42.

unforgettable moments from Kirk Stevens's white suited 147, two Mark

:00:43.:00:48.

Williams's triumph over Stephen Hendry, to Ken Doherty's black for a

:00:49.:00:56.

maximum, to Paul Hunter's wrote back to the wall comebacks. And just when

:00:57.:01:00.

you thought it couldn't get better, came the first day of this year 's

:01:01.:01:08.

DAFABET Masters. No few sharp intakes of breath, all in pursuit of

:01:09.:01:10.

this little beauty. Away we go for what should be a

:01:11.:01:17.

fascinating week of snooker. He thought he would have a go at

:01:18.:01:32.

that, but surely that was the wrong choice of shot.

:01:33.:01:37.

What a chance this is. A little bit of pressure on it, as you can

:01:38.:01:39.

imagine. No! Can you believe it?

:01:40.:01:50.

Ronnie thought he was out, the anger Wenbo, how did he miss putting the

:01:51.:01:56.

black in? We have a deciding frame. That's probably the best part of

:01:57.:02:01.

this match so far. You can't take it away from the

:02:02.:02:04.

defending champion, Ronnie O'Sullivan. And he goes through to

:02:05.:02:10.

the next round, beating Liang Wenbo 6-5.

:02:11.:02:16.

Slow down, slow down, slow down, cue ball. Slow down, slow down.

:02:17.:02:25.

He's playing it to the left middle. Get in, you beauty. I'm lucky. Ding

:02:26.:02:33.

Junhui will be very disappointed. -- unlucky.

:02:34.:02:40.

Watched the right middle pocket. Watch the right middle pocket. Oh!

:02:41.:02:49.

In goes black. Sheik of the hand. He moves into the second round. He

:02:50.:02:52.

beats Kyren Wilson 6-3. Wenbo's twitch on the black that

:02:53.:03:03.

would have given him between will be seared in his memory. O Sullivan's

:03:04.:03:10.

and instinct kicked in after that after that emphatic century to win

:03:11.:03:16.

the decider 6-5. After Ding's near miss, he finished the job 6-3,

:03:17.:03:20.

despite admirable resistance from Kyren Wilson. Would you believe that

:03:21.:03:27.

it was Ding's first victory ever at Alexandra Palace, and his first

:03:28.:03:31.

victory since lifting the trophy at Wembley Arena in 2011.

:03:32.:03:35.

You have seen a lot in this tournament, but as opening days ago,

:03:36.:03:42.

that was pretty close to the top, wasn't it?

:03:43.:03:44.

It certainly was. When we look at the situation, you could argue it

:03:45.:03:51.

being unfair on Liang Wenbo, but we had an emergency board meeting last

:03:52.:03:58.

night. The black has been officially upgraded to a twitch. And who would

:03:59.:04:03.

miss a final black Rose! No names on that one. Ronnie felt

:04:04.:04:10.

sorry for him, clearly. John, does it go down as one of the most

:04:11.:04:13.

infamous misses in the sport? Honestly, he must have got to sleep

:04:14.:04:18.

last night and thought it was a nightmare. But he has woken up this

:04:19.:04:22.

morning and it is not a nightmare. On these tables, when you play these

:04:23.:04:28.

shots, you can't hit the near one. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a

:04:29.:04:31.

twitch. For Ding Junhui, he could have been

:04:32.:04:36.

the first man to make two maximums in the first round. I think it was a

:04:37.:04:40.

12th red to get position on the black. He was scrapping a long way

:04:41.:04:45.

to get it going. This was a brilliant shot.

:04:46.:04:48.

He went around the table. It was a break where you think to yourself,

:04:49.:04:51.

no, he is not going to do it, then yes, he is going to do it. He just

:04:52.:04:59.

lost position. We saw earlier, he had three foot to play the cue ball,

:05:00.:05:02.

I thought he would get the maximum. A theatrical start at Alexandra

:05:03.:05:08.

Palace in London. Let's see what Masters Monday brings for us. It

:05:09.:05:12.

features two men that have already made maximums this season, the world

:05:13.:05:16.

number three John Higgins, and become bitter, fiery Mark Allen, who

:05:17.:05:22.

made his first at the UK Championship a few weeks. Despite

:05:23.:05:25.

the fact that Higgins at having a fabulous season with two big

:05:26.:05:29.

back-to-back wins and a runner up spot at the recent Scottish open

:05:30.:05:33.

before Christmas, he is only just ahead in the head-to-head series.

:05:34.:05:38.

7-6, and despite beating the Antrim man twice already this season, Allen

:05:39.:05:43.

has knocked the Scott out of the Masters on two previous occasions

:05:44.:05:48.

they have met. It was at this last 16 stage. Higgins understandably

:05:49.:05:51.

wary in his pursuit of yet another triple Crown triumph.

:05:52.:05:56.

I would dearly love to do well here. I would love to get through the

:05:57.:06:01.

weekend. I have not done that for a fuel year 's. It would be great to

:06:02.:06:06.

get through the weekend, and see what happens. Obviously, there is a

:06:07.:06:10.

long way to go, and Mark is such a tough competitor to play against. I

:06:11.:06:13.

have do enjoy it and see where it takes me.

:06:14.:06:17.

John is a two-time winner of the Masters. Finding form in the last

:06:18.:06:22.

three months, but his record in this event has been strangely

:06:23.:06:25.

inconsistent. That is something you can possibly identify with.

:06:26.:06:28.

I think this is his own individual event that comes out of the blue.

:06:29.:06:35.

I don't think the track record during the season counts as much.

:06:36.:06:40.

There might be some players who are better placed to come straight into

:06:41.:06:45.

a big arena and play great straightaway, and others need to

:06:46.:06:49.

ease into it. Maybe we are trying to read into it too much.

:06:50.:06:55.

Three titles here, a lot of people said you should have had more

:06:56.:06:58.

success in this one over the years. Everyone is on offer in the first

:06:59.:07:03.

round, anybody can beat anybody. John Higgins tends to like this then

:07:04.:07:08.

you better than he did when the arena.

:07:09.:07:10.

He did not have a good record there, he didn't like the venue very much.

:07:11.:07:14.

When he went to the Crucible first time, he did not like that either,

:07:15.:07:18.

but he likes it more that he has won their more times. Mark Allen lost

:07:19.:07:25.

position in a couple of frames against him last time, and John got

:07:26.:07:30.

out of it. But this will be close. Mark loves this event. A decent

:07:31.:07:34.

record, twice a semifinalist, only once going out in the opening round.

:07:35.:07:38.

Why does it right in this atmosphere?

:07:39.:07:40.

He is a big occasion player. He likes being the centre of attention.

:07:41.:07:47.

As ever in the Masters, they have a stage for themselves. That is one of

:07:48.:07:51.

the beautiful thing about this event. It feels like a final in

:07:52.:07:57.

every session. Normal service is resumed, the best MC in the business

:07:58.:08:01.

of Rob Walker is back, take it away. Happy 2017 to you.

:08:02.:08:06.

Same to you, Hazel. I am delighted to be back at one of snooker's top

:08:07.:08:12.

tournament. What a great start yesterday here at the DAFABET

:08:13.:08:16.

Masters, Ronnie being taken all the way, and being going close to the

:08:17.:08:21.

maximum. We are set for another afternoon of entertainment here at

:08:22.:08:26.

the magnificent Alexandra Palace -- Ding. APPLAUSE

:08:27.:08:41.

Please welcome one of the most exciting break-builders in the

:08:42.:08:51.

modern game. Winning last year 's grand final, semis at the Masters

:08:52.:08:56.

two years ago, making the last four in the Champion of champions earlier

:08:57.:08:59.

in the season, the pride of Northern Ireland, here comes Mark The Pistol

:09:00.:09:02.

Allen. And His Opponent, A Player That Has

:09:03.:09:35.

Returned To His Very Best Form In The Last Few Months, Winning The

:09:36.:09:39.

China Championship And The Champion Of Champions In November, Runner Up

:09:40.:09:43.

In The Scottish Open Just Before Christmas Centres By, Twice Winner

:09:44.:09:53.

Of The Masters, The Wizard Of Wishaw John Higgins. APPLAUSE

:09:54.:10:10.

HAZEL IRVINE: Another 11 frame up this afternoon, we will be in the

:10:11.:10:19.

company of Stephen Hendry and John Virgo. Good afternoon.

:10:20.:10:24.

COMMENTATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Good afternoon, Hazel.

:10:25.:10:33.

This, to me, when the draw was made, was always going to be one of...

:10:34.:10:40.

REFEREE: Can we have the commentary off, please.

:10:41.:10:42.

COMMENTATOR: Sorry, guys. REFEREE: Paul, can you ring the

:10:43.:11:02.

office? We are still hearing the commentary.

:11:03.:11:35.

COMMENTATOR: We just had a slight problem there with the commentary

:11:36.:11:40.

feed coming out into the audience, we don't want to put the players. I

:11:41.:11:44.

was going to say, when the draw was made, this was one of the matches of

:11:45.:11:46.

the first round, for me. Yeah, this has got all the

:11:47.:12:08.

ingredients to be a 6-4 or a 6-5. If a player could win 6-1, it would be

:12:09.:12:13.

John Higgins, with the form he is showing.

:12:14.:12:17.

But I think it will be close. You can see the virtual reality

:12:18.:12:25.

view, no path back to baulk, he has to come off the side cushion. No

:12:26.:12:28.

room to run. REFEREE: Foul and a miss.

:12:29.:12:44.

Not able to see John Higgins leaving a chance. He just needs a little bit

:12:45.:12:46.

more pace into the cue ball. Just about missed the pink, but

:12:47.:13:21.

touching Ball has been declared by our referee, so a nice, easy return

:13:22.:13:30.

to ball for Mark Allen. This shot, I would be surprised if

:13:31.:13:34.

he played the snooker here, Mark Allen. You can see where the reds

:13:35.:13:37.

are, you can never gain an advantage with that. I would prefer to put the

:13:38.:13:42.

ball into the jaws of the green pocket, and forced John into playing

:13:43.:13:46.

a safety. Every chance of catching one thick there. You wouldn't expect

:13:47.:13:54.

to make a mistake here, and he hasn't done. Excellent shot.

:13:55.:13:59.

That's what John Higgins will do to you.

:14:00.:14:05.

Absolutely. That's a wonderful safety shot. Now all of a sudden,

:14:06.:14:10.

Mark Allen has got a problem. Didn't catch it quite right, but

:14:11.:14:24.

doesn't appear to have left anything easy.

:14:25.:14:36.

You have, as Steve Davis alluded to in the pre-match chat, there are no

:14:37.:14:45.

easy games, these are the top 16 players in the world. From round

:14:46.:14:53.

one, one-table situation, big crowd, always a great atmosphere.

:14:54.:15:01.

And it's really settled in at the Alexandra Palace. When we first

:15:02.:15:06.

started at the Wembley conference Centre, you thought, that couldn't

:15:07.:15:12.

be matched, but this has certainly, well, the Masters has found a new

:15:13.:15:14.

home, no doubt about that. This is a poor shot from John

:15:15.:15:45.

Higgins. I thought he might have been tended to play a figure contact

:15:46.:15:48.

of the bunch there, try to open them up a little bit. It is unforgivable

:15:49.:15:58.

to kiss the yellow, really. This looks a good cue ball from Mark

:15:59.:16:00.

Allen. The black becoming more and more

:16:01.:16:27.

locked up. Just a fraction too hard. The idea

:16:28.:17:03.

there was to try to stop the opponent playing safe down the

:17:04.:17:07.

right-hand side of the table as we look, but he's not done that, as you

:17:08.:17:08.

can see. Well, John has now stopped that

:17:09.:17:25.

escape down the right-hand side, and it is a little bit congested on the

:17:26.:17:29.

left-hand side. You have to catch the red very thin to get a return to

:17:30.:17:39.

baulk. Just letting the REFEREE: Have a look, which suggests to me

:17:40.:17:44.

that he is going to play this very thin safety, and it's got to be

:17:45.:17:45.

thin. Couldn't have played it better, good

:17:46.:17:50.

shot. REFEREE: Foul.

:17:51.:18:25.

Better of rattling it in-off the jaws and staying this end.

:18:26.:18:29.

It was one of those, like Mark Allen played previously, had to be caught

:18:30.:18:42.

very thing, but as I say, fortunate for going off.

:18:43.:19:06.

A little bit thick, but nothing really left.

:19:07.:19:43.

Court that too fin. Where is the cue ball going? -- Finn thin.

:19:44.:20:04.

Now, this time, John has sent one over to the corner. Does the blue,

:20:05.:20:18.

to his rescue? It doesn't, so first chance of a pot.

:20:19.:20:31.

Stopping short of the baulk line, will he be on a colour? Just

:20:32.:20:37.

stopping in time. He is on the green.

:20:38.:20:43.

The couple of roads above the black spot, if you bring the cue ball

:20:44.:20:51.

down, you have a choice of those to the right. He will have to play the

:20:52.:20:56.

one closest to the black spot. He needs the cue ball to stop again.

:20:57.:20:58.

Yes, that's perfect. I noticed yesterday, Stephen, these

:20:59.:21:12.

clocks are playing very, very quick. In a way, it is an advantage to have

:21:13.:21:19.

the first chance. It gives you a chance to get used to

:21:20.:21:28.

the pace of the table. A slippery, fast table suits Mark

:21:29.:21:32.

Allen's game. The way he plays snooker, a very compact cue action.

:21:33.:21:40.

Oh, he's missed that pink. He won't be happy about that. Very

:21:41.:21:43.

surprising. He maybe took his eye off the pot.

:21:44.:21:55.

Watching the cannon on the red. I know it's early in the first frame,

:21:56.:21:59.

but these players, you don't expect them to take time to warm up.

:22:00.:22:10.

He got the cannon, but didn't catch the red full enough, so he will only

:22:11.:22:21.

get one point from that mistake. REFEREE: Yellow ball.

:22:22.:22:47.

Just got to be a little bit wary when playing across the double here,

:22:48.:22:55.

that you don't catch it to click and get a double-kiss.

:22:56.:23:00.

No, he played it well. If it runs and the green covers the escape

:23:01.:23:03.

route down the right side of the table, it is very good. But not

:23:04.:23:05.

quite hard enough. Now, can he get past the green to

:23:06.:23:33.

play safe down the right-hand side of the table? I'm not certain he

:23:34.:23:40.

can. That's looking down the left side of the table. I just wonder

:23:41.:23:44.

whether he can get past the green to hit one of the reds around the pink

:23:45.:23:50.

spot area. If he can't, well, he can't, obviously. He's coming off

:23:51.:23:51.

the side cushion. And not touching, which is

:23:52.:24:12.

important. If it was touching, it would be straightforward safety.

:24:13.:24:17.

Just not touching either red. Too thick on the safety. But of

:24:18.:24:54.

course, we have had too much safety now, the reds are clustered

:24:55.:25:00.

together. The Blackett out of commission. The pink is out of

:25:01.:25:03.

commission. The portable red is now covered by the blue. -- pottable.

:25:04.:25:15.

I think it was John's intention to bring the black back into play. He

:25:16.:25:23.

has a good cue ball, don't get me wrong. He would have liked to have

:25:24.:25:25.

released the black. Now, then. We'll John Higgins be

:25:26.:26:01.

tempted. There is a red two up from the black, which is cut able. No. It

:26:02.:26:10.

is too whiskey. -- risky. Playing the double. Oh, and not far

:26:11.:27:13.

away. Noted, Stephen, as one of the best Doublers in the game.

:27:14.:27:27.

Yes, one of the best I have seen. Well, that was half the chance.

:27:28.:27:31.

That's why, of course, players don't like playing the double. If you hit

:27:32.:27:36.

the wrong jaw comic you can leave a pot on, which it did. But Mark

:27:37.:27:38.

couldn't take advantage of it. Well, as you can see, this would be

:27:39.:27:55.

a very good pot, this. Only half the pocket is available.

:27:56.:28:01.

Couldn't have played it better. What a good shot that was.

:28:02.:28:09.

Well, there is obviously one to the left of the black that would go. He

:28:10.:28:12.

would like the one to the right of the black to be pottable.

:28:13.:28:18.

Yeah, it really helps a positional side of the shot if both reds go.

:28:19.:28:28.

Didn't play to have the cue ball anywhere near to the yellow. He's

:28:29.:28:29.

OK. Always got to be careful with this

:28:30.:28:53.

type of shot. Don't take your eye off the pot. He's not certain to be

:28:54.:29:01.

on a red. O'Connell well, that's a bonus. The

:29:02.:29:07.

black now goes on the pink spot. He will settle for that. -- own, well.

:29:08.:29:20.

This is the red he intended to be on, so he's played it. He's got that

:29:21.:29:31.

read nicely in the open on the black spot, but still a lot of work to do.

:29:32.:29:38.

Only one loose red to play for. -- he's got that red.

:29:39.:29:50.

Certainly reinvented himself this season, hasn't he, Stephen, John?

:29:51.:30:04.

Yeah, that six-week or two-month period before Christmas was

:30:05.:30:10.

incredible run of form, with those two Invitational events

:30:11.:30:15.

back-to-back, and getting to the final of the Scottish open. It was a

:30:16.:30:22.

disappointing end, losing eight frames in a row against Marco Fu, so

:30:23.:30:26.

you don't know whether he just ran out of steam or what. Perhaps in the

:30:27.:30:34.

break over Christmas and the New Year he has recharged the batteries.

:30:35.:30:41.

Just about stopped in time. I think it has, anyway. Yeah, his

:30:42.:30:47.

performance in the Champion of champions where he beat Ronnie

:30:48.:30:53.

O'Sullivan from 7-7, the last three frames was vintage John Higgins.

:30:54.:31:21.

A bit fortunate to be on this red. That's not as he played it. To get

:31:22.:31:33.

the second kiss was a bonus. There is a lot of things can go wrong on a

:31:34.:31:37.

snooker table so when you have a bit of luck, take full advantage.

:31:38.:31:47.

66 points he needs to get to, so another 26 from here, but easier

:31:48.:31:52.

said than done. Considering where the balls were,

:31:53.:32:40.

that was an excellent 46 break. Striking down, as he was, you could

:32:41.:32:45.

see the cue flick up in the air, but he's not left anything.

:32:46.:33:28.

Might have taken the risk of going for that there to the left hand side

:33:29.:33:35.

of the pocket. The cue ball down towards the black. It wasn't going

:33:36.:33:37.

to leave anything. APPLAUSE.

:33:38.:33:51.

Well, it's OK, but if he's left a path to the red on the left hand

:33:52.:33:58.

side, which he has, problem for John to get the cue ball back to the

:33:59.:34:05.

baulk end. I don't think Mark minds John seeing this red, it means he

:34:06.:34:11.

gets it away from the cushion, being 34 behind. He could be in trouble.

:34:12.:34:14.

Big target behind brown and green. A bit surprised the way John played

:34:15.:34:25.

that. I think he didn't really want to bring it away from the cushion.

:34:26.:34:30.

He thought, if I'm bringing it away, I'll try and knock it and tie it up

:34:31.:34:35.

with the other reds. He was never going to gain any great advantage

:34:36.:34:37.

playing it like that. But one of the best tacticians in

:34:38.:34:48.

the game, John Higgins, so I don't like to question his shot choice.

:34:49.:35:00.

Yes, I'm certainly not going to question anyone in the tactical

:35:01.:35:03.

department. But he won't be happy with that one. A choice of reds here

:35:04.:35:11.

to either corner. On to the left is possibly the easier pot but where is

:35:12.:35:16.

the cue ball going? Looks certain to run into one of the reds near the

:35:17.:35:22.

top cushion so you'd be trusting him to look for the position. This the

:35:23.:35:24.

more difficult pot. A bit edgy in this round to me Mark

:35:25.:35:45.

Allen. Three pots now by quite a distance.

:35:46.:36:02.

Somebody is taking their seat. I thought they had stewards on the

:36:03.:36:08.

door stopping people coming in in the middle of a frame.

:36:09.:36:14.

APPLAUSE. He's going to be on the blue.

:36:15.:36:40.

Quite easy to get into the cue ball too much there and cannon the brown.

:36:41.:36:51.

Great chance to win the opening frame. Yes. Two reds and two colours

:36:52.:37:01.

would be enough. This red and one more colour would

:37:02.:37:39.

need his opponent needing snookers because after this, there's only 51

:37:40.:37:47.

remaining. So this black to go 54 points in the lead. With 51 left.

:37:48.:38:06.

Quick glance at the score board. At the moment, only one snooker

:38:07.:38:18.

required. And John Higgins may have got that snooker himself. OK easy to

:38:19.:38:26.

hit but it will certainly encourage Mark Allen to play on here.

:38:27.:38:50.

Very important there, he didn't leave Mark Allen a pot. He'll be a

:38:51.:38:56.

wee bit annoyed that he hasn't finished this frame off. This frame

:38:57.:39:03.

could go on for another 15-20 minutes now. It's already

:39:04.:39:06.

approaching the half hour mark. I would like to have a little birth

:39:07.:39:17.

bet though that this is going to be the longest frame of the match. I

:39:18.:39:22.

expect both players to pick it up. They're both scorers when they get

:39:23.:39:23.

in. It's a typical first frame. As you say, he'll be a little

:39:24.:39:37.

annoyed because he should have been on the red that kept his opponent in

:39:38.:39:46.

his seat. Snooker quite easy to hit but he doesn't really want to leave

:39:47.:39:53.

a pot on. And he has done. So that will encourage Mark now to at least

:39:54.:40:01.

pot two of the reds with blacks. A bit annoyed there. He wanted to

:40:02.:40:03.

catch that thinner. Is he going to play the pot here? I

:40:04.:40:27.

think he's going to send the red around the table. Played the pot. A

:40:28.:40:39.

decent one. Those baulk colours are in good positions.

:40:40.:40:57.

What you would try to do if you could is get the cue ball tight in

:40:58.:41:08.

behind one of these baulk colours. Not bad. .

:41:09.:41:25.

A little bit of room around this red. He had the one cushion escape.

:41:26.:41:39.

At this level, if you leave the one cushion escape, you don't expect

:41:40.:41:44.

your opponent to miss. Now, can he get enough bite in this cue ball to

:41:45.:41:47.

stun the cue ball behind the brown? The red could career into the green

:41:48.:42:07.

if he played that. If he tries to stun behind the green, good cueing

:42:08.:42:11.

needed. He's trying to drop in behind it. He's played it pretty

:42:12.:42:14.

well. The fact that John Higgins is

:42:15.:42:21.

getting down quickly, the one cushion escape is on.

:42:22.:42:33.

That's a bonus. He's got the snooker back.

:42:34.:42:46.

It's easy to hit - needs to get it safe. Well, said easy to hit. That's

:42:47.:42:54.

careless. He's hit the black, probably left a free ball, touches

:42:55.:42:58.

the white, concedes. So it was a long, drawn out affair. And a little

:42:59.:43:04.

bit of tension, you could see, in Mark Allen, but John Higgins won't

:43:05.:43:07.

mind, he's got the first frame on the score board. 1-0.

:43:08.:43:13.

32 minutes opening frame. Cagey stuff. John through in the end.

:43:14.:43:19.

One of the best match-players in game and he always plays the right

:43:20.:43:23.

shots and generally plays to a very high standard which is why he's won

:43:24.:43:26.

the matches that he has over his career. A bit of a renaissance in

:43:27.:43:32.

his career, played brilliant this season and, as ever, he's a match

:43:33.:43:36.

for anybody. A proper renaissance. World number three, up from six at

:43:37.:43:41.

the start of the season, the highest ranking since winning the title back

:43:42.:43:46.

in 2011, that's season 2011-12. A couple of dips along the way, but

:43:47.:43:51.

the longevity of the man is striking? Especially as you think as

:43:52.:43:55.

you get older you don't handle the pressure matches as well. It's a

:43:56.:43:59.

tightrope walk out there and these match tables are incredibly tricky

:44:00.:44:04.

to play on, slippery as well. Watching the likes of John, he knows

:44:05.:44:08.

how to cope with these types of tables. Even though he's supposed to

:44:09.:44:17.

have a long back swing, a long pull back far longer than Mark Allen's

:44:18.:44:20.

which is short and sharp and works well on these tables, I spotted that

:44:21.:44:26.

John Higgins has his bridge hand close. The closer you have your

:44:27.:44:31.

hand, that means you stop yourself pulling the cue back so far and you

:44:32.:44:34.

could have a shorter back swing which is more controllable on the

:44:35.:44:36.

faster cloths. OK. Technical tips. Now it's frame

:44:37.:44:42.

two! Good tip that from Steve. Didn't

:44:43.:44:53.

really help Mark Allen in that first frame. Stephen mentioned that he's

:44:54.:45:02.

good on a quick table in and around the pink and black spot area. But he

:45:03.:45:08.

missed that during that frame which probably knocked his confidence a

:45:09.:45:11.

bit. I'm sure he'll put that behind him now.

:45:12.:45:24.

When we talk about this super fine cloths, I can only equate it to

:45:25.:45:35.

playing this in the middle. Not quite. I was just going to say, I

:45:36.:45:42.

can only equate it to playing golf. I remember once playing in Dubai and

:45:43.:45:47.

the greens were so fast and you feel when you're putting you're sort of

:45:48.:45:52.

half quitting on the shot just to keep control of it.

:45:53.:46:07.

I wonder if John will risk the cannon here.

:46:08.:46:17.

Good, solid pot. But now he's got the problem of covering that red

:46:18.:46:19.

that's over the left corner. Talking about the cloths again, if

:46:20.:46:36.

you put this in a club, it would last a week. They are so super fine

:46:37.:46:40.

and slippery but they lose their edge after just a few days' play.

:46:41.:46:45.

They're not economical. Not compared with the cloths in the

:46:46.:46:55.

Snooker Club, and I'm not having a go because they have to last six,

:46:56.:46:59.

nine months. They've gone for a rerack immediately. A good idea

:47:00.:47:03.

really. Didn't look as though there was going to be a sudden end to

:47:04.:47:12.

that. Steve was talking about the cue action of Mark Allen and he's

:47:13.:47:18.

right, a little jabby sort of action. But as we saw in the first

:47:19.:47:22.

frame, he was in, first one in, and he had this pink to the middle and

:47:23.:47:27.

just watch his cue action, a little short. Brings it back. And then

:47:28.:47:36.

pushes it through. But to miss that and that would have been really a

:47:37.:47:44.

knock to his confidence. If we get a Hans to see John Higgin's action,

:47:45.:47:51.

it's pretty similar. Most of the top players these days, the tip of the

:47:52.:47:55.

cue comes back to virtually between their thumb. Their thumb and

:47:56.:48:03.

forefinger. So it's not a common cue action these days, Mark Allen's.

:48:04.:48:07.

It's very effective when he gets going.

:48:08.:48:13.

A tap on the table from John Higgins.

:48:14.:48:21.

Going to play the snooker with pace. He is. Caught the blue. Couldn't

:48:22.:48:33.

have played it much better. Can Mark have a two at the red and avoid the

:48:34.:48:35.

kiss on the black? He could. Now, the cue ball needs to

:48:36.:48:47.

run in and out of the baulk, needs to miss the green. He could have a

:48:48.:48:52.

cut on the brown. Obviously an easy snooker but I don't think he's going

:48:53.:48:54.

to get much advantage from that. Obviously he doesn't fancy the

:48:55.:49:07.

brown. He's covered the left hand side

:49:08.:49:24.

escape. But... What did he say, rerack? !

:49:25.:49:25.

LAUGHTER. There was never really any danger of

:49:26.:49:40.

John leaving him anything. Yes. A better shot would have been putting

:49:41.:49:45.

the cue ball on the baulk cushion somewhere. He was never going to

:49:46.:49:47.

gain advantage from that shot. It's difficult. It would have been

:49:48.:50:05.

easier from where he was a second ago.

:50:06.:50:18.

You can see the edge of the red on the left hand side of the table. But

:50:19.:50:26.

you have to be careful, if you catch it too thick you could not go

:50:27.:50:29.

towards the corner. Played it nicely but he may have

:50:30.:50:44.

left a pot on. Just run far enough...

:50:45.:50:51.

The applause was justified from the audience. Doesn't want the double

:50:52.:50:56.

kiss. Got the double kiss. Choice of pink or black. Pink is an

:50:57.:51:39.

easier pot and position. Excellent opportunity. I don't know

:51:40.:53:28.

whether he feels the need to go into them.

:53:29.:53:31.

Because there is a red on the right hand side of the table. That's the

:53:32.:53:48.

one he's going to play for. He's got 39. He needs another 30 points. Then

:53:49.:54:03.

the frame will be safe. But to do that, although there is still one

:54:04.:54:08.

more loose red available, he's going to have to disturb that cluster at

:54:09.:54:12.

some time to win the frame at this visit.

:54:13.:54:23.

John Higgins' head visibly shakes. A couple of players, like Mark Selby,

:54:24.:54:28.

there's a bit of movement there too. Gone into them and it couldn't have

:54:29.:54:50.

worked out better. Surely he'll win the frame now.

:54:51.:55:44.

APPLAUSE. One of the best scores a game of

:55:45.:55:54.

snooker has ever seen if he gets in amongst that black ball and plays

:55:55.:55:57.

the right shot. Knows exactly when the right time is

:55:58.:56:09.

to go into the bunch. 656 century breaks he's made in his

:56:10.:56:26.

career, third on the all-time list. I looked at the score board there. I

:56:27.:56:41.

don't know why he's on 87. There was an air of inevitability

:56:42.:57:05.

about this when John did get that chance.

:57:06.:57:23.

Well played. Fifth century of the Masters so far, and this is only the

:57:24.:57:29.

third match. APPLAUSE.

:57:30.:57:41.

Good shot needed to get a position on the yellow. Needs to miss the

:57:42.:57:57.

pink. Didn't quite. What do they call 111 at cricket - Nelson.

:57:58.:58:00.

APPLAUSE. Well, that was a tremendous break

:58:01.:58:09.

and John Higgins proved it once again, that he can score as well as

:58:10.:58:13.

anyone when he gets in the balls and he now leads 2-0.

:58:14.:58:21.

There was an incident in that frame where Mark Allen potted the first

:58:22.:58:29.

red, Stephen and he had a choice, he had a thin brown, decided to play

:58:30.:58:34.

the snooker behind the blue and you have a thought about this? To me,

:58:35.:58:39.

this is lazy. To roll up behind the green is just gaining no advantage

:58:40.:58:43.

whatsoever. We have seen a shot forward, John Higgins came off the

:58:44.:58:47.

left side cushion and went into the bunch, then Mark Allen had to find

:58:48.:58:51.

the baulk cushion off the next shot, whereas here if he doesn't want to

:58:52.:58:56.

take the brown which I agree on the on the corner there, leave the cue

:58:57.:59:00.

ball tight, force John to play into the bunch and open things up. To me

:59:01.:59:06.

this was just a nothing shot. And also, because I didn't think about

:59:07.:59:09.

it at the time, but why is he trying to cover the left hand side of the

:59:10.:59:12.

table? It's the right hand side of the table he should have been

:59:13.:59:18.

covering because he's two loose reds on the cluster which John could have

:59:19.:59:22.

left, put his arm up and said thank you to the crowd but didn't gain any

:59:23.:59:27.

advantage. Only had one more shot after that.

:59:28.:00:09.

Well, that's a terrific pot. And having lost the first two frames, he

:00:10.:00:20.

needs to, for his own self-confidence, take full advantage

:00:21.:00:28.

of that to reflect opening red. -- that terrific opening red.

:00:29.:00:36.

Yeah, that was a fabulous shot. He controlled that little cannon well

:00:37.:00:38.

as well. I think he's got just enough angle

:00:39.:01:03.

on the black to force the cue ball to the red in the same pocket.

:01:04.:01:31.

A little shake of the head there when he got position on the black.

:01:32.:01:40.

Deep screw, bit of right-hand side, nicely on this red.

:01:41.:01:47.

But just misjudged the kiss off the second red. OK, he is still on the

:01:48.:01:50.

black, but a bit thinner than he would have liked.

:01:51.:01:54.

The three red Star victory in a line above the black, he would like to

:01:55.:01:59.

cannon into the side of those three. That would hold the cue ball in the

:02:00.:02:05.

centre of the table. He has done. He could have done with a wee bit more

:02:06.:02:11.

pace, though. It is the red he wanted to play on, but he could have

:02:12.:02:19.

hit it a wee bit harder. I think that's end of break. A possibility

:02:20.:02:25.

of maybe piling the plant -- playing the plant to the left corner.

:02:26.:02:33.

Those two reds to the left-hand side of the table. He can play it as a

:02:34.:02:35.

shot to nothing. He doesn't appear to have looked at

:02:36.:02:50.

that possibility. He just had a little sly look there.

:02:51.:02:57.

He just cocked his head to one side. If he is going to play safe, I know

:02:58.:03:02.

they are not in line, but if you play safe of the red, well, he is

:03:03.:03:06.

playing this to the far right corner pocket.

:03:07.:03:12.

Is it there? Not quite, but he's obviously played it in such a way

:03:13.:03:22.

that he does not leave anything. Having said that, I think there is a

:03:23.:03:27.

possibility of red to the white middle here, and if there is, that

:03:28.:03:30.

was a very risky pot to go for. I think what John putts site remiss

:03:31.:03:47.

is where the cue ball will screw back. He maybe we'll have to come

:03:48.:03:55.

off the condition. He was worried about that, losing

:03:56.:04:00.

the cue ball. Yeah, and it was one of those, if

:04:01.:04:05.

you play it with too much pace, it makes the pot that much more

:04:06.:04:10.

difficult. But he is still on this black.

:04:11.:04:13.

Oh, but not quite. So, a second opportunity for Mark

:04:14.:04:45.

Allen to get his first frame on the scoreboard. Nothing settles you

:04:46.:04:46.

better than that. That's not a bad little nudge on the

:04:47.:04:59.

red. All these nice positions, if you

:05:00.:05:22.

come the wrong side of the blue, you have the red at baulk end. He will

:05:23.:05:28.

be a little bit disappointed if he doesn't win the frame at this visit.

:05:29.:05:36.

The reason he's looking at a baulk colour is, he feels that if he plays

:05:37.:05:43.

the blue, he has two played a cannon. And he doesn't really want

:05:44.:05:44.

to risk a cannon. It could go wrong. Unless he can pop one to this right

:05:45.:06:05.

corner, it is not inch perfect. Well, he's obviously just about on

:06:06.:06:07.

it, no problem. That equates, 52 ahead, 83

:06:08.:06:37.

remaining, a couple of reds, a couple of colours. He is past the

:06:38.:06:41.

snooker is required stage. -- -- snookers required stage. Red,

:06:42.:07:08.

Lou, red needed. But needed two chances, Stephen. It was a risky red

:07:09.:07:11.

that he played to the far right corner.

:07:12.:07:17.

Yeah, if John had got on the black properly, or potted the black, he'd

:07:18.:07:26.

have been mopping these up. -- red, blue, red.

:07:27.:07:33.

Good snooker term, "Mopping these up"! That should be the

:07:34.:07:38.

frame-winner. And now the black goes in. No way

:07:39.:07:52.

that John Higgins will be getting back to the table. He will be

:07:53.:07:56.

mightily relieved, Mark Allen. He has his first frame on the

:07:57.:07:59.

scoreboard. He will feel a lot better now. That

:08:00.:08:04.

opening red at the start of the frame will have given him a huge

:08:05.:08:07.

confidence boost. Well, it didn't really matter. He

:08:08.:08:49.

will be pleased to get his first frame on the scoreboard. John

:08:50.:08:53.

Higgins had a chance, missed the black on the spot. Mark Allen did

:08:54.:08:55.

the rest. 2-1, John Higgins. John, as you said, that first frame

:08:56.:10:02.

of 32 minutes, we don't expect too many frames or buy a -- frames like

:10:03.:10:07.

that in this match. Well, decent break-off shot. Any

:10:08.:10:30.

time you don't leave a pot on nowadays, you consider it a good

:10:31.:10:36.

break-off shot. Now, can John just get past the blue to play a thin

:10:37.:10:42.

edge on this red? It would have to be mightily thin.

:10:43.:10:50.

The shadows, so he can just hit the red. He has got to catch it thin

:10:51.:10:58.

now. Not that thin. REFEREE: Foul and a miss.

:10:59.:11:05.

I don't think it will be taken here, because there is a red to the right

:11:06.:11:11.

corner. It is on for Mark Allen. Similar situation to John Higgins

:11:12.:11:20.

playing a similar red with a cannon. Mark Allen, he has to play top half

:11:21.:11:32.

black ball, but he hasn't got the pink to the middle.

:11:33.:11:36.

Again, another good, long pot. He can certainly pot the pink, I

:11:37.:11:49.

think he is just wondering where the pink will go after it has been

:11:50.:11:55.

ported. Long pot success, but four out of six four Mark Allen. John

:11:56.:12:01.

Higgins, one out of one. This time, it looks like he has come

:12:02.:15:54.

pretty straight on the blue. It is not ideal. Right online.

:15:55.:16:12.

Trying to pinch a bit of the pocket. You have got to say, a schoolboy

:16:13.:16:22.

error, that. We could see along the line, it was going to be very

:16:23.:16:25.

difficult to pinch a bit of the pocket. Never sacrificed the pot for

:16:26.:16:30.

position. Pink obviously available into the

:16:31.:17:41.

right corner. He just overran it slightly.

:17:42.:17:53.

No problem. Good pot. Played the cannon well.

:17:54.:18:12.

Little bit tricky, this black. But he will play it in such a way that

:18:13.:18:33.

these are miss- able. It looked as if it just drifted up slightly.

:18:34.:18:37.

The thing is, playing it at that pace, it could run over a finger

:18:38.:18:41.

mark, a bit of tour, but it definitely looked as though it

:18:42.:18:46.

pulled to the left. -- a bit of chalk. That is a let off

:18:47.:18:54.

for Mark Allen. Can he make this Holmes to the left Middle?

:18:55.:19:05.

-- this red to the left middle. A traffic opportunity to go into the

:19:06.:19:26.

mid-session interval all square -- terrific. Some of the mistakes he

:19:27.:19:29.

has made, I would suggest he would feel the better of the two players,

:19:30.:19:32.

Stephen. Yeah, without a doubt.

:19:33.:19:42.

When you find yourself 2-0 down in a match when there is an interval

:19:43.:19:49.

after the fourth frame, you kind of thing 3-1 down is a decent was. 2-2

:19:50.:20:02.

is a bonus. -- decent result. A quick glance at the scoreboard.

:20:03.:20:08.

Maybe three of the remaining reds, depending what colours he gets on.

:20:09.:20:15.

But he's overhit that. Played for the pink, but well, he's still on

:20:16.:20:27.

the pink, but it's a lot more difficult than it should have been.

:20:28.:20:32.

But right in the heart of the pocket, and a nice, traditional

:20:33.:20:41.

shot. He's now looking for red, colour, red, to go in level at the

:20:42.:20:46.

mid-session interval. So this red to go 49 point ahead

:20:47.:20:51.

with only 43 remaining. No way that John Higgins will come

:20:52.:21:32.

back to the table. John Higgins will be disappointed here. He's had

:21:33.:21:35.

chances to stamp his authority on this. But they are going to go in

:21:36.:21:42.

all square. John Higgins concedes. He will be disappointed. Mark Allen

:21:43.:21:47.

will be absolutely delighted. He's made mistakes, but he is all square

:21:48.:21:50.

at the mid-session interval, to live in two. HAZEL IRVINE:. A couple of

:21:51.:21:59.

instances in the last round, with his cue action, we talked about the

:22:00.:22:03.

contrasting cue action of them, how did it manifest itself?

:22:04.:22:09.

Like Stephen said in commentary, I am not saying he can't play power

:22:10.:22:12.

shots, but this is the disadvantage of having a short, it Japanese cue

:22:13.:22:19.

action. A little bit pokey, really. This one, not much angle on this. I

:22:20.:22:25.

understand what he's trying to do. Sometimes you have to put power in

:22:26.:22:28.

at it can affect you. He will be delighted to get out to two after

:22:29.:22:33.

those were stakes. It doesn't happen often.

:22:34.:22:36.

Your view so far, Steve? There is always tension in the

:22:37.:22:40.

match, perhaps both players haven't settled down. That is the nice thing

:22:41.:22:45.

about best of 11, it gives people a chance, especially when you are

:22:46.:22:48.

thrown in at the deep end, especially when you're first round

:22:49.:22:49.

opponent is tough. When John looks at the record, it is

:22:50.:22:54.

not something you actively look at before you play a match, but he will

:22:55.:22:59.

be aware that Mark has turned him over a couple of times in this

:23:00.:23:03.

arena. Is there a cagey Ness? Is eventually give you respect for

:23:04.:23:08.

your opponent. You have the cream of the crop, and when the draw came

:23:09.:23:11.

out, both of them would have gone, oh, no.

:23:12.:23:19.

In my experience playing this event, as a separate event to the main tour

:23:20.:23:23.

as much as the ranking events, coming in here to play a first round

:23:24.:23:28.

opponent who is decent, I very rarely settled down that quickly.

:23:29.:23:31.

Then you can be on the back foot for the rest of the match.

:23:32.:23:35.

We saw what happened with Ronnie coming back yesterday and putting

:23:36.:23:39.

the defending champion out, it is a tough ask the John Higgins today,

:23:40.:23:42.

but it has been intriguing and interesting. In the last few months,

:23:43.:23:46.

John Higgins, what a resurgence. Two back to back big wins and a

:23:47.:23:53.

runner-up in the Scottish open, banking ?300,000 over the last 2.5

:23:54.:23:57.

months. Christmas must have been good in the Higgins household.

:23:58.:24:01.

Surging back up to world number three in the rankings. John Higgins

:24:02.:24:04.

at the age of 41 is very definitely on the rise again. A fellow better

:24:05.:24:10.

in old boy, pardon the expression, Ken Doherty had a big discussion

:24:11.:24:12.

with him yesterday in our big interview.

:24:13.:24:17.

We are at the Masters, a great tournament got 23 appearances this

:24:18.:24:24.

year, winning twice, but in the mix you have had a lot of first round

:24:25.:24:28.

defeat as well, so a bit of a hot and cold tournament for you.

:24:29.:24:32.

It is too soon after Christmas. Too much turkey!

:24:33.:24:36.

You know it is tough to get back into it. But I have lost 11 times in

:24:37.:24:42.

the first round. I have never really settled at the Masters. Winning it a

:24:43.:24:46.

couple of times and going to a couple of finals, but apart from

:24:47.:24:50.

that, the record is not that great. Did you prefer the conference

:24:51.:24:54.

centre? You had more success there. You won it twice in the conference

:24:55.:24:56.

and. I feel better here. The conference

:24:57.:25:01.

centre is such a fast arena. You can get lost quite easily. You can go

:25:02.:25:07.

into your shell a little bit. Wembley Arena is pretty soulless,

:25:08.:25:12.

such a big arena, but here, I like this event. I like this arena

:25:13.:25:16.

better. Conference centre was special, but I feel a little bit war

:25:17.:25:21.

at home here. It has created its own home now. At

:25:22.:25:26.

Alexandra Palace, the crowds have been fantastic. It is a wonderful

:25:27.:25:29.

atmosphere. It is great. The darts is played

:25:30.:25:35.

here, and they get great crowd in. We get the tail end of that. Snooker

:25:36.:25:41.

is maybe coming up, and that is why the crowds are so good.

:25:42.:25:45.

Your best moment, the final frame decider against Ronnie O'Sullivan

:25:46.:25:48.

back in 2000? My best moment was beating you.

:25:49.:25:55.

I did want to say that, but I didn't want it coming from me.

:25:56.:26:02.

1998, winning the Masters for the first time, it was a great

:26:03.:26:08.

achievement. But then, obviously, winning the second time, that was

:26:09.:26:10.

the last time it was at the conference centre. Beating Ronnie, I

:26:11.:26:14.

lost a couple of heavy finals to Ronnie. I managed to clear up.

:26:15.:26:21.

Is that one of the best ever clearances of your career?

:26:22.:26:25.

I think that was special. The nerves and everything, and the atmosphere

:26:26.:26:32.

of the crowd. Particularly the first round, that

:26:33.:26:35.

first round never looked like it would drop, did it?

:26:36.:26:38.

I don't know what happened, someone must have opened a door. I have

:26:39.:26:43.

watched it back a few times, and I think, there is no way that is going

:26:44.:26:49.

in. I was going over to shake his hand, because I thought it was never

:26:50.:26:53.

reaching. And the rest is history. This

:26:54.:26:58.

season, particularly, has been a revival for you in many ways. You've

:26:59.:27:03.

had two tournaments on the bounce, then you had your 147 in a

:27:04.:27:06.

tournament straight after that. You are back to almost like your best,

:27:07.:27:12.

it would seem. Is that the same as how you feel?

:27:13.:27:15.

I think it happened two years ago when I played Mark Allen. I played

:27:16.:27:21.

as well as I can't wait. I lost 6-4 to him in a high-quality game. That

:27:22.:27:26.

proved something to me, I can still play at a high level. If you keep

:27:27.:27:30.

that up, you have every chance of doing OK. I have kept my level up in

:27:31.:27:35.

tournaments, and it has been good enough to win tournaments.

:27:36.:27:39.

What about this season itself, have you done anything different? Is it

:27:40.:27:45.

sometimes a bit of confidence, a bit more psychological?

:27:46.:27:48.

It is confidence. Although this year, winning a couple of big

:27:49.:27:51.

tournaments, I think it was last year, as I say two years ago,

:27:52.:27:59.

getting my confidence back. The last two years, it has been a

:28:00.:28:03.

lot better. Mark Allen is your first round

:28:04.:28:08.

opponent here, has your Christmas been curtailed a bit, have you had

:28:09.:28:13.

too much turkey this time around? Will you be ready from the word go

:28:14.:28:16.

against Mark Allen, because he has always been a tough opponent?

:28:17.:28:23.

Has, and we have had some good battles. I have not an much

:28:24.:28:31.

practising. Me and my wife went away for a few days over New Year, and it

:28:32.:28:39.

was good to get a break to ourselves. I practised for a couple

:28:40.:28:44.

of days, and I have to try to come in fresh and hopefully carry it on

:28:45.:28:48.

now from the first half of the season. Never good to mention your

:28:49.:28:52.

wife's age on ever. People say that. She is 40, but she

:28:53.:28:58.

looks 20! That is one way of crawling out of a

:28:59.:29:02.

hole. What about, it is a very special tournament, one of the

:29:03.:29:10.

majors, you have won it twice, but you want your name engraved once

:29:11.:29:13.

more? Of course I do. People say the

:29:14.:29:21.

triple Crown, obviously it would be great to get through the weekend.

:29:22.:29:25.

I've not done that now for a few years. It would be great to try to

:29:26.:29:29.

get through to the weekend and see what happens. Obviously, you have a

:29:30.:29:33.

long way to go, and Mark is a tough competitor to play against. I have

:29:34.:29:37.

to try to enjoy it and see where it takes a.

:29:38.:29:40.

HAZEL IRVINE: John mentioned the triple Crown, and how snooker

:29:41.:29:43.

players measure their careers increasingly in terms of the triple

:29:44.:29:47.

Crown. John is online, and another would get him into double figures.

:29:48.:29:50.

Only you, Ronnie and Stephen Hendry are above him. It sparks a debate

:29:51.:29:57.

for another time about how we classify majors, but in terms of

:29:58.:30:01.

John's playability, he has an extraordinary record. For you, he

:30:02.:30:07.

has always been at the top. He is up there with the best of

:30:08.:30:13.

them. His break-building is outstanding. Every time you play

:30:14.:30:17.

him, it is an examination. You are given a stern test. You come to the

:30:18.:30:23.

table, you are in maximum trouble, and every time you play him you know

:30:24.:30:27.

it will be a horrible afternoon. It is borne out by match statistics.

:30:28.:30:34.

We have been having a look. These are basically the greatest match

:30:35.:30:38.

players we have ever seen. Right at the top of the pile, a certain Mr

:30:39.:30:44.

Davies with 920 wins in his matches. That career was over 150 years, but

:30:45.:30:48.

he got there in the end! Interestingly when you look at

:30:49.:31:00.

Ronnie O'Sullivan, his percentage tops everybody, 74%, but he's played

:31:01.:31:04.

something like 60 tournaments fewer than John and, it just shows you

:31:05.:31:08.

that he's right up there, only this man to beat. Steve? It's not really.

:31:09.:31:14.

You can look at the figures in many different ways because my strike

:31:15.:31:18.

rate wasn't as high as some of the others but I won a lot of matches

:31:19.:31:23.

over a long period of time. Doing that, when you are possibly not

:31:24.:31:26.

always playing at your best and there is a better standard around is

:31:27.:31:29.

very difficult. But I wouldth you would have to say that all you could

:31:30.:31:33.

say from the stats is, there are a few troopers in the game, John

:31:34.:31:36.

Higgins is one of them. You can teach a lot of the game. You can

:31:37.:31:40.

make sure your technique is as good as it can. You can learn and be

:31:41.:31:44.

taught positional play but what you can't teach is what John Higgins has

:31:45.:31:49.

which is a total desire on the table and you know every shot he's giving

:31:50.:31:53.

it everything. That sometimes, temperament or whatever it is, is

:31:54.:31:56.

something that's a lot harder to grasp. He's maintained this through

:31:57.:32:01.

two pretty low periods in his career and he mentioned that match here in

:32:02.:32:06.

2015 against Mark Allen and that was after a period where his confidence

:32:07.:32:09.

dipped terribly and he'd been Tinkering around with different cues

:32:10.:32:14.

and suddenly something like that sparks him back into life. It goes

:32:15.:32:18.

to show it's about your level of performance. He lost that match and

:32:19.:32:22.

he came back and said at last I can play and compete again, that's as

:32:23.:32:26.

good as I can play. He lost the match but he came away getting

:32:27.:32:29.

something from that tournament and since then he's kicked on. That can

:32:30.:32:34.

also improve your enthusiasm for the game when you go to the practise

:32:35.:32:37.

table. If you are not getting the results and confirmation that you

:32:38.:32:41.

are doing well, that chore, that grind of going back to the practise

:32:42.:32:45.

table which should be fun, can become something that isn't fun. He

:32:46.:32:48.

made an interesting point about the Masters being so close to Christmas

:32:49.:32:53.

and that lethargy that you get into. Did you experience that yourselves?

:32:54.:33:00.

Yes, but what John's got, he's got a lot of match practise recently so

:33:01.:33:03.

that would hold him in good stead. He played right up to Christmas. Two

:33:04.:33:07.

or three days of graft, honestly, particularly in the middle of the

:33:08.:33:10.

season, he'll be right back to it. By the way, Denise, you still look

:33:11.:33:14.

20, don't you worry about that, John definitely got it right there!

:33:15.:33:21.

Tonight, an intriguing match between two 40-somethings. Stuart Bingham,

:33:22.:33:27.

former world champion and Joe Perry, another 40-something himself. Joe's

:33:28.:33:31.

dad, Peter, is a former taxi driver, so it will be very interesting for

:33:32.:33:37.

the Perry family to take a look into the curious Top Gear world of cab

:33:38.:33:42.

driving that's been steered by a certain part-time cabby, Mr Steve

:33:43.:33:43.

Davis. We have a bit of a problem with that

:33:44.:34:07.

VT but I can assure you he didn't crash and he's still here to tell

:34:08.:34:11.

the tale. Joe Perry's career, he's had a bit of a dip hasn't he, and

:34:12.:34:16.

that came after a successful season in which he won his first world

:34:17.:34:19.

ranking title after 20 years of graft. What do you make of him as a

:34:20.:34:25.

personal player? He's stood the test of time well. I don't know how he

:34:26.:34:30.

feels daily, but he's been there or thereabouts, kept himself in the top

:34:31.:34:35.

16 quite well and you would have to say, without the word journeyman

:34:36.:34:38.

which is sometimes used as a derogatory way of talking about a

:34:39.:34:43.

player, he's a proper person who has decided he's a career player and

:34:44.:34:47.

whether he wins or loses, he comes back and gives it everything for the

:34:48.:34:51.

next match. You cannot ask for more than that, he just needs a few wins

:34:52.:34:55.

in the trophy Cabinet. He's always a bit of a grafter out there and was

:34:56.:35:03.

probably slightly nervous when he got back into the cab with Steve.

:35:04.:35:08.

Anyone order a taxi? Hello, Joseph, how are you. Not bad.

:35:09.:35:30.

Anyone still call you Joseph? My brother and my mum sometimes, my

:35:31.:35:34.

mate when I play golf with him and I'm not performing. Only ever been

:35:35.:35:41.

to one concert? Someone said to me you have got to two to one. Never

:35:42.:35:47.

been to one? ! I'm not into music. It was one that I didn't enjoy. What

:35:48.:35:51.

was it? Robbie Williams. Your own fault. The best thing about that was

:35:52.:36:03.

ABC was the support Act and I quite enjoyed them. Do you get fed up with

:36:04.:36:10.

hotels? I've just had an absolute crap breakfast. I always go into

:36:11.:36:14.

them in trepidation. One of my hates is, I hate having a showinger in the

:36:15.:36:19.

bath so if I go in a room and there's a shower in the bath...

:36:20.:36:23.

Slippery. I hate it. It don't seem right for me. What about when the

:36:24.:36:28.

shower curtain sucks up to you? ! What's the worst thing in the world,

:36:29.:36:35.

the shower comes on and all of a sudden the shower curtain decides to

:36:36.:36:38.

come and cuddle you. What's that all about? There's a fewers, Mark

:36:39.:36:47.

Williams -- there's a few players, Mark Williams, you go into his room

:36:48.:36:52.

and it's as messy as it can be, I'm not like that, I like to keep it

:36:53.:36:55.

tidy. What would you say are your pet

:36:56.:37:02.

hates? Well, I had one this morning. Really? One of my mates walked in my

:37:03.:37:11.

room this morning and borrowed my roll-on. I didn't like it. Really?

:37:12.:37:19.

Yes, that's not nice. Your hotel's perfect, everything hanging up

:37:20.:37:24.

perfectly, a bit OCD? No, not OCD. You are getting that way though? Our

:37:25.:37:28.

little collection of players, Mark Davis, he's OCD. Is he? All his

:37:29.:37:34.

shoes will be in perfect order, toes will all be at the same bit. Every

:37:35.:37:42.

time we go in, we'll kick 'em just to wind him up. On the circuit would

:37:43.:37:47.

you be considered by your close mates, the players you hang around

:37:48.:37:51.

with, glass half empty or half full, are you a bit of a moaner? I moan

:37:52.:37:56.

purely for comedy value. Yes, I feel that, yes. I think I'm the same. I

:37:57.:38:02.

do it to entertain them because people like Mark Davis and that,

:38:03.:38:07.

they're very boring. Yes. But if you can get it out of him, they are good

:38:08.:38:12.

company so I play on it really, it's my little character, I just play

:38:13.:38:17.

point and try and have a laugh. Plenty of things to moan about. Yes.

:38:18.:38:23.

More and more now. We are on our way to the venue now and there is no

:38:24.:38:26.

practise slots available. I'll be moaning about that. Can't you pull

:38:27.:38:32.

rank? That's not me really. I might have to do a bit of loitering and

:38:33.:38:37.

nick a couple, but no, I'm not one for pulling rank, no. I remember

:38:38.:38:45.

when you used to check out of airport car parks back in the day.

:38:46.:38:50.

Yes. There used to be a convoy of six to get through. We had a convoy,

:38:51.:38:54.

yes, I think five was our record. Getting out the car park. All going

:38:55.:38:58.

through, yes. What were the consequences? Gerrard got called up

:38:59.:39:04.

to Gatwick police station once. He was the only one. The worst that can

:39:05.:39:09.

happen is, you end up having to pay your car park bill, so you either

:39:10.:39:11.

get away with it or you don't. The secret world of the gelmen, Joe

:39:12.:39:25.

Perry. If you invite him to your house, don't put him in your guest

:39:26.:39:29.

room where there's a shower in the bath, he'll not be having it. Joe's

:39:30.:39:34.

match will be live on the red button at 7. Every ball of the Masters is

:39:35.:39:39.

live on the BBC either on BBC Two or on the red button so two platforms

:39:40.:39:45.

for you and I'll be back at 11. 20, in fact I won't, I'm ahead of

:39:46.:39:49.

myself, Jason Mohammed is coming, I get the night off. Jason is on duty

:39:50.:39:58.

at 11. 20 and by the way, Marney Rose Bingham, a new member, has come

:39:59.:40:04.

into the world, she did so, 8 pounds 2 ounces on Saturday, so

:40:05.:40:07.

congratulations to Stuart and Michelle and I wonder whether that

:40:08.:40:10.

will have the Danny Willet effect on Stuart bring ham as he comes in

:40:11.:40:13.

tonight. What do you think? It's happened before. Absolutely, it

:40:14.:40:17.

could do. Could be inspiring. We'll be hoping to hear from Stuart before

:40:18.:40:21.

the end of the programme. He's here doing a bit of practise and I'm sure

:40:22.:40:25.

Steve is going to dash out and have a word with him. But back to the

:40:26.:40:29.

game. Certainly Steve will have found

:40:30.:40:45.

something to moan about, Hazel will. But no good moaning, there's nothing

:40:46.:40:50.

you can do about it. The players are back in the arena.

:40:51.:40:59.

Chance of a long pot. Not there, but felt that the only one he could

:41:00.:41:44.

leave was what he was seeling, the frame time just under 16 minutes,

:41:45.:41:49.

not bad after a 32-minute opening frame. I told you it would get

:41:50.:41:51.

better. Average shot 21 seconds each. That's

:41:52.:42:06.

quick. Quick enough. Just makes it a bit more difficult

:42:07.:42:33.

for John to play a safety shot and get the cue ball back to the baulk

:42:34.:42:39.

end. Risky if he attempted it. So may just play the safety at this

:42:40.:42:41.

end. Trying to cover that red near the

:42:42.:43:12.

brown. Just dictating the safety exchange at the moment, is Mark

:43:13.:43:13.

Allen. It would be too risky to go to the

:43:14.:43:50.

baulk end this time. You need to get this cue ball as close as you can to

:43:51.:43:52.

the top cushion. Well, has he left his cut to the

:43:53.:43:58.

middle? Can John get to it? I think he can. He's looking at the

:43:59.:44:11.

potting angle. That was careless. Just having a look to see where the

:44:12.:44:50.

pink is going to go. It's going to have to go at the back of the pack

:44:51.:44:54.

which is no problem. Leaving himself a little low on

:44:55.:45:59.

this. Potting it, bringing the reds into play. The cue ball needs to run

:46:00.:46:07.

a little bit though. May just be a gap he can get through to the green.

:46:08.:46:09.

Rather the green than the blue. Nice, solid pot right in the heart

:46:10.:46:29.

of the pocket. Always a good sign. I suggest pot the blue, leave the

:46:30.:47:01.

cue ball where it is then the red left-to-middle and leave the blue to

:47:02.:47:04.

go in the middle of the bunch. Oh, dear. Oh, dear, John. Didn't Seeta

:47:05.:47:09.

one coming. My sentiments exactly. Maybe he was thinking two or three

:47:10.:47:28.

shots ahead. Yes, let his mind drift. Easily done sometimes, you

:47:29.:47:36.

just take a pot for granted. That will annoy him.

:47:37.:47:55.

Does this pink pot? If he gets through to it, he can pot it then

:47:56.:48:06.

open up all the reds. APPLAUSE.

:48:07.:48:32.

He may play the double into the right middle if he feels as though

:48:33.:48:39.

he's not going to leave anything on but the red he's playing.

:48:40.:48:45.

Always got to be careful with the double though if it's the wrong side

:48:46.:48:51.

of the pocket and doesn't go in, it can always come back to the cue

:48:52.:48:53.

ball. John Higgins playing a double. He's

:48:54.:49:11.

one of the best in the business. And that is why - no mistake.

:49:12.:49:22.

APPLAUSE. In Canada they call that a bank

:49:23.:49:45.

shot. It's a frame-winning opportunity

:49:46.:50:04.

here. Three reds in-between the pink and black nicely available.

:50:05.:50:17.

A red in the middle of the table at the far end.

:50:18.:50:37.

Takes him 36 points in front. Needs to get to 67. Another 24 points

:50:38.:50:44.

required. He's probably going to need after

:50:45.:50:59.

this black three more reds. The reason I say that, is because with

:51:00.:51:04.

the reds being at the baulk end of the table, he's going to take

:51:05.:51:07.

low-value colours, you would have thought. So it's not a formality.

:51:08.:51:12.

Quick glance at the score board. This to go 51 points in front, but

:51:13.:51:23.

still 67 remaining. Red and black put him 59 in front

:51:24.:51:57.

with 59 remaining. Still looking for one more red to get to snookers

:51:58.:52:00.

required. Mark Allen went for a double and

:52:01.:52:58.

missed it, left John Higgins a double, he got it. 3-2.

:52:59.:54:03.

What an appetite for the game this man has and those stats prove it.

:54:04.:54:10.

That win in 2006 against Ronnie O'Sullivan. I know you had the great

:54:11.:54:15.

final black-ball game with Mark Williams but what a clearance he got

:54:16.:54:19.

to beat Ronnie. Incredible. It was a double in that

:54:20.:54:22.

one as well. I think John was quoted as saying

:54:23.:54:34.

that now that there are so many tournaments, you don't have to spend

:54:35.:54:37.

that much time on the practise table. I think it probably suits

:54:38.:54:41.

John because, as you get older, that's the hard graft isn't it, the

:54:42.:54:43.

practise? Yes, definitely. I think finding the appetite, the

:54:44.:55:00.

desire to put in the four, five, six hours a day, as you get older,

:55:01.:55:05.

becomes very difficult. So I think, like John said to me during the

:55:06.:55:09.

Champions Cup victory, I think he only plays an hour a day now,

:55:10.:55:14.

because you are playing so much snooker. It keeps you match sharp.

:55:15.:55:19.

He'll be disappointed to have missed that. You always say with that type

:55:20.:55:25.

of shot, if you are going to miss it, hit it thin and he hit it too

:55:26.:55:31.

thick. This is a chance now for Mark Allen. I think what stood John

:55:32.:55:38.

Higgins in good stead over the years, his technique's hardly

:55:39.:55:42.

changed. Watch his cue action, it's so repetitive.

:55:43.:55:51.

There are two ways of playing this, you can play a little cannon into

:55:52.:55:56.

the two reds above the black and still be on the red at just above

:55:57.:56:03.

the black. He decided to play for the loose red.

:56:04.:56:22.

Decided to play the cannon that time around. But if he'd have played that

:56:23.:56:27.

cannon previously, he'd have still been on the red that was just above

:56:28.:56:32.

the black and now, it appears as though he's on nothing.

:56:33.:56:39.

A lot to do with break-building in this game is shot selection. I think

:56:40.:56:48.

this red goes the far left corner, he was looking for something easier

:56:49.:56:50.

than this. He's played it beautifully. Good

:56:51.:56:57.

shot. APPLAUSE.

:56:58.:57:05.

Now, can he drop this in and hold for the red to the right corner?

:57:06.:57:10.

Delicate shot. He's played it well. Might begin to to the gap with the

:57:11.:57:40.

two reds that are together or to the right of the bunch. Got the red

:57:41.:57:51.

first. It's OK. The red that he hit he just wants to miss going into the

:57:52.:57:54.

gap and it would have been absolutely perfect.

:57:55.:58:05.

Controlled the cue ball nicely there.

:58:06.:58:15.

This is exactly what you've got to do at this level. Higgins misses the

:58:16.:58:43.

long red, you have got to punish him for it. He's missed it so thick, the

:58:44.:58:52.

cue ball was never going to get back to the table. Mark Allen's getting

:58:53.:58:57.

the cue ball cleaned. Should have been easier on the red than this.

:58:58.:59:05.

Put it to the left middle. It now becomes missable.

:59:06.:59:09.

This match is warming up nicely, John. Yes. Always on paper looked to

:59:10.:59:35.

be a cracker. They've played 13 times and it's 7-6 to John Higgins

:59:36.:59:38.

in the head-to-heads. Played the cannon nicely, it's all

:59:39.:00:01.

over now, surely. The road will put in 60s of an points ahead. 67

:00:02.:00:07.

remaining. -- put him 67 points ahead.

:00:08.:00:13.

And this is his highest break in the match so far. 67.

:00:14.:00:26.

He's taken it very well. APPLAUSE 72, 70 three. -- 72, 73.

:00:27.:00:50.

Doesn't matter about the blue. Potted a view good balls prior to

:00:51.:01:13.

that, one mistake from Higgins, frame to Mark Allen.

:01:14.:01:19.

STUDIO: A couple of shots in the frame, he kept well to keep it

:01:20.:01:27.

going. Excellent long part, yellow pocket, lovely control, play this

:01:28.:01:30.

well, straight into it, look where he left the cue ball, played it to

:01:31.:01:35.

an area that was safe, also, if he knocks in the red, he just has to

:01:36.:01:39.

drop the blue, which he does, and he is back in the break. -- pot. Well

:01:40.:01:45.

sorted out, well executed. Unsurprising that it is this close,

:01:46.:01:48.

because people thought this would go the full distance. Very difficult to

:01:49.:01:55.

read it the winners of this first-round matches, such is the

:01:56.:01:58.

standard, the bookmakers have to make someone a favourite, and then

:01:59.:02:04.

there is an underdog. The pattern is something you picked up on, you were

:02:05.:02:09.

in the UK, you watched the match. Similar sort of thing, John was

:02:10.:02:13.

ahead, Mark got him back, the only reason Mark Allen lost that match

:02:14.:02:16.

was that he lost this is an a couple of times, but he really had him on

:02:17.:02:22.

the brink of defeat. Just wondering whether it will follow the same

:02:23.:02:26.

thing. Similar match. You would expect it, because these two are

:02:27.:02:29.

really evenly matched. COMMENTATOR: Good length of break

:02:30.:02:47.

off, from John. CO-COMMENTATOR: Textbook break, opened up some reds.

:02:48.:02:50.

How has he left this? He has done the opposite of what

:02:51.:03:01.

John Higgins did in the previous frame, he has made sure he left it

:03:02.:03:04.

thin. Make it safe. Foul. Miss. Mark Allen, four. Does

:03:05.:03:34.

he put him back in, from where he rises, or does he have the cue ball

:03:35.:03:38.

put back? I would have it put back, myself.

:03:39.:03:45.

Quite interesting, at the start of the match, as Steve was saying in

:03:46.:03:51.

the studio, this first-round matches, top 16 players, world

:03:52.:04:00.

ranked number three, John Higgins, and Mark Allen, one of the top

:04:01.:04:06.

seeds. He has got to hit it this time otherwise he will get a

:04:07.:04:09.

warning. He is going to get a warning now. Mark Allen, four. And

:04:10.:04:29.

you lose the frame. The bookies made John Higgins nine quarters on

:04:30.:04:34.

favourite, he's looking at John because he now knows that John is

:04:35.:04:37.

under pressure. I don't think he will be playing the think at this

:04:38.:04:43.

time. I will have too warned you, John, you have got to hit a red this

:04:44.:04:49.

time. He has given him a warning. This is the shot that John Higgins

:04:50.:04:57.

did not want to play. But it wasn't that difficult, in the end. Now,

:04:58.:05:03.

they have made John Higgins favourite, six quarters, Mark Allen,

:05:04.:05:08.

I didn't see the difference that much in the arts. -- six quarters.

:05:09.:05:20.

-- 6-4. The only reason is that he has won events this season. On the

:05:21.:05:27.

move quickly there. Funny one, that, couldn't really put

:05:28.:07:15.

any pressure on John. You think it would not be a problem for John to

:07:16.:07:23.

play safe now, of this bread. But John could have played it better, if

:07:24.:07:27.

he has not covered that read near the ball by the yellow, then it is

:07:28.:07:29.

advantage Mark Allen. Well it looks like he can just get

:07:30.:07:53.

past the pink. Down the right-hand side of the table. Courted much too

:07:54.:07:58.

thick. That could spell danger. Nothing nicer coming to the table

:07:59.:08:24.

after this situation, look at the reds, and the black is in the open.

:08:25.:08:33.

Already made 80 in a previous frame. So you're scoring.

:08:34.:08:45.

You wouldn't imagine that the cue ball is going to travel any great

:08:46.:09:21.

distance. Mark Allen with a frame-winning break here. Very

:09:22.:09:28.

disappointed with that one. I'm sure that he can pop this rate... Towards

:09:29.:09:36.

the blue, now. Shake of the head, it's imperative that he gets a good

:09:37.:09:44.

handle on the blue. Played it in such a way that he didn't want to

:09:45.:09:49.

risk being alongside the blue. Chance of a colour. Probably played

:09:50.:09:58.

the green. Cue ball travelling a bit further, in and around the black,

:09:59.:10:02.

that cue ball is not travelling too far. A lot easier to control your

:10:03.:10:06.

positional side of the play. Played that well, though, back in

:10:07.:10:19.

prime position, good shot. Red, colour, red, all that's

:10:20.:12:35.

required. 72 points is the lead, 75 remaining,

:12:36.:12:59.

but not for long. After losing the first two frames, Mark Allen is

:13:00.:13:02.

going to take the lead for the first time in the match. APPLAUSE

:13:03.:13:17.

Starting to punish John Higgins heavily. For his mistakes. Just made

:13:18.:13:31.

his highest break of the match, in the last, 81, looks like he can go

:13:32.:13:37.

better than that here. The table does look an absolute

:13:38.:14:14.

pleasure to play on. Lovely speed. Little soft screws.

:14:15.:14:48.

Terrific break their from Mark Allen, now. Highest break in the

:14:49.:15:01.

tournament now, held by Ronnie O'Sullivan, 121, ?10,000 prize for

:15:02.:15:11.

the high break. Oh! He will be disappointed he missed that, but the

:15:12.:15:15.

frame one, and for the first time in the match, it goes in front, he now

:15:16.:15:20.

leads John Higgins, 4-3. As we say, Stephen, 81 in the frame

:15:21.:15:33.

previous, 104 there are, all caused by catching it too thick. Yes. The

:15:34.:15:39.

frame before this one, he has gone for a long ball to the left

:15:40.:15:44.

corner... Obviously allowing a little bit of left-hand side, so he

:15:45.:15:47.

has pushed the cue ball across... To the right. Caught this far too

:15:48.:15:54.

thick, as you say, playing those shots do nothing, if you are going

:15:55.:16:00.

to miss it, you tend to do are on the thin side, to get the cue ball

:16:01.:16:05.

back to baulk, and the same here. The same one, playing with a trace

:16:06.:16:12.

of left-hand side. -- err. Read near the left and cushion, playing this

:16:13.:16:17.

one, courted much too thick, and once it is the other red and stayed

:16:18.:16:22.

in this half of the table, it's big trouble. -- -- red. It spelt big

:16:23.:16:32.

trouble. -- court it much too thick. -- it spelt big trouble. -- caught

:16:33.:16:38.

it much too thick. Mark Allen did what he was supposed to do, and as

:16:39.:16:46.

you say, John now I had for the first time and looking the stronger

:16:47.:16:57.

player. You're never happy when you see that on the red, next to the

:16:58.:17:02.

black. -- John now ahead the first time. First time that has happened

:17:03.:17:06.

in this match, when players have been breaking, the black has stayed

:17:07.:17:07.

in the clear. I disagree, I remember a couple of

:17:08.:17:27.

times, when we have seen players playing long pots and try to disturb

:17:28.:17:32.

the black and the red, funny how some people break of different, long

:17:33.:17:36.

pot success, John Higgins need to improve that. Mark Allen, and...

:17:37.:17:45.

APPLAUSE ... OK, that's as good as any long pot.

:17:46.:17:53.

Perfect line, perfect length. Joe has got to catch this just right. --

:17:54.:17:59.

John has got to. In the end decided not to play back to baulk, coming

:18:00.:18:02.

off the side cushion, nestling on the reds near the top cushion. One

:18:03.:18:08.

adrift by it, of course, if he does, he would leave it. Played it well.

:18:09.:18:16.

Just flipped the green. Has a chance with this read to the right corner.

:18:17.:19:06.

Play it as a shock for nothing. -- play it as a shot for nothing.

:19:07.:19:29.

I'm sure if John was not hampered by the green, he may take on one of

:19:30.:19:32.

these reds, on the right-hand side of the table. Well, he can just cue

:19:33.:19:41.

passed it, only just. He should keep the cue straight. -- past. Where is

:19:42.:19:53.

the cue ball going? Mark Allen, four. Always difficult when you are

:19:54.:20:03.

cueing pass the ball like that, concentrating that much on keeping

:20:04.:20:04.

the cue straight. The only advantage with the North,

:20:05.:20:18.

he has not left Mark close to the next red. -- the only advantage with

:20:19.:20:31.

the in-off. Doesn't look any read here that you would be tempted to

:20:32.:20:36.

play the pot on, when you just made breaks of 104 and 81, sometimes you

:20:37.:20:48.

are feeling confident. No, did not want to risk the pot, if he kisses

:20:49.:20:52.

the yellow, it is not the best safety he has ever played. A chance

:20:53.:20:56.

now for John Higgins to get the upper hand now in the safety

:20:57.:21:04.

exchange. Good targets there, yellow, brown and green.

:21:05.:21:18.

Catch this mighty thin otherwise it will come up the other end of the

:21:19.:21:48.

table. Played that well. Something you don't see often, John Higgins in

:21:49.:21:52.

the safety Department. Will that cue ball stopped, will it

:21:53.:22:25.

stop... Mark Allen, four. Gravity. Settle down, please, thank you. I

:22:26.:22:31.

thought it had stopped for a second. That is why the Apple fell from the

:22:32.:22:33.

tree. The kiss on the brown has left the

:22:34.:23:04.

pot on, you can stun it in and play for the black but more likely you

:23:05.:23:08.

will run up for the blue, but it needs good accurate cueing, and he

:23:09.:23:13.

has not ported a ball for over 27 minutes. And considering that,

:23:14.:23:22.

excellent pot. APPLAUSE OK, a little bit thin on the blow,

:23:23.:23:26.

but he won't mind that, he will play the cannon here, weighing the

:23:27.:23:30.

cannon, he can bring the pink into play.

:23:31.:23:40.

Not the best opportunity, went near the side cushion, the black is in a

:23:41.:24:06.

tricky position at the moment. Just concentrating on trying to

:24:07.:24:12.

accumulate points here rather than think too far ahead of himself. This

:24:13.:24:18.

is a big moment in the match, for me.

:24:19.:24:24.

13. Nearly got into it too much but it's OK.

:24:25.:24:59.

19. This time, wrong side of the blue. Last thing he wanted. Can he

:25:00.:25:21.

roll in the blue and find a red that is easily potted? I don't think so.

:25:22.:25:30.

The other side of the blue line. I suppose he could screw back to the

:25:31.:25:51.

right-hand side cushion and play for them one which is closer to the

:25:52.:25:56.

right-hand corner, looking at the one around the pink spot area, but

:25:57.:26:03.

certain to be on a colour of that, we'll see what he decides. He has

:26:04.:26:07.

played for the one round the pink spot area, the problem with this, it

:26:08.:26:12.

is easily missed and he has got to find a path for the cue ball to come

:26:13.:26:18.

back up for the blue or play for the cannon, and hope for the black.

:26:19.:26:28.

Don't miss the pot. Good pot. The way he played it, I think he was

:26:29.:26:31.

trying to avoid the kiss on the second red, only a safety shot now.

:26:32.:26:37.

At least if you pop the ball, you get the next shot. -- pot the ball.

:26:38.:26:49.

It was always going to be difficult to score heavily from that

:26:50.:27:12.

opportunity, green and black, awkward as they were.

:27:13.:27:38.

More concerned with avoiding other reds and getting the cue ball back

:27:39.:27:45.

to the ball can, he has not left any thing, should be a better safety

:27:46.:27:56.

shot from John here. If he misses the yellow, it will be. He has just

:27:57.:27:59.

flicked it. Hit it much too thick, John Higgins

:28:00.:28:22.

gets another chance now. Trying to swing it round, just putting that

:28:23.:28:29.

little bit of right-hand side... Super fine, if you don't time it

:28:30.:28:35.

correctly, you push it to the left, much too thick. Twixt and between.

:28:36.:28:48.

The only slight advantage with this, and it all depends on the potting

:28:49.:29:00.

angle, I know that it is a thin cut, may cannon them together.

:29:01.:29:07.

Concentrate on the pot. APPLAUSE That is what he did and he has been

:29:08.:29:11.

a little unlucky, nudged the reds open. Just watch, for a moment, on

:29:12.:29:19.

the reds, to the corner, and then the other one came and blocked it.

:29:20.:29:32.

He's looked at it a couple of times. The only thing that would make me

:29:33.:29:41.

want to play it, he's looking now, if he leaves the cue ball near the

:29:42.:29:45.

top cushion, if the red goes in, he could play the snooker behind the

:29:46.:29:49.

brown and leave Mark Allen in all kinds of trouble.

:29:50.:29:53.

I wouldn't risk playing the pot and trying to play for a colour.

:29:54.:29:58.

He's looking at the possibility a plant.

:29:59.:30:14.

Ideally he'd like to leave the four reds that are closer together in

:30:15.:31:05.

that same position. Can he get a better safety off this red?

:31:06.:31:20.

Wasn't too worried about bringing the green into play. He's got the

:31:21.:31:24.

yellow and brown in awkward positions. Should Mark Allen get the

:31:25.:31:32.

next chance. Mark Allen will have no hesitation in bringing these four

:31:33.:31:37.

reds into play. But he could have played it better

:31:38.:31:41.

than that. This red cuts to the right middle. OK, you won't have

:31:42.:31:46.

much clue where the cue ball's going. Make certain you pot the red

:31:47.:31:54.

and trust the luck for position. If he gets on a colour, he's got the

:31:55.:31:58.

frame at his %ery. -- mercy.

:31:59.:32:04.

The one to the left is a more difficult pot. But he has more

:32:05.:32:07.

control of the cue ball. Right in the heart of the pocket.

:32:08.:32:23.

You've got to say that could be the frame winner. Good shot.

:32:24.:32:41.

That's where we talk about making the right shot selection. If you

:32:42.:32:48.

look where the cue ball finished, he didn't play any shot for nothing. He

:32:49.:32:53.

played it so that if he got it, it won him the frame.

:32:54.:32:57.

That's run on a little about the more than he wanted. But he's OK.

:32:58.:33:18.

Probably need four of these remaining reds. I don't think he's

:33:19.:33:31.

going to be bothering with pink or black.

:33:32.:33:39.

It was a very weak safety shot from Mark Allen.

:33:40.:34:30.

Every credit to John Higgins playing the right shot. He knew it would be

:34:31.:34:35.

a frame win perit went in. That tells me he's not too bothered

:34:36.:35:10.

now. He knows Mark Allen won't be coming back to the table.

:35:11.:35:15.

And that's enough. So John Higgins needed a couple of chances. Now

:35:16.:35:24.

we're all square. We started off best of 11. Now it's turned out to

:35:25.:35:28.

be best of three. STUDIO: We're not complaining about

:35:29.:35:31.

that. It's certainly an intriguing match so far. We talked about safety

:35:32.:35:36.

and how John Higgins' safety has always been one of the key elements

:35:37.:35:39.

of his game. Just in the last couple of frames, the guys in the

:35:40.:35:42.

commentary box mention today as well, seems to be struggling a

:35:43.:35:46.

little bit in that department today. If you look at the stats, yeah.

:35:47.:35:50.

Sometimes they don't always tell the exact story. Playing against a great

:35:51.:35:55.

player, you can't always hide the ball. These days, putting it tight

:35:56.:35:59.

on the bottom cushion doesn't guarantee anything. How do you read

:36:00.:36:02.

it? He had a couple of shots where he missed the ball completely one

:36:03.:36:06.

side of the table. What he played down the other side he hit it thick.

:36:07.:36:12.

It might welcome back one of those days when you're not in the middle

:36:13.:36:17.

of the cue ball. The safety department is usually has backyard.

:36:18.:36:20.

It's a great crowd, for a Monday afternoon, close to 1500 people

:36:21.:36:25.

here. It's always so beautifully crowded this venue. I did notice

:36:26.:36:29.

that in terms of pretournament sales, best ever. Seems to be one of

:36:30.:36:32.

these tournaments that's growing and growing. Yeah, for all of the people

:36:33.:36:37.

who think snooker is on the way out, even in the UK, we know worldwide

:36:38.:36:41.

it's buzzing, but this proves that's not the case. People love watching a

:36:42.:36:46.

live match. They do. John, it is a good crowd. For a January blues

:36:47.:36:52.

situation, it does alleviate that a lot. A lot of people really look

:36:53.:36:57.

forward to this. London's always been popular as a venue. What they

:36:58.:37:01.

moved to Ally Pally, you never know when they come to a venue, but

:37:02.:37:05.

people have come in their droves. Over the years they've had to up the

:37:06.:37:08.

capacity every year because that many people wanted to come in. It's

:37:09.:37:14.

gone from 1200, 1500, now 2,000 this year. Every year it's getter more

:37:15.:37:20.

crowded. You can't go further back, otherwise you can't see the tables.

:37:21.:37:26.

They cantilever the stands now. In this event, you bump into people you

:37:27.:37:29.

know, I know from the London area, in this Essex area, the catchment is

:37:30.:37:35.

quite big, obviously. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think there

:37:36.:37:39.

are more snooker players come to watch the Matchers than would come

:37:40.:37:44.

to watch some ranking events. Not just the sthoocker fans. I've even

:37:45.:37:49.

seen Patsy Fagin in the room as we speak. Yesterday as well. His

:37:50.:37:55.

birthday last night. Many happy returns of course. There he is,

:37:56.:37:59.

yeah, here with his wife. It's always lovely to see him here. He

:38:00.:38:03.

loves his snooker and a great player in his time as well. He was indeed.

:38:04.:38:08.

Back we go, get to the sharp end of this now.

:38:09.:38:14.

COMMENTATOR: Yes, we certainly are. A massive frame for John Higgins,

:38:15.:38:24.

that last one. Mark Allen looked as though he was

:38:25.:38:29.

on a role. John didn't win it with a big break, but it was a solid frame

:38:30.:38:31.

he played. It makes this safety a little more

:38:32.:39:32.

difficult for John. He hasn't got that open red in the

:39:33.:39:33.

middle of the table that play-off. If you catch it fractionally

:39:34.:39:48.

thicker, chance you'd leave it on. That's what he's done.

:39:49.:40:03.

Once again Mark Allen getting the advantage in the safety exchange.

:40:04.:40:10.

Could have done with another couple of rolls of the cue ball. Still a

:40:11.:40:34.

thin cut on this red. He's going to do well to control the cue ball

:40:35.:40:35.

here. If he misses the green, he's OK.

:40:36.:40:51.

Well, he may just be able to pot the green. It begs the question: Where

:40:52.:40:56.

does the next red come from? In practice you'll have two cushions

:40:57.:41:04.

into the bunch here. Whether he does that at 4-4 situation, I would doubt

:41:05.:41:06.

it. Playing for the open red. You can

:41:07.:41:17.

only assume, yes, it does pass the main bunch and goes to the right

:41:18.:41:18.

corner. Well, it was two that went. Can only

:41:19.:41:23.

play the bottom one. Has he got the angle on the blue? He

:41:24.:41:29.

has. Pot the blue, into the pink.

:41:30.:41:46.

Couldn't have played it much better than that. He's finished absolutely

:41:47.:41:51.

perfect. That's all you're looking for. It's an easy red to continue

:41:52.:41:58.

with. He's got that. The blacks available into both

:41:59.:41:59.

corners. Good chance. Can you turn your ear pieces down a

:42:00.:42:06.

little bit. Thank you. If the ear pieces are up too loud,

:42:07.:42:46.

then the players get a whiff of what we're saying.

:42:47.:42:49.

Often when it hits the knuckles of the pockets, two, three times, they

:42:50.:43:25.

don't go in. There was a black earlier for John Higgins like that.

:43:26.:43:30.

The shot from Mark Allen with just enough pace to keep the direction.

:43:31.:43:53.

He's got this red. He needs another 27 points.

:43:54.:44:00.

He's got one loose red to the left of the cluster.

:44:01.:44:10.

He needs more than two reds and two colours.

:44:11.:44:19.

Down to just over 14 minutes a frame.

:44:20.:44:36.

It's been excellent snooker. Has he got the angle on this?

:44:37.:44:47.

The 16 best players in the world, a match in this situation, to be able

:44:48.:45:26.

to win frames in one visit... Crucial to be a top-class snooker

:45:27.:45:28.

player. Couldn't have worked out better.

:45:29.:45:34.

Just a red and a colour needed. This blue to go 72 points in front

:45:35.:45:48.

with just 67 remaining. Would you believe it? Has he got

:45:49.:46:03.

position on the red? There's a red in the middle of those five that

:46:04.:46:04.

will pot. Would you believe that? Quietly

:46:05.:46:08.

please now, thank you. John Higgins came to the table 67

:46:09.:46:31.

points behind. There were 67 remaining. He needs all blacks. And

:46:32.:46:38.

the six colours to force a respot. Tall order.

:46:39.:46:45.

There's not many players in snoocker in front of John that you'd put to

:46:46.:46:49.

do this, though. Played that well. He'd like to have

:46:50.:47:14.

been a bit straighter. No problem. Remember, he's got to

:47:15.:47:29.

get blacks off every red. It's the red in between the blue and

:47:30.:47:49.

pink that's so important he gets the right potting angle on that one. He

:47:50.:47:52.

thinks he can do it this time around.

:47:53.:47:56.

He could. Now it looks on. Now it looks on!

:47:57.:48:30.

One good positional shot from black to yellow.

:48:31.:48:39.

This looks inch perfect. Six colours to force a respoted black.

:48:40.:49:00.

He miss aid straightforward blue. Mark Allen is sat in his chair

:49:01.:49:08.

thinking heads or tails? That's the blue he missed, miss today because

:49:09.:49:11.

he was playing it with left-hand side to get position.

:49:12.:49:20.

That's just about inch perfect on the blue. Pot the blue and hold for

:49:21.:49:25.

the pink in the same pocket. What character this man shows. He

:49:26.:49:35.

has done all his career. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. Boy

:49:36.:50:06.

has he got a will to win. So it's a respoted black. As Stephen said,

:50:07.:50:12.

Mark Allen will be thinking, "Heads or tails? John, you want to call it?

:50:13.:50:22.

Tails? It's a head, it's your choice. John Higgins called tails.

:50:23.:50:32.

It was heads. Mark Allen puts him in. Settle down, please. Quiet

:50:33.:50:38.

please. People are coming in, this is

:50:39.:50:42.

ridiculous. They should be stopped. They shouldn't be coming in during a

:50:43.:50:43.

frame. He's played the double, where's it

:50:44.:50:57.

going - is it coming over the middle pocket or running past it? Well,

:50:58.:51:05.

you'd be a brave man to play the double. The double's on. But if you

:51:06.:51:09.

play it and don't get, it you don't know where the blacks going to

:51:10.:51:11.

finish. I think he's playing it. There it

:51:12.:51:18.

goes. Well, what do you do here? Easy

:51:19.:51:54.

safety. But the pot wins you the frame.

:51:55.:52:02.

The pot wins you the frame! What a pot that was. And listen to the

:52:03.:52:11.

roar. CHEERING

:52:12.:52:12.

Absolutely superb pot on the black. He nearly threw it away. But a pot

:52:13.:52:18.

like that deserved to win any frame. He's now one frame away from

:52:19.:52:25.

victory. He leads John Higgins 5-4. STUDIO: A wry smile from John. We

:52:26.:52:29.

heard it, Mark Allen, we heard it. What a pot to win it. What a frame

:52:30.:52:35.

of snooker. Mark Allen nearly threw it away. This long pot, straight in,

:52:36.:52:42.

a beauty. There he is, asking for the adulation which he certainly

:52:43.:52:45.

deserved for a great shot like that. You also have to give it to John

:52:46.:52:51.

Higgins, 67 on the table and he manages it. Both players showing

:52:52.:52:55.

great character. The miss on the blue was something that could have

:52:56.:52:59.

cost him. It was a very easy shot to be honest. He had to put a bit of

:53:00.:53:06.

side spin on. From that position, John Higgins gets well back into it.

:53:07.:53:10.

A fantastic frame of snooker. I don't know if that was relief or a

:53:11.:53:14.

bit of like chest pumping there from Mark at the end, deservedly so.

:53:15.:53:18.

Having to take that 67 break and then to have to knock a ball in,

:53:19.:53:23.

easy to crumble. Your reading of that blue? What was on his mind? As

:53:24.:53:28.

I was watching it live, I said the only way he could miss this shot is

:53:29.:53:32.

to play the correct shot to get position. If he pots the blue he

:53:33.:53:36.

wins the frame. To get position he had to half punch it in with a bit

:53:37.:53:43.

of run inside. That did happen. He will be relieved to get over the

:53:44.:53:47.

line. It's as if the energy levels have gone up a notch from both men,

:53:48.:53:51.

the reaction from Mark there. And you could see the adrenaline

:53:52.:53:57.

coursing through John's veins. Any type of sport where it's one on one,

:53:58.:54:04.

the analogy with boxing may not be apparent, there's two gladiators in

:54:05.:54:09.

there. They start off feeling each other end. They get into the fight.

:54:10.:54:14.

Then you get pumped up by the end. Mark Allen will be walking out a

:54:15.:54:17.

mixture of relief, but he'll be buzzing. He will try to keep things

:54:18.:54:22.

under control when he comes back. He's such a combative player. He

:54:23.:54:29.

seems to thrive on the increased energy. That's why we're all here. A

:54:30.:54:36.

good idea to go out. He will be pumped up after knocking the black

:54:37.:54:41.

in. Try to calm back down. It's not over yet. Mark Allen is one frame

:54:42.:54:47.

away from completing a hat-trick of Masters wins over John Higgins. --

:54:48.:54:56.

in round one. COMMENTATOR: Mark Allen breaks off

:54:57.:55:02.

and after that last frame, which he nearly threw away, but what a

:55:03.:55:06.

tremendous pot this was. Right in the heart of the pocket.

:55:07.:55:14.

So relieved, I think. That's why he did that.

:55:15.:55:24.

That's a tremendous opening red from John Higgins. You never count this

:55:25.:55:29.

man out. Let's not forget, even though he lost the last frame, what

:55:30.:55:33.

a tremendous 67 break he made to force the respot.

:55:34.:56:39.

He's just making sure at the moment. Probably just a little bit too

:56:40.:56:44.

straight. He had to force it over. I don't see him going into the bunch

:56:45.:57:00.

here. His body language, you have to fancy

:57:01.:57:18.

him winning the frame at this visit. He looks so focussed.

:57:19.:57:26.

He may go into the main bunch. He may just play a cannon into the two

:57:27.:57:35.

reds. That worked out perfect. He'll be

:57:36.:57:49.

happy with that. Four reds into play.

:57:50.:58:02.

Balls potted up till then 124 apiece.

:58:03.:58:13.

This has been a tremendous match since the interval. Snooker of the

:58:14.:58:18.

highest quality. The first frame was a bit scrappy.

:58:19.:58:27.

But since then, it has been top quality stuff.

:58:28.:58:34.

You'd expect that with the best two players in the world. That's what

:58:35.:58:44.

you get and expect at at the Masters.

:58:45.:59:06.

Two reds, two colours, that cluster of five, that will mean there's 67

:59:07.:59:10.

left. He's got this red. That first long red was a carbon

:59:11.:59:39.

copy of the one he missed by such a distance thick before.

:59:40.:59:42.

When your back is against the wall, no problem.

:59:43.:59:47.

The sign a great champion. This was the opening red.

:59:48.:59:59.

He caught one too thick which cost him the frame. Trying to get into

:00:00.:00:05.

the reds. He's into them. He's knocked them on. Well this is superb

:00:06.:00:08.

stuff from John Higgins. Back firmly against the wall and one

:00:09.:00:15.

chance. Brilliant. You knew at the beginning of the

:00:16.:00:28.

frame, I sensed it would go 5-5 from this visit.

:00:29.:00:33.

That's just what he does. I mean this in the best possible way, his

:00:34.:00:41.

greatest asset, John Higgins, always has been, he late losing.

:00:42.:00:47.

-- he hates losing. The red hasn't gone in. But it

:00:48.:00:52.

doesn't matter. Mark Allen won't bother coming back to the table.

:00:53.:00:55.

We've got a decider. Listen to the crowd!

:00:56.:01:02.

The crowd are going to look forward to this.

:01:03.:01:16.

John Higgins doing his impression of Mark Allen.

:01:17.:01:20.

STUDIO: Who can blame him, both players really enjoying this

:01:21.:01:27.

occasion, we are thoroughly enjoying this. What a response. There is a

:01:28.:01:33.

camaraderie amongst the players, Mark Allen can see the funny side of

:01:34.:01:38.

that, serious stuff, plenty of prize-money, but the game of snooker

:01:39.:01:43.

has always been such a game of gentlemanly conduct, that is what

:01:44.:01:46.

gives it that special edge. These two lads are just fighting out

:01:47.:01:53.

there, and... I'm not going to say that there does not deserve to be a

:01:54.:01:56.

loser but this match does deserve to go to the final frame, and after the

:01:57.:02:06.

interval, absolutely. Who will come out of this? And straight into the

:02:07.:02:08.

quarterfinals. SHOUTING

:02:09.:03:47.

John Higgins, 30. Settle down, please is. -- settle

:03:48.:11:53.

down, please. Quite, please. -- quiet.

:11:54.:11:57.

23. 24. CO-COMMENTATOR: He can play the cue ball into the area for both

:11:58.:14:19.

threads here, from the brown, in between the two reds, he will have a

:14:20.:14:20.

choice. He will be tempted to play get now,

:14:21.:14:34.

the one next to the middle pocket, obviously trickier than it looks on

:14:35.:14:46.

screen. If he is straight on the black, it means he can't get close

:14:47.:14:52.

to the awkward red, and he can't. Need a better angle on the black

:14:53.:15:00.

than this. John Higgins maybe thinking this is a chance to come

:15:01.:15:01.

back to the table. It's there. Quick glance at the

:15:02.:15:37.

scoreboard, pot the blue, 25 points in front with 27 remaining, John

:15:38.:15:40.

Higgins feeling the worst -- fearing the worst. That should be that, what

:15:41.:15:50.

a match. Missed a black off the spot, I will

:15:51.:16:07.

give him the benefit of the doubt and say that it was not the best of

:16:08.:16:10.

contact, when the black jumped in the air, every credit, Mark holding

:16:11.:16:19.

himself together. And he is now 31 points in the lead, 25 remaining.

:16:20.:16:25.

Two snookers required. APPLAUSE

:16:26.:16:45.

Is there a gap? There is always a gap!

:16:46.:17:12.

Normally you think of one cushion to escape, at this level you would not

:17:13.:17:22.

expect them to miss it. When the object balls are in the middle of

:17:23.:17:27.

the table. The bit of doubt in your mind.

:17:28.:17:39.

If John were to put green, brown and blue, he would need one snooker on

:17:40.:17:46.

the pink too tight, at the moment, two required, but he is feeling to

:17:47.:17:51.

keep more balls on the table, does not want the green in! He did not

:17:52.:18:04.

want it in. Still two snooker is needed. He has called this much too

:18:05.:18:10.

thin, he has left the brown, he has left the brown. John walks away from

:18:11.:18:17.

the table. Dropped his shoulders, drops his head, this brown for the

:18:18.:18:19.

match. Would you believe it! Well... I know it is two snooker 's,

:18:20.:18:29.

but the match should have been over. Good shot, good shot. Needed at this

:18:30.:19:18.

moment, fair play to John Higgins, taking time to tap on the table to

:19:19.:19:23.

say, good shot. Needs to hit this and get it safe, he has got it safe.

:19:24.:19:29.

And that pink and black and blue, in that line down the middle of the

:19:30.:19:32.

table will give John Higgins some hope. This is not over just yet,

:19:33.:19:39.

even though two snooker 's are needed.

:19:40.:20:39.

It's a good line. It's a good line. But the brown has just come across

:20:40.:20:48.

the table enough, not quite the snooker, even if it is an easy

:20:49.:20:50.

swerve. I was thinking before, if he potted

:20:51.:21:06.

the two colours, one snooker on the pink too tight, refused to pop the

:21:07.:21:12.

green, will be playing the snooker of the brown, he's decided to pop

:21:13.:21:19.

the brown. If he is going to pot it will he pop the blue? One snooker to

:21:20.:21:28.

try on the pink? -- pot. That is the plan. The fact that Mark Allen

:21:29.:21:36.

missed the very easy brown, moments ago, if he does get a snooker, has

:21:37.:21:44.

put himself under pressure. Just ran a little bit too far. Can he get in

:21:45.:21:58.

behind the black? Needs this to run, otherwise he will leave it for the

:21:59.:21:59.

middle. The pink, for the match. He did not

:22:00.:22:12.

want to risk it, he has played it over the corner, it is there anyway,

:22:13.:22:17.

doesn't matter, it is in! What a great match, John Higgins gives him

:22:18.:22:21.

warm congratulations, and Mark Allen has really done well, John Higgins

:22:22.:22:27.

led 2-0 but Mark Allen battled away, after the interval, absolutely

:22:28.:22:33.

top-class, could have gone either way, but in the end, it went the way

:22:34.:22:38.

of the man from Antrim, Mark Allen, he has beaten the world number

:22:39.:22:43.

three, John Higgins, through to the quarterfinals, he wins, 65 -- 6-5.

:22:44.:22:48.

STUDIO: I'm sure that you haven't tried that one at home, a hat-trick

:22:49.:22:55.

of triumphs in the first round from Alan over John Higgins, deserved the

:22:56.:22:59.

drama and the dramatic finale, even when he missed the brown to the

:23:00.:23:03.

yellow pocket, it was not done, it was not a done deal. You will

:23:04.:23:09.

probably be very disappointed, first in among the balls, unforced error

:23:10.:23:12.

's, including the black from the spot, at his level, unforgivable.

:23:13.:23:17.

This is the lorry of the match in one shot, final frame, all you

:23:18.:23:21.

looking for is every good chance, black the spot. -- this is the story

:23:22.:23:26.

of the match. Mark Allen plays a great shot, does not play a good

:23:27.:23:29.

shot there are, really good shot around the ankles, see him, he

:23:30.:23:35.

thinks, come the wrong angle, potted a great shot, and once again, had to

:23:36.:23:40.

die a thousand deaths to get over the line. But they got there. Missed

:23:41.:23:46.

black in the final frame decider, just like the Wenbo. Not right at

:23:47.:23:49.

the death. Impossible to tell who was going to win that. Mark Allen

:23:50.:23:55.

will be delighted, nearly lost a frame from 6-7 in front and got

:23:56.:24:00.

himself out of jail, and looks like he will lose that one, he will sleep

:24:01.:24:04.

very nicely tonight, I'm sure. Here he comes, Judd Trump or Marco Fu to

:24:05.:24:12.

come. Congratulations, what a match, we were quite happy with the

:24:13.:24:14.

deciding frame going all the way, I sure you had other ideas. Some up,

:24:15.:24:21.

three times you have not John out of the first round of the Masters, you

:24:22.:24:26.

have the Indian sign over him. Got one back on him, lost a lot of good

:24:27.:24:31.

plays lately, it is up to me to step up and beat these good players, I

:24:32.:24:35.

was not at my best but I think I competed well, my safety was good.

:24:36.:24:39.

Forced errors from John that I have not been doing recently, any win

:24:40.:24:43.

against John is a good win. Frame number nine is where it was all

:24:44.:24:47.

happening, after you got to 67, 67 on the table, did you know that he

:24:48.:24:52.

was going to clear up and force the Reece Burke? Once he got the first

:24:53.:24:56.

black, quite high on that, once he got that, you fancied him. -- force

:24:57.:25:04.

the respot. And then you get a chance on it, after a couple of long

:25:05.:25:08.

doubles, what is going through your mind? You just want a chance, I

:25:09.:25:14.

could have played safe and thought, no,... Big pressure putt, you

:25:15.:25:18.

deserve the accolades from the crowd, but it seemed like you were

:25:19.:25:22.

really strong, not shaky, you got it to the top. I would rather be

:25:23.:25:26.

positive rather than trying to drop it in. I don't believe I won it

:25:27.:25:32.

there, because I don't feel great, but a win is a win. Pretty

:25:33.:25:40.

confident. Yes, it was fun to do that, and John, great to see him do

:25:41.:25:44.

it as well. Some people would say, look at him, but we know, that is

:25:45.:25:49.

pot of the fun. A bit of fun, nothing directed at John, John knows

:25:50.:25:56.

that, I broke off the next frame, he made 79! LAUGHTER.

:25:57.:26:01.

Didn't work today. Again, tale of a missed black off the spot in the

:26:02.:26:05.

final frame which lets you in again, your heart must have been in your

:26:06.:26:11.

mouth. I will be honest, I fancied John to miss, he looked really

:26:12.:26:14.

nervous, a lot of times playing shots and I was right behind him,

:26:15.:26:18.

but his arm was all over the place. I have never really noticed that

:26:19.:26:23.

before. Could be he does it every match. He does shake a bit, yes. You

:26:24.:26:30.

said, more than... Raqqa a green nervous... Well, his arm was

:26:31.:26:33.

definitely shaking. You can miss anything. The red before you played

:26:34.:26:37.

here, you did not play it as she wanted. Had to play below the pink.

:26:38.:26:46.

If I go above the pink, horrible shock. Even after that, it is not

:26:47.:26:50.

great. Especially if you think, if you miss it, you have lost, because

:26:51.:26:54.

all the colours are pretty much there, did not even play for the

:26:55.:26:57.

yellow, just get the blue in the hole and it is pretty much over.

:26:58.:27:01.

Under so much pressure there are, you think, two snookers, you are

:27:02.:27:06.

pretty much guaranteed to win, you miss easy brown. Some people think,

:27:07.:27:13.

two snookers, you all right, not this one. At no point are you

:27:14.:27:16.

comfortable until the pink drops. Last time you beat him in the first

:27:17.:27:21.

round, he went on the run to the semifinals, ironically he was saying

:27:22.:27:25.

that match spot in him the revival. In terms of the positivity you will

:27:26.:27:29.

take from that, good memories of another run to the semifinal. I love

:27:30.:27:33.

the tournament, have never got to the final but I love the tournament,

:27:34.:27:39.

you have to play well. You don't win any matches here by playing poorly.

:27:40.:27:43.

I love the big occasion, when all eyes are on you and the opponent,

:27:44.:27:47.

that is what you play for, you want to be in the big arenas in front of

:27:48.:27:51.

the big crowds, even the matches I have lost, I love playing here.

:27:52.:27:56.

Marco fee, just winning in Scotland, before the break. -- Marco Fu. Or,

:27:57.:28:01.

Judd Trump, who will win that one? Current form, very tight, the

:28:02.:28:05.

snooker that Marco played in Scotland were some of the best we

:28:06.:28:08.

have ever seen and Judd Trump is capable of beating anyone on his

:28:09.:28:12.

day, super aggressive. I'm going to Z back and watch. The good news is

:28:13.:28:17.

that you are not going to have to worry about it. Actually I am going

:28:18.:28:21.

to fly home tonight, and I will spend some time at home, because I

:28:22.:28:25.

do not play until Thursday, they can slug it out and use energy. -- I'm

:28:26.:28:34.

going to sit act and watch. You will be able to see Stuart Bingham and

:28:35.:28:39.

Joe Perry tonight, 7pm, and I will be back, 1120, with highlights of

:28:40.:28:45.

that. -- 11:20pm. Dank you so much for your company, this Masters

:28:46.:28:49.

continues to enthrall, goodbye for now.

:28:50.:29:01.

They want me to write and produce - for a boy band. Oh.

:29:02.:29:05.

Two-time champion John Higgins starts his 2017 Masters campaign against Northern Ireland's Mark Allen, who has twice been a Masters semi-finalist. The first to six frames books a place in the quarter-finals.

Live coverage is introduced by Hazel Irvine.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS