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Hello, good evening. Welcome to a
packed Alexandra Palace for the
second semifinal of the UK Masters,
featuring Scotland's John Higgins,
twice Masters champion taking on
Mark Allen, not the Ronnie
O'Sullivan in the quarterfinals.
-- who knocked out.
-- who knocked out.
It is a brutal
sport. But that is why we play. That
is the excitement of it. If these
big tournaments were easy to win, we
would all be doing it.
He is playing with a lot of
confidence right now. He has been
playing great all year.
A tough game.
I've been on tour 13
years. Yet to win one of the three
Triple Crown events. I fully believe
I can do it. If I didn't, I wouldn't
play. I have won nine tournaments
around the world. There is no reason
why I can't win one of the Triple
Crown if not all three.
I love watching him play. He is
great to watch. We have always had
good games together.
John is one of
the greatest ever in my opinion.
Probably the top three or four of
all time. We have had some great
battles over the years. He has
beaten me in some of the majors. I
am confident in my own game. That is
nothing against John. What I do
believe if I play how I have done
recently I will win. -- but.
buzzing. I have never really done a
great year but I have always enjoyed
playing. It is a packed house for
nearly every match. That is
I look forward to it.
We are in the company of two legends
this evening. Good evening to
Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis. Does
Mark Allen have enough to knock out
Without a doubt. He
has beaten them twice, and at this
venue as well.
Yeah, I think he is
hungry enough as well. He must have
had an agonising wait to get to the
semifinals and perhaps the final of
this event. He has been knocking on
the door for a long time. You have
to say, what is wrong with his game?
Any of those good things he has
improved on. The demolition of
Ronnie O'Sullivan is a big
It is a eight in
the head-to-heads. But Mark has a
good record against Higgins at the
Yes, John Higgins is a
winner here. His CV stands up very
well. He can do a job on a player
easily. Mark Allen has to be on his
Without a doubt. It would be a
fantastic match. It may not have the
drama of this afternoon. There will
be break-building from both. They
are class acts.
You expecting an
I'm expecting a
class match. They are classy
break-builders. They play the game
like everybody would like to play
the game. I would love to play the
game like them. I am sure Stephen
appreciates their skills as well.
You haven't got a clue what is going
to happen, you never know what the
storyline is going to be.
say that again. Kyren Wilson, 5-2
against Judd Trump, and he roared
back to knock him out 6-5. Judd
started his own downfall with this
most red. Kyren had a bit of good
luck when this shot found its way
onto the pink to build a
match-winning break. And by the time
this double turned into a trouble,
Kyren was already past the winning
post and through to his first final
of a Triple Crown event.
I hope Judd wasn't watching. Because
this man said that defeat for Judd
Trump is very damaging. Would you
Yeah, he should be
disappointed with what happened
today. From Kyren Wilson's
perspective, he was offered a
lifeline and he must be proud to
have taken it.
Strong views from you
earlier. Have you had time to
contemplate what you have said? Will
you change your viewpoint?
all. He had the game done and dusted
at 5-2. He played a crazy shot.
Offered his opponent a lifeline and
boy did he take it.
heard the boys saying Kyren Wilson
could lift the title?
something like that could be a
fillip to your career. When you are
given a chance like that, that could
be a pivotal moment in writing the
What was so special
about how Kyren fought back for you?
The body language for us in the
studio, and Kyren said, actually I
felt good, but the body-line which
didn't look good. What stood out?
When it mattered, under pressure,
when he was offered the balls, he
didn't refuse the chance. He has a
good temperament, he has got a
winning mentality. He will take his
chances. Disappointment for Judd
that he blew it and presented too
many chances to his opponent.
certainly hope we is not watching.
Looted and damaging for the rest of
his career. Let's get back to
tonight's Matt Bosher.
tonight's Matt Bosher.
Good evening, ladies and
gentlemen. This is the last session
of snooker ahead of tomorrow's UK
Masters final. It has been a week of
shocks, upset and comebacks. Which
of these two Celtic giant will join
Kyren Wilson in the showpiece
showdown? It is time to find out.
Please welcome one of the best
break-builders in the modern game.
Bidding for his first appearance in
a Masters final. This three-time
ranking event winners showed his
class with a superb, nerveless 6-1
win over defending champion Ronnie
O'Sullivan in the quarterfinals. He
is a big occasion performer who will
relish this tonight. He is the pride
of Northern Ireland, he is Mark The
And his opponent, one of the finest
sportsmen Scotland has ever
produced. Twice a Masters champion,
bidding for his first final in 12
years. In a career of incredible
longevity, anyone is 29th ranking
title earlier this season in India.
A player of immense mental strength
on and off the table. Four times
champion of the world, the Wizard of
Wishaw, John Higgins!
Here we go. What a Saturday evening
of entertainment we have got here at
Alexandra Palace. Listen to the
Good evening everybody. It is cold
outside. But boy, is it hot in the
arena here at Alexandra Palace? By
the wonderful reception. Everybody
looking forward to this. And Ken, as
Stephen and Steve said, all the
makings of a classic semifinal?
Absolutely, John. What a reception
both players got coming down the
stairs. Wonderful. Absolutely
buzzing in here. I think it is going
to be a classic. There is not a lot
between them. Eight wins apiece in
the head-to-heads. I think as the
lads mentioned, that 6-1 demolition
of Ronnie O'Sullivan in the last
round by Mark Allen, it will give
him all the confidence he needs.
Yes, particularly as everybody was
thinking that running was unbeatable
at this venue. That was a real
feather in Mark's cab. -- hat. He
has got another legend to take on
here. Great start! The perfect
Fantastic opening pot. Nicely on the
black as well. He can play a cannon
onto the red just above the black.
He didn't play that well.
He didn't play that well. He has
still got a red to the right centre.
I think the pink is on to the left
Yes, lucky to have this as an
alternative. But he has not made the
most of it! A little bit of tension
in the arm, probably.
Understandable. But it could be a
costly miss. So close.
Nice and straight on the pink. He
doesn't have too much to do with the
cue ball. Two reds to the right of
I don't think the pink will spot on
its own spot.
its own spot. No. Directly in line
with the spot and of course the top
It's sort of messes those two reds.
The bottom one was on. He may have
to go for the blue.
It is remarkable how John Higgins
has regained his focus for the game.
They say when you get over 40 you
start to lose a little bit of edge.
The last couple of seasons he has
really come back to something like
his best. Number five in the world
rankings. It is a compliment to his
desire and is love the game. -- he
is love of the game.
is love of the game.
tournament wins. I think a couple
behind Ronnie O'Sullivan and of
course Stephen Hendry on 32. A
fantastic achievement so far and
still going. He needs a bit of luck
here. Has he got it? It doesn't look
This red pots into the yellow
pocket. Not easy. Great shot.
Fantastic. He couldn't have played
that much better.
Playing that pink with a little bit
of extra pace. He knew that red was
never going to be easy. The closer
he gets to the red, the easier it
was going to be. Now there is a
choice. Looking at it, I think you
would probably play for the yellow.
This is the last of the loose reds.
Playing for the yellow he had
doesn't have to do much with the cue
ball. The next couple of shots could
be key to this frame.
He is playing the brown. Just a
little bit too solid with not enough
pace. Nothing to go out. -- at.
would like it or Tingwall. It is
touching. A lot easier to play the
safety shot. As long as the red
doesn't move, of course, it is not
foul. -- no foul.
A couple of good pots in the break
but he will be disappointed.
He didn't hit that very well. He
caught it much too thick. No harm
done. He has not really put any
pressure on John's safety shot. A
wealth of experience, John Higgins.
He has caught that a little bit
thick as well.
He has left the red to the left
corner. John Higgins will definitely
take it on. It is whether you try to
hold for the pink into the opposite
corner, or screw across the face of
the black. He probably feels he can
play better if he screws across the
face. He is looking at an
alternative red. The one to the left
corner looks the shot to play. But
first frame, maybe he is just
feeling a little bit nervy. No. As
you would expect with John Higgins,
playing the right shot.
Great shot. Plays it positively, as
you said. A nice flick of the red.
But for that flick he may not have
been on the black body deserves to
be on the black. Good pot. -- but he
deserves to be on the black. He
played that nicely. Have to force it
off the top cushion.
He would like to get the red is
close to this pot. He would like to
take that after the spring. It would
open up the other two reds. I am
sure he will try to get onto this
from the pink.
from the pink. He just wants to take
the loose ones first.
the loose ones first. I'm sure the
right-hand one of those two will go
into the right corner. He would like
to have been a little straighter on
this red. He is now considering if
he run through and leave himself on
the pink. Striking low. He doesn't
think he can play that shot. Back up
for the blue. He nearly got into
that too much. Now there is distance
between the colour and the next red
required. Hence the right smile.
Avid of adrenaline. He overcooked
that by some margin. That red I
spoke about... He may try to get
honest now. -- on it. Not this time.
The top red of the two beside the
pink will pot. It is not easy. Not
as easy as he would have liked.
And now he will have to play for the
red that Ken suggested.
red that Ken suggested. And you can
never take these for granted,
particularly if you're playing it
with a little bit of pace, which you
have too. The black is not available
in the opposite corner.
in the opposite corner.
He has to
play this with a little bit of
left-hand side as well. As you said,
John, a bit of pace. He played it
nicely. Of course the good thing
about potting that read now --
red... It opens the pocket up
nicely. A quick glance at the score.
He is 51 ahead. He needs pink and
one more red.
A helpful little kiss. There is a
red along the top cushion. If he
rolls it in he will go 58 points in
front with just 51 remaining. Only
the red required.
the red required. A good solid start
from the twice Masters champion.
At the moment three snookers to tie.
Playing the double.
Playing the double.
This has been an
excellent break. Very controlled. He
has parted some good balls. The
opening red was just fantastic. --
potted. They look a little flick off
the red but deserved every bit of
The red has not gone in but that
will be enough. A good solid start
from John Higgins. A couple of long
reds. A break of 33.
He leads 1-0.
John Higgins, what a record that is.
When you look at his century breaks
the last few years per season, they
are not decreasing any. That is a
great compliment to his desire. He
is still putting the work in the
practice. And of course all these
tournamentss to play. You need to be
There is the wonderful Waterford
Crystal trophy. Both players will be
hoping to get their hands on that
Sunday night. John, of course, as
won it twice. The Paul Hunter
trophy, as it is aptly named now,
after the late great Paul Hunter.
What a player he was.
What a player he was. He won this
Masters three times. John Higgins as
won it twice. It has not always been
his favourite tournament. The first
time he has been in the semifinals
in six years. That is quite
I'm not quite certainly played the
pot on the red there. That double
case has left this red on for Mark.
-- double case. -- kiss. Mark has
got first chance in the opening
frame. A tremendous long pot. This
is the red in the middle and never
had another chance after that. -- he
missed the red in the middle.
missed the red in the middle.
just come little higher on the black
than he would have liked. He could
pot the pink.
pot the pink. He is just seeing
where the pink would spot if he does
pot it. Pot the pink and stun the
cue ball forward a couple of inches.
And as in the first frame, the pink
doesn't spot on its own spot. There
you see, he is nicely on the red
into the bottom corner pocket now.
The chances Mark Allen was taking
against Ronnie O'Sullivan, I think
he won five of the six frames in one
visit. Tremendous scoring.
I know we have seen him quite a few
times in recent years when we have
done the tournament in Ireland in
January. He is the type of player,
Mark, that when he's on his game,
you just feel there is not a ball on
the table he couldn't pot if you
went for it. He's that type of
player. And in this type -- in this
position... Somebody with a
flashlight. In line with the shot.
Not the best thing to do. He has got
up and regrouped.
up and regrouped. He is a tremendous
break-builder. His style of cueing,
short action, keeps nice control
when playing little screws and
stuns. He is tailor-made for it.
Particularly on these fast cloths.
He makes a series of nice little
kisses and cannons around the pink
spot. When you watch the cue ball it
has -- he is always got tight
control. That is the essence of a
good break-builder. It wasn't a
great pack to go into there.
That is why he is on the loose red.
One more loose red, it's the extreme
receipt right at the bunch into the
I am certain he would rather be on
the red to the left centre. Would
have been a straightforward
positional shot. Now he is going to
run into other reds.
Not guaranteed position on the
He is wondering can he pot this red
and brush off the red to the left of
it. Try and send the cue ball back
to the blue or a colour.
If he hits the first red, the red he
is closest to, that first, could end
up on nothing.
That's what's happened.
He still has a shot on the black and
possibly even the blue.
More difficult than he would have
The choice is the black. If he plays
a drag he could possibly go for that
red nearest the cue ball now.
Played it beautifully. Absolutely
Fully committed. Had to be.
Well, how many times do we see that?
You see a player, looks as though he
broke the back of the break, and
played a great shot and then just no
concentration. That's all I can put
it down to on that red.
the red into that same middle pocket
in the first frame, it cost him.
John can take this on to the red
corner pocket and hold for the blue.
They're never easy those, playing
into a blind pocket. He knew that he
could only really leave the one he
was playing. You could say it was
half a chance. John will be just
pleased Mark Allen broke down when
he did. Looked as though it could
have been a frame-winning
Played that nicely.
Just to straighten up the cue ball.
Leaves John in a bit of trouble
Natural path of the cue ball and
playing one of these reds is going
towards that reds that's on the left
side. So he has to avoid that.
Where is the cue ball going!
It's all about fractions, but this
red, he is onto the right corner.
Needs to stop short of the baulk
line. And it has. So a choice of
yellow or green. If he gets a good
positional shot here, surely he will
win the frame.
The referee asked Mark to give him a
second, it tells us the pink spot is
still not available. 61 points the
lead. Just looking for red, colour,
red now, to get to the snookers
May have to play a little cannon,
just to go for the frame-winning red
Played it perfectly.
So this red, opening 70 points in
front with 67 remaining.
John Higgins, he only had a very
difficult red to go at when Mark
missed the red to the middle.
That will mean John Higgins will not
be coming back to the table.
Early observations, but both players
look very confident. Good stroke.
Yeah, suppose the only thing is that
Mark Allen has missed a couple of
reds to the middle. One cost him the
first frame, he got away with it in
Both players have had their hand on
the table from a neutral's point of
So it can only improve from here.
Might just drop the pink in and
leave the double on the red.
This will certainly settle him down,
Mark Allen is up and running.
STUDIO: High quality stuff as
predicted by our two guests here in
the studio. A good start.
nothing to suggest other than a
classic match, both players look
very sharp, composed, as you would
expect, two obviously very
experienced campaigners, but both
Steve, what have you
made of the opening exchanges?
They've both settled in quickly. I
think you expect this to be a
hard-fought game, could be classy.
Both players know the significance.
And experienced enough to make it
tell if they get a chance. The miss
of the red to the middle pocket with
Mark Allen, he felt he got half a
kick which pushed it to the far jaw.
John Higgins missed his chance and
1-1. Fair enough.
In terms of John
Higgins a couple of people on social
media tonight, by the way you can
get in touch with us, are saying
what is it about John Higgins, how
is he still doing this at this stage
of his career? He seems to be down
and he comes roaring back.
look like he was dropping down the
rankings a bit. He rejuvenated his
career, as has Mark Williams as
well. At one stage in the
quarter-finals there were
340-year-olds, and all three could
have had a chance. -- three
40-year-olds. He is a great match
player, there is no parts of his
game that are substandard. He always
gives himself a chance to win.
what we have seen today in poor
decision-making, in the Trump and
Wilson, both guilty of poor
You won't see that
from either of these players
tonight. The shots that Trump played
and - you won't get that tonight.
You will get a more, shall we say
OK, back we go.
COMMENTATOR: That's left the red to
the left corner.
Will depend whether Mark thinks
there is value in playing the pot
and if he does can he get position
on the black?
He can get position on the black.
This break-off shot is really
becoming a poison chalice.
Will be disappointed. Normally so
good at that shot. Just a simple
cannon. This shot, the balls were
very close. It was the previous one
he will be disappointed with.
the cannon from the black. Very
tentative and being left-handed this
black is not an option.
This is the one, should have played
it with more pace. And no reason not
to play with more pace because the
red could have sprung others out.
Maybe a little bit tentative.
A big match.
Never been to a Masters final.
There you go. There is a piece of
Can we ask for another one.
Grab another one, please. Thanks.
They were probably going to make a
cue out of it and because it wasn't
straight decided to make it into a
Have a look at this.
No one has noticed it all week.
Really funny if this was even more
crooked than the first one.
With it being a spider it's not as
though you can roll it on the table
to see if it's straight. They're all
Put this one back.
Now we are going
to improvise. Put the rest on top of
the normal spider.
In the end, yes, well played.
Looks as though it could be a decent
break of shot, certainly stopped the
escape back to baulk. John may be
able to get past the blue to this
red on the left side. I don't see a
path back to baulk off that one.
It's the only one he can hit.
Not too dissimilar to Mark Allen's
opening red. The problem with this
one is there is more pressure
because of the reds.
That's why he decided to play a
safety shot. That's good match play
from John Higgins.
Couldn't afford to take that on F he
missed it he was leaving a red to
the right corner pocket. He may
still have done.
Just thinking he
may just have overrun this. I think
this red is potable.
The yellow not a problem being
left-handed. But a bit to do with
the cue ball here, has to force it
back up the table.
Looking to play on the red that's
near the black spot.
Could have played that better. He
has underhit that.
By some margin. Wanted to get on the
red, either the black spot or the
one above it.
That's a bad miscalculation.
Cue ball could have travelled
another 18, maybe 20 inches.
Now is the yellow coming to his
rescue? Oh, dear, it is.
Very fortunate there.
How do you get to the red over the
corner? How do you play to cover it?
You just feel when you are playing
that shot you are getting close to
brown. But what else has he got on?
If he wasn't so close to the yellow
he could come off the left side
cushion and nestle into the reds
below the pink. He is thinking of
trying to get there off four
He has to get close to the left
middle pocket if that's going to
He will leave the red now.
Mark Allen four.
Obviously won't be taken.
will he play a little cannon here,
plant one red onto the other and
stay on the black?
Didn't want to kiss the black on the
way through with the cue ball and
knocked it into a safer position.
That was a pressure shot. Couldn't
have played it much better.
have played it much better. Must
take his chance here, you feel.
Got a big slice of luck when he
covered that red with the yellow.
That could have worked out better. A
red to the far left corner but he
was opening for something easier
No. A little bit jabby at that.
I fancied him to knock it in.
It was a good chance.
He has not taken it.
That will give John Higgins a little
bit of hope. What has John got to go
Left middle he is playing to.
No. Always difficult those into a
blind pocket. You have not got the
pocket in the eye line so makes them
difficult. Once again, not being
punished for his mistakes, Mark.
That struggled in.
Wasn't easy. Trying to hold the cue
ball for those two reds into the
right centre. It made it more
difficult. What can John Higgins do?
Six minutes since John last potted a
ball. Wow. Tension out there.
both players have got their hand on
So you expect them to relax. But
Mark Allen's been a little bit
tentative the last couple of visits
to the table.
And didn't expect John Higgins to
A big target into the reds.
It's not too bad.
47 points needed now. Looking for
another three reds.
Three reds nicely in the open.
That would have clinched the frame.
This red to go 62 points ahead with
just 59 remaining.
John Higgins is coming up to the
30th minute since he last potted a
ball. Couple of half chances. And
sometimes that's all you get at this
It's whether John Higgins wants to
play for snookers, he doesn't. He
nods his concession.
Mark Allen, not flawless, but will
be happy with the scoreline. He
STUDIO: He will indeed. Right,
Steve, your assessment of that third
Well, I like the way Mark
Allen plays the game. The economy of
movement, not just of the cue ball
but also of his cue. We always talk
about these cloths being super fast.
The faster the cloth, the less
distanks you have to pull the cue
back in order to hit the ball, you
don't have to hit it so hard.
Players with a long back swing,
they've got to hit the ball slowly
or seem to go through slowly to play
a soft shot. Mark Allen, short pull
back and a sharper more positive
Yeah the Daning we are the
longer cue action is the
deselleration going through. You
miss everything thin. That's the
biggest problem. Mark Allen is not
going to get that, as Steve said,
it's accelerating through the ball.
There is little can go wrong when
there is that short between the
bridge hand and cue ball.
had problems with wasps and flies. A
problem with a spider.
Yes, I have
it here. This is the spider that
Mark Allen there, didn't quite like
this spider. Looked like it was bent
there. Perhaps Uri Geller has been
giving it special treatment, don't
know. Doesn't look too bad to me.
looked at it during that frame.
Anyway, back we go.
COMMENTATOR: Not the best break-off
A bit careless from Mark.
This will be a frame that John
Higgins will know is very important.
He doesn't want to go to the
mid-session interval after this
frame two behind.
And gets the first chance at this
In it goes!
Just over 30 minutes since he last
potted a ball but that's sometimes
the nature of snooker.
What can he make of the chance?
Don't think there is a
straightforward red to play here?
It is the age-old problem when you
play that shot. If you don't hit the
pink full on the face, the cue ball
is bound to be coming towards this
top cushion. Unless a red comes with
it, he will be on nothing.
He will be very disappointed. He
gifted Mark Allen another chance
Yeah, he was left that
difficult shot. But the problem is
that John has now opened up the
reds, so this chance is an even
better one will stop he doesn't have
to play too many cannons early on.
He just overran the cue ball
slightly. He has to go in and out of
baulk macro now. -- of baulk now.
This looks pretty good. Looks very
good. He has got a nice angle on
this red. He can pot the red, stun
off the top cushion and get the
black into the same pocket.
This is normally where he is so
good. Tight control of the cue ball.
Plenty of reds in the open. He may
play a little cannon into the red
and pink. Not this time. Maybe he
should have. He hasn't played that
I can only assume the red
he is closest to, he has played for
the left middle.
the left middle. The red he is going
to play now, you would have been on
that if he had played the cannon.
that if he had played the cannon. He
has to judge how the cue ball will
run through the other reds. We were
singing his praises around the black
spot area. But so far he has not
been that person. -- impressive.
That's not too bad. It's not tied on
the cushion. It is a bit straight on
the black. But at least he can dig
down on the cue ball.
Fawcett in off two-cushions. --
Just look at how the reds are
aligned up. All four of them pot
into the bottom left hand corner
pocket. -- are aligned up. No more
Almost like a practice routine, the
way the reds are spread now.
That is the only problem with going
up for the blue. He didn't feel
comfortable playing for the black.
He has got the red on the left-hand
side of the table. He can play it
full hit. He is OK. But when you are
in this position, if you can retain
good position in and around the
black spot area, particularly with
the reds being at this end, it makes
it so much more easy to manoeuvre
the cue ball.
the cue ball. You wouldn't expect
any mistakes from here. This black
would put him 50 points in front
with just 75 remaining. So after
this black, a couple of reds and
colours would be sufficient.
colours would be sufficient. After
losing the first frame, to going to
the mid-session interval with a two
frame advantage, he will be well
Yes, very similar to what
happened against Ronnie O'Sullivan.
He lost the very first frame and
went on to win that match 6-1.
Again, just slightly overran the cue
Two interesting spectators. Nick
Baines from the Kaiser Chiefs and
his dad, Allen, big snooker
supporters. Nice to have you here,
This is much better from Mark Allen.
In complete control of the cue ball
during this break.
during this break. Just one slip-up
at the beginning. Other than that it
has been very impressive. It
concerned looking John Higgins. He
started very well. Mr couple of
reds. -- he missed a couple of reds.
One in this frame and two in the
You'd just get the
feeling now that he is getting a
head of steam up here, Mark Allen.
What a shame. No century. The
century breaks seem to have dried up
recently. That won't bother Mark
Allen, who takes a deserved lead
into the mid-session interval.
I'm not too sure if our cameras have
shown you, but there are a couple of
chaps in the crowd tonight wearing
the Northern Ireland football
shirts. The green and white army.
They will be delighted? Very much
so. Mark Allen is starting to look
dangerous. John Higgins is starting
to weaken a little bit, which is
strange. He has missed a couple of
easy shots. Weak efforts at pots. It
is not like him. He will probably
need to get his arm going again at
the practice table.
Did you see it
going this way?
the practice table.
Did you see it
going this way?
No, I thought John Higgins would be
strong. Mark Allen is doing a good
job here this evening. He has made
it look pretty effective, John
Higgins. If he continues after the
interval, which can sometimes change
things, he could get through to the
final with not too much stress.
is up with John Higgins tonight?
Obviously Marquez making the most of
his chances. Every day you turned up
it is a different story line.
Regardless of the storyline, your
job is to turn it around if you got
off to a bad start. That is
something John Higgins is great at.
You can't macro always get out of
the blocks quickly. Therefore, as it
-- if it goes wrong, as it did do
with Kyren Wilson, the good players
seem to be able to dig them out more
than the average players.
was one behind against Ronnie
O'Sullivan went on to win the next
This is almost a mirror image
of this match. Loses the first frame
and dominates the next three. He has
made a 90 break. When he starts
going, he is hard to stop. John
Higgins will have to do something
Mark Allen looks really
cool, really in control.
Very composed. John Higgins 3-1 down
and he has been talking to Rob
Your 24th year at the Masters. Can
you remember the debut and the final
against Robert -- runny? I can
remember the debut. I've played Tony
Drago. I think it was in a
preliminary round. I managed to beat
Tony five - four. -- 5-4. It was a
great tournament, great venue, the
You've got a
really weird record with the
Masters. You have been in four
finals and have won it twice. But we
have not seen you in a final since
you beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the
epic match in 2006. In 24 years you
have had a 12 first-round exits.
Sometimes it goes brilliantly and
other times you are
uncharacteristically owed on your
Yes, maybe I enjoy
Christmas too much! Baby that is
what it is. -- maybe. I have played
some very bad matches here. I have
got out of it exactly what I
deserved. I'm delighted to have won
it twice and into a couple of
finals, but I've never really had a
great record at the Masters.
titles you have won across all the
years, where did the Indian open
rank from the point of view of, it
puts you on 29, one ahead of Steve
Davis. Yet another season and yet
another ranking title. Do they get
Yeah, of course. It
was tough in India. We flew the next
day to a tournament in China. After
every tournament I like to enjoy
myself, have a few drinks and
unwind. You don't know when the next
one is going to come. That is the
only tournament I didn't actually
enjoy because afterwards I had one
beer and then packed my case. Then
we got picked up to go to the
airport. I'd like to have enjoyed a
bit better. But you have tournaments
coming thick and fast. It was
Are you surprised in some
ways that the class of T2, you and
Ronnie and Mark, are still all
ranking events? -- 92. We do have
expected the next generation to have
knocked all three of you
metaphorically off the perch by now?
No. Because I think the three of us
just really good players. I don't
think we will be going away anywhere
quickly. I have still got the desire
to compete with the best that we
have got in the game. Obviously
Ronnie has shown this year he is
still competing for the top titles.
Me and Mark Raby coming in for a
couple of the smaller ones. But no,
it is just we are good players. It
is simple. We grew up through the
amateur game when we were young. We
know probably a lot of places, and
baby the younger players have not
learned it yet. If we can keep the
appetite to practice, I'm sure we
will still be competing for another
few years with the best players.
There will be loads of young players
in their clubs who like watching
you. And it would seem to me having
been on the circuit at few years,
one of your key strengths is the
fact that you are so tough on the
table mentally. Is that something
that is instinctively in someone
horrid isn't? Are can you teach
someone to have that mental resolve
when they are under immense pressure
and things get tough?
I don't think
you can teach it. I think it is in
building you. I have been lucky over
the years. I have always had the
desire. I have always said I have
never had the same drive and desire
that people like Stephen Hendry and
Steve Davis have had. They are
legends of the game. But you also
have do add Ronnie O'Sullivan into
that. I wouldn't say he has had the
drive and determination the same as
those two but he compensates for
that by being the most naturally
gifted player we have ever had in
the game. He elevates himself up to
those guys as well. I would probably
be a couple of rungs below those
three. But to be below those guys,
there is no shame in that. I'm
delighted that I have had a great
career. I still think I'm going
strong enough that I can add to
titles I have won over the years. I
think it is because I play an
all-round game. If I can keep on
having the desire to go and practice
and things, I still think I can
compete for a few more years yet
with the best players.
interested, I mean, how do you pick
a highlight from everything you have
won? I would like to float one title
across that you -- that I remember
so well. When you won the Welsh Open
after your dad passed away, I
couldn't believe how well you kept
it together that week. It was a
great final with Stephen. I know you
are really good mates. From an
outsider's point of view I think
that is right up there. I couldn't
get over the composer he displayed
throughout that week. Is that one of
It would be. I
think I was just on autopilot that
season as well. Obviously I had come
back. That was autopilot. I think
even a couple of years after that I
think I just put everything into
that. That is what I mean. I don't
think I have ever had that intensity
that I had for those ten months. It
really took it out of me. I don't
think I done anything after that. I
was just mentally in a bad place
because of everything that happened.
My dad and things. But this event, I
love this event because it's one of
the only events that I can go to
that I have not... There are a lot
of events that I go to nowadays,
when my dad was always there with
me, this is tough. It is tough when
you lose a big part of your life is
with you all the time. It is one of
those things that when you come
here, it's been a long career, it's
been a good career, it's been a sad
career. It's been a lot of things.
I'm obviously delighted with the
career I have had. I've got my
family now as well. You keep on
trying to have a good career and
provide for them because that's what
you do when you are a dad, I
It has been a joy to watch
you for the last few years. Long may
Another fine interview from
A very emotional John
Higgins? Yeah, the journey you go on
with your family, and your father
follows you around. I know what that
is like. You are a team. When the
team changes, it is tough to
continue. My father was very much
It must be tough going to
those venues and always having your
Yeah, the start of
your career your father takes you
everywhere. Looks after you. You
share Hotel rooms. They start you
off. Obviously everywhere you go,
John played so many events at Sony
venues, that everyone will hold a
Let's talk about
the young pretenders. Who will be
the next triple Crown winners?
was right. It was a correct answer.
The fact those three, Ronnie
especially, John, Mark, they are
just still above the rest.
Adair, Higgins, Ray Reardon... At
some point these young guns are
going to have to step up?
Eventually. It will add meant of
great players. The world of golf is
not littered with players dominating
all the time. There are a lot of
players able to win. Domination is
tough. Who will come along and knock
everybody off their perch and be
dominant? Very hard to say. Kyren
Wilson is nicely placed. We thought
Judd Trump was nicely placed, King
John high. -- ding. Until they start
to win regularly, they will just be
another one of the pack. They may be
winners but they are just another
one of the growing pack of players
who win events.
What do you think,
I find it hard to pick
somebody that is going to come along
and win three, four titles is
season. I think there is a level.
You got Mark Selby, Ronnie
O'Sullivan, John Higgins. They are
all quite similar to me. There is
nobody who stands out. Nobody you
think will win 20 titles before the
end of his career. There is nobody
The flip side of that,
there are so many good players out
there. Maybe that is the problem.
One player will win a title here and
another one there?
It is quite
funny. If ever I got big -- beaten
in the 80s are Stephen in the 90s,
it was always said, it's good for
the game that somebody else wins.
But it is also really nice to have
it dominant character in the game
because in a way it is something to
shoot at. It is good for the game to
have a Tiger Woods or a Roger
Federer. Everybody is, can he lose?
Will he ever lose? Willie ever drop
That is its own talking
point. Perhaps one of the players is
Kyren Wilson, who fought back
terrifically well this afternoon. He
was 5-2 down against
terrifically well this afternoon. He
was 5-2 down against Judd Trump but
won the final frame decider.
Judd started his own downfall with
this mist red. It gave Kyren the
opportunity to win the last frame.
Kyren had a bit of good luck when
this pot found its way onto the pink
to build his match-winning break. By
the time this double turned into a
trouble, Kyren was already past the
winning and through to his first
final of a triple Crown event.
I would like to think my family, my
dad and my grandad, they are very
strong minded people. I would
definitely say I got my fighting
qualities from my dad and grandad.
It is not always easy to produce
that out there, especially when you
find yourself 5-2 down and you are
struggling. Judd gave me a nice
opening and 5-2 and I settled myself
down. Judd's safety game really
impressed me. It is probably
something he has been working on
quite hard. I was finding it really
difficult. I may took a couple of
liberties but it is just because he
forced me into them really. -- I
maybe took a couple of liberties. At
5- to your almost like a dead man,
you have to start going for it, not
go to mad. Maybe the yellow was a
bit crazy but I fancied it, to be
honest. They started going in, I
find my game and grew in confidence.
Firmly, that Masters trophy is the
best looking trophy out of them all.
I promised my mum she would have
that one day. I will be trying my
best to make sure that happens
He is a top player and a top guy. We
look forward to seeing Kyren Wilson
in the final. You can enjoy it with
us live on the BBC.
John Higgins has a lot to do.
John Higgins has a lot to do.
3-1 down at the interval. This is
the story of the match. John Higgins
going into his first Masters
semifinal since 2012. He won the
first frame. Mark Allen knocked in
breaks of 47 and 63 to take the
second. Into frame three, Mark Allen
leads for the first time. Some
problem with the spider, saying it
is not straight. Mark Allen goes
into the lead for the first time. I
have to say, I completely agree with
Steve Davis, looking remarkably cool
and calm tonight. Potting this blue
and setting a break of 90.
Sealing the frame. And here come the
players. Live pictures at Alexandra
Palace. I have to you, what a
wonderful noise in this remarkable
venue will stop yes Jason, the
atmosphere has been electric.
It has been electric all week.
Sometimes when you lose your start
trancelike Ronnie O'Sullivan, it
goes down a notch. That has not
happened. -- Eurostar terms like
Ronnie O'Sullivan. The match this
afternoon got everybody excited. We
have seen some wonderful snooker.
The century breaks, they have dried
up a little as we get near the end
of the tournament?
Yeah, we thought
we would be in for a record number
of centuries. 20 centuries after
four days. They seem to have dried
up since. They do change the cushion
cloth midway through the tournament.
It is a new cloth for the semifinals
and final. We have always said,
sometimes that can change the match.
Stops a player getting into a
rhythm. It be interesting to if the
interval as meant a change for John
He is eyeing up a big shot
He misted by the proverbial. He has
not got away with it. He has left a
nice easy starter for Mark Allen.
Not the start that John needed to
the second half of this match.
He just overscrewed that cue ball.
He is too straight on the blue. He
will have to drop the blue in, take
a red from mid-distance. He is
coming down to have a look at this
black. It doesn't pot into the
bottom left-hand corner pocket. I'm
it does. He has to stun this red in
and he will be on the black. You
see... Well, that was a bit twitchy.
John Higgins having a look over Mark
Allen's shoulder. That was a little
Yeah. It always looks
as if a player has hit it too hard
when he misses the pot. That should
have been a nice soft stun
run-through. As you say, he didn't
deliver the cue soft at all there.
That might give John Higgins a
little bit of hope, particularly if
he can make the most of this
opportunity. This could put a seed
of doubt into Mark Allen's mind.
of doubt into Mark Allen's mind. He
is on the black.
He died an unintentional kiss on the
red. It is OK if the black goes into
the right corner but it doesn't. --
he got an unintentional kiss. The
pink obviously goes. He has underhit
that. Still feeling a little bit
That is not good. You can see the
shake head. He wanted to be
straighter on this. As you said
John, he is a bit edgy.
John, he is a bit edgy. He needs to
find the gap between the reds in
potting this read and get back on
the blue. It is not straightforward.
There is a gap.
He has played it the other way but
played it very nicely.
Looks like he has played for a red
to the corner. Two reds in the
middle, look very much mriek like a
-- like a plant.
A bit of distance between the two
balls, but just played the first one
as though he was trying to pot that.
Yeah, no problem.
Would have preferred to have more of
a bounce off the side cushion than
he has got.
Looks to have played that nicely. He
can get through to the red to the
right of the black. That's the one
he wants to clear. Makes the black
available into both corners.
On it perfectly.
Held the cue ball nicely for this
red just above the black. Also has a
red to the right centre as well but
this is his preference.
Has a lovely angle now. He can go
into the two reds directly in line
with the black near the pink spot.
Played that nicely. A little bit
close for comfort. Could have done
with the cue ball in the open.
It's difficult when
you are hampered and he was. The
advantage was he didn't have to do a
lot with the cue ball.
He is OK. Not inch perfect, not
exactly what he played for, he will
have to go for the blue. Has to be
careful with that red near the left
Played that nicely.
Of course this is where all his
great experience will come in. He
knows how important this visit is,
particularly after the missed red
from his opponent.
You have to punish those mistakes.
When this blue goes in, he will be
looking for one more red and will be
at the snookers required stage.
This will put him 60 points ahead
with 59 remaining.
Well played John Higgins.
Every chance now for John Higgins to
make a century and it will be a
landmark in his career because at
the moment career centuries, 699.
Looking for his 700th career
And the 26th of the tournament.
Incredible landmark. Only Stephen
Hendry with 775 and Ronnie
O'Sullivan 900 plus mark.
Played this nicely. Beautiful shot.
What will please him most, not only
getting this century, just withining
the frame in one visit. Missed a few
in the first session. That would
have annoyed him. This is much
Century 700 in his career for John
Couldn't have come at a
better time for him.
The match is hotting up now.
Yes, just what he needed to do. OK,
he was given the opportunity by the
bad miss from Mark Allen. But that's
the game. Nobody's that good that
they can pot everything. When they
do make the mistake, particularly
when you are 3-1 behind, you have to
show character and you have to show
your opponent if he makes a mistake
he is going to cost him dear.
He has done that here, it's been a
marvellous break from John Higgins.
700th career century. 26th of the
tournament. But, more importantly
for John Higgins, winning a frame in
one visit and showing Mark Allen
that he is there to be reckoned
with. He is one behind, though. It's
STUDIO: Brilliant stuff from John
Higgins. Perfect response after the
interval. That's what it means to
our tournament centuries board. Up
to 26. 31 is the Masters record.
Fantastic. Third player ever to make
over 700 centuries, brilliant. It's
been the strength of his game.
may not have had that chance because
Mark Allen at the start of the
frame, this shows you fractions in
snooker. He has this red, he is
going to screw back for the blue to
the left middle. Watch where he ends
up. Simplest shot. Don't even think
about it. He left himself straight
on the blue there, very careless. He
couldn't get close to the reds.
Perhaps it's him that makes the
How often is that when the
blue is not in the spot and the
line. If the blue is in the spot you
know that position entirely. Blue
wasn't on-the-spot. He overscrewed
A word on 700.
Obviously Ronnie O'Sullivan is best
placed to get 1,000 centuries. There
are more tournaments in the season.
Don't know if John Higgins can get
to 1,000. Maybe until he is about 60
He has stayed in it.
needed that lifeline. Missed it by a
mile, body language not good. You
can't afford to give a player of his
class chances like that. Now he has
made that century. Who knows what
happens from here.
What happens when
you make 131 like that, given the
state of the game and what's at
stake, what does that do to the
You have dominated that
particular time on the table. You
have got into a rhythm. If you get
good chances in the next frame you
can just capitalise upon your rhythm
and keep in the mode. It is about
dominating the table. If you can
actually then start to get a head of
steam going then you can start
pumping in frame-winning breaks
left, right and centre. But it's
tough against another player to
pressure on your opponent.
A little bit pacy on and off the
baulk cushion. But safe enough.
A bigger bounce than he would have
liked off that cushion. A couple of
reds to go at.
Try and take the red that's closest
to the left centre pocket and maybe
screw back for blue. Could only
possibly leave this red if he misses
it. That's the reason he is going to
take this on.
That's the only red... That's
exactly what he has done.
It's not cost him anything. Offered
him up a real good chance.
Just banged his cue on the floor as
he was walking around. This isn't
He managed to be able to hold for
Certainly can pot the blue and hold
for the loose red.
He has tried to play for the red in
the left middle, once again.
Not a good position.
He had a lot of room for error
there. When we deal in fractions,
you often say, John, that's a really
We did say how the intervals can
change the rhythm of a match. All of
a sudden he's gone a bit cold.
Needs to miss the brown. He has
done. Therefore, excellent safety.
The way the reds are spread he will
need a good length here. That's much
Much too thick. Is the blue going to
come to his rescue?
Or maybe hampered by the yellow.
A bit fortunate there was John
Higgins. He could have left the red
to the corner as well. But got one
covering the other.
There will be no hesitation to play
this red to the right corner. But
hampered by the yellow.
Doesn't make it very appetising.
But he found one. Has that flick on
the blue helped? It has. I can get
through to the brown. -- he can get
through to the brown.
Tried to get on the red next to the
pink but he is still OK. Needs to
get top side of the blue. He hasn't
done that. Wrong side.
Will have to go in and out of baulk
Needed that just to miss the yellow.
Going to need another good shot here
on the red.
Very good pot.
Played that well. Straight on the
green. Also has the blue to the
bottom corner pocket as well.
Just hasn't got in position, has he?
No, certainly making hard work of
The one thing we can do, we
mentioned this, if he puts his mind
to it, he can pot anything. There is
nothing beyond him.
This time absolutely inch perfect on
It's now a frame-winning chance.
Still looking for three more reds.
But you have to say it looks a
Red and black would put him 65 in
front with 67 remaining.
This is the last of the easy reds to
Just one good positional shot,
should be OK.
He is playing for the pink to the
That gave him a nice easy position
on this red that he needs to clinch
this frame. This is to go 65 ahead
with 59 remaining.
So John Higgins, who came back in
the last frame with a marvellous
break of 131. He's not had a chance,
well a couple of half-chances in
this frame. Not been able to take
He won't be getting another one.
Good response from Mark Allen.
Some marvellous pots.
It's been good snooker. 58 and
counting here. He has to go in and
out of baulk to tray to get onthe
The yellow could come into
play. He has to avoid the kiss on
Can he avoid the yellow?
But he won't matter. John Higgins
will not come back to the table.
It was going to be interesting to
see how Mark Allen resumed after
lofdzings the last frame. But
business as bush -- - after losing
the last frame but business as
STUDIO: Good response.
Yeah, I think
he is the most efishent player at
the moment amongst the balls in the
whole opportunity. Going back to
that point about economy of moving
the cue ballwards and forwards, he
seemed to be controlling the breaks
very well around the top end of the
table. If you are playing well and
you are enjoying yourself out there
you are going to suffer less from
the tension and he seems to be
playing pretty tension-free in what
is a very big moment in his career.
Steve has xhengsed -- mentioned, we
have seen a different Mark Allen
especially tonight, he looks calm.
And looks like he is enjoying the
Very much so. I sat with him
before the match with Ronnie
O'Sullivan and I thought this was a
massive match but I thought he sat
there and was very relaxed and
didn't look tense at all. He is the
same tonight. It's important that he
keeps this cushion of two frames
because it's not easy in John
Higgins position, you keep chasing.
So keep piling on these frames and
he is going to be hard to beat.
key word you used this afternoon is
concentration at this level,
something that Judd took his eye off
the ball today.
Very much so and
that red in the last frame, even
little shots like that might have
cost him the frame ultimately, John
Higgins made a century. It's got to
be 100% concentration at this level.
If we are being completely honest,
did you expect Mark Allen to be in a
semifinal on Saturday night?
think everybody expected Ronnie
O'Sullivan to beat him. We all know
how good he is. Zip I expect him to
be here? No, but we know he has a
chance. From his perspective he has
been bashing his head against a
brick wall for a while trying to
break into the elite majors win
bunch and so he is getting closer, I
feel. He's taken lots of knockbacks
and still coming back for more
punishment so good on him.
wins two more frames he will be
through to the final.
COMMENTATOR: You get the feeling the
way these frames are going that the
first one in seems to, not
necessarily win the frame in one
visit, but build up a lead and then,
I have not been too impressed with
the safety consistently from both
players, so if you can get in first
and make 35, 40, you can sit on that
lead. I remember one frame really
against the head and that was when
John Higgins made his 131 when Mark
Allen got in and missed a
straightforward red to the corner.
But other than that, first in has
been winning the frame.
These safety exchanges at the
beginning, very, very important.
Yeah, couldn't agree more. Can't do
much with this safety shot because
of that red, it's gone up into
baulk. Mark Allen has a shot here to
go off the right side of the pack
with a bit of left side. He is
looking at a possible plant he could
make. Not sure whether it's worth
the risk. He has a 4-2 lead. It's a
Funnily enough when John
Higgins played he did have a look at
the possibility of this plant. Was
he leaving it? I thought he thought
it's too risky for Mark to go for.
And it turns out he was probably
Just going to roll off this red, put
the cue ball down towards the bottom
right pocket. Tried to get it as
close to the jaws of the pocket as
he could. Just come up a bit short.
OK, it's close to the baulk cushion
but he has left him on this red,
really needed to be covering that
red with the brown.
He has left a tempter.
up the pot into the right middle and
a little bit concerned where the cue
ball is going to go.
He has the pot. Where is the cue
I was concerned about that.
Always had a look that cue ball was
going to go close to the corner
When you are playing off the side of
the pack you are always aware that
you are not knocking a red towards
either corner pocket. That's why he
played it with a bit more pace, that
red that came out into the open of
the table, just below the blue, he
hit it hard enough to make sure it
was away from the corner pocket.
One of the better safety shots we
He can get through to hit this red
but can't see enough to play the
He is looking at it, don't blame him
shaking his head. Don't see how he
can get back to the baulk end. If he
tries to come thin off this red,
every possibility of a double kiss.
He has to catch this just right.
He just avoided the double-kiss. And
that, believe me, is as good a
safety shot as he has played all
evening. Well played.
evening. Well played. He had to
catch this just right to avoid a
double-kiss. That is a great reply
from Mark Allen. Beginning to find
the baulk cushion area now.
That red has gone close to the left
hand cushion makes this safety shot
so much more difficult.
so much more difficult. He may have
to play a containing safety shot.
But the problem of leaving the cue
ball there is that the red left with
the pink parts into the right
centre. -- pots.
Yeah. A poor choice from John
Higgins. It is not often you would
say that in a safety shot.
excellent safety shots from Mark
Allen. You feel this was a frame
John Higgins needed to win. Now Mark
Allen with an opportunity to get in
one frame of tomorrow's final.
There is one red to the left of the
black that is available to the right
corner. He could play a cannon into
the main bunch. That is what he is
doing. How is your luck? Raid looks
pretty good to me. It looks
This is an
excellent shot. He could not have
played that any better. Fantastic.
They are all there. He resigned look
on John Higgins' face.
the worst. -- he will be filling the
worst. When you are sat in that seat
and you have no right of reply, you
just have to sit there and hope that
your opponent makes a mistake and
you get back to the table.
you get back to the table. It is
hard to see where that mistake is
going to come from though.
He could play a little cannon into
the two reds just above the black.
It has worked out perfectly. It has
brought those two reds into play.
He is playing exactly the way he
played against Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Looking very composed.
That is it. Snookers required. 68
points the lead,
points the lead, just 67 available.
Two very good safety shots from Mark
Allen created this opening. It is a
pity we will not see a century. We
may see John Higgins play on. Just
one snooker required.
There you see it. 68 behind. 67
remaining. One snooker required. No.
It just went away. And he looks at
Mark Allen and says, that is enough
if you like. And Mark Allen does
like. He accepts the concession and
is now one frame away from the UK
Masters final for the first time in
He leads 5-2. Mark Allen so close,
Yes, and you have to say
you wouldn't imagine the same thing
happening that happened this
afternoon, with Mark Allen going for
a stupid shot to let his opponent,
back in. John Higgins could still do
that but it will be for the same
reason as this afternoon. Mark Allen
looks so solid, so confident. It is
so crisp the way he strikes the
ball. Every time he gets in it it
looks like the frame is over.
looks inevitable like he is going to
get through to the final and a new
name on the trophy. Let's fast
forward to the final, and he does
get through, it could be a nervy
one. Getting a major name on the
trophy. The way he is looking, he is
looking like a champion.
are one frame away from reaching the
final of such a prestigious event,
Mark has obviously popped out to
compose himself, what is that
He is very excited. He
has look super composed all
tournament. This is the Sword of
State of mind a sports psychologist
would want you in. He is floating
around the table, his face has the
same expression all the time. I
fully expect him to come out the
same way. There was a wee bit of a
twitch in the final balls against
Ronnie O'Sullivan. I don't see that
It shows that you have to
be very patient in the world of
snooker to get a big trophy in the
Cabinet. Gone are the days when you
are going to get them easily. You
get in the cue along with everybody
else. You have to be ready to take
your chance. You have to suffer
disappointment along the way.
use that disappointment?
It is great for Mark Allen to be
producing better snooker now than
what he was doing a few years ago.
One thing about John Higgins, when
his back is against the wall he has
produced some fantastic comebacks.
his back is against the wall he has
produced some fantastic comebacks.
I wouldn't write him off yet.
of you telling us and which you are
enjoying your Saturday night. I
should remind you that Judd Trump
was 5-2 ahead in his match this
afternoon. Look what happened to
Yes. I agree with Stephen. I don't
expect him to play any rash shots.
You have to go for your shots. You
can't just park the bus. Somebody
has to put the point on the board.
But I do think it is imperative, and
he didn't do it in the last frame
because of excellent safety from
Mark Allen, but John Higgins has to
try to get in first in however many
frames we play. His opening tactical
exchanges are so important.
That is a mistake from Mark. There
is a red to the left corner. But
position on the colour not
There are not many
players that can beat John Higgins
in the safety Department. Until now,
Mark Allen is getting the best of
that part of the game. 84% safety
success. 83 for John. This is a
chance. Good shot.
The problem may be after potting
this black, where will the black
spot? He has tried to move the red
away from the black spot.
It hasn't worked out.
That is better.
It would be risky to try and get the
cue ball back to the Balkan. --
Mind you, sometimes you can get a
player in so much trouble that he
tries to pot his way out of the
problem. If anyone can, Mark Allen
can. He's looking at this red. He is
looking at the putting angle. I
think he's going to take on. He
can't take it on. -- potting. This
is a tough one.
is a tough one. A long way away. The
cue ball running loose. What is he
going to leave? He has left a couple
of pots. John Higgins would like
them a lot more if that cue ball
wasn't so close to the side cushion.
Trying to pot his way out of
trouble. Just the opening red that
is the key.
Well played. Believe me, when you
are 5-2 down and every shot you this
could be your last one, that was
superb. He has got the chance. Can
he take it?
Not the greatest angle on the red
into the corner pocket. So this red
into the left centre.
The red who would like to get on
sooner rather than later is the one
below and to the left of the black.
That would clear the black for both
corner pockets. Just couldn't get on
it at the moment. He has got one
red. He will have to play the black
in the same pocket.
Now an opportunity probably to pot
the black and play for the red just
to the left of it.
You have just got to clear your mind
of the score alone. Just concentrate
on every pot at a time.
That certainly opens things up now
for John Higgins.
A little bit of adrenaline on the
back arm. He has overscrewed that.
That is better. Nicely controlled. A
red either side of the pink is maybe
his next choice. Go down for the red
closest to the black as well. He is
having a look at that. He will try
to put the cue ball in an area where
he has got a choice of reds.
You could cut the atmosphere with a
Everybody has come along to
see a match this evening. John
Higgins, with his visit, is not
letting them down. This is real
backs against the wall stuff from
John. You wouldn't expect anything
less from him though. As I say, the
weather friends have gone this
evening, it is so important to get
his first chance.
So the black, one more red and a
colour. It looks a formality now.
This red would
This red would put him 67 points in
front with 67 remaining. He has just
overdone a little bit. He will get a
few more bite of the jury to book
his place in the final but this
frame looks to have gone now. And
bingo ghostly green. Tremendous
opening red from John Higgins. It
has to be said. All the pressure in
the world on it. And to be fair,
since he potted that opening red he
has never looked like missing.
Nice angle on the black to bring
those two reds into play. Just
missed the little on those reds. He
needs a good pot now to keep the
break going. This is great stuff. A
great response from a great
Not right. How about this for a
3-ball plant? He can get through to
the red. It didn't look like it from
our position. This could be century
When he pots this black, we like the
27th of the tournament. Creeping
closer to the record of 31.
All you want to know about John
Higgins as a player, you have seen
A good safety shot put Mark Allen in
trouble. Mark tried to pot is way
out of it. The opening red was a
stunner. And the rest of it was
absolutely sublime. John Higgins
hanging in there. Mark Allen will be
taking this for granted. But he is
still only one frame away from a
place in the final.
still only one frame away from a
place in the final.
701 centuries for Higgins. Yet
another century on our board. We are
up to 27. We are in the bronze
position. 31 is the record. 2009. We
have to praise John Higgins'
His fighting skills
are fantastic. He is 100% committed
every frame. It doesn't matter about
the scoreline. He gives everything
he has got.
As predicted by this
It is what he has done. It is
what he has done for the past 20, 30
years as a professional when his
back is against the wall. He'll
against Stuart Bingham in China
couple of years ago, he had three
centuries in a row coming from
behind to win the match. It wouldn't
be surprised me if he did it again.
The long ball he potted at the
beginning, it was superb. Under
pressure he is one of the best there
has ever been.
Stephen is right he
showed the fighting skills against
In the interview with Rob
Walker he talked about the fighting
skills and how you can't teach them.
From that perspective you are born
with it. I think even though we are
talking about Mark Allen getting
over the line, when he gets a chance
he has to prove himself. He is not
going to fall over the line.
Allen wouldn't have been surprised
by the response. He wouldn't have
liked it. But he won't be panicking
because that is what he would have
Some in the crowd shouted,
get in there. John didn't look like
he was happy.
Yes, there has been a
he was happy.
Yes, there has been a
bit of that this week.
You can do without it. You do get it
at this venue.
Respect the players.
A decent break. There is a red that
is available to the right corner. On
the cushion. I don't see the potting
angle giving him an opportunity for
the black so I would be surprised if
he took this on. Now just the
John is having a close look. He is
looking to see if the red will pass
the green. If it doesn't, he may...
There is not all the pocket
available. He has got a red to the
left middle. If you can play that,
it will take it on. And he is. -- he
will take it on. It is not there. As
I say, he felt that was the only red
he could leave. The one going past
the green, there you can see, there
is maybe have a pocket available. --
half. John Higgins doesn't fancy
mark Allen potting it. -- Mark
If you are dead behind it,
you would be able to pot it. But
such is the distance between the cue
ball and the reds, it is so much
more difficult. You have to be so
That was a long way away. He tried
to play it in such a way that he
wasn't going to leave the red he was
playing. The cue ball has come far
enough over for this red. It is an
acute angle into the green pocket.
But it is definitely on.
He has got a nice angle on the
green. He will need a lot of cue
power if he is going to go into the
He didn't go into them full. He will
certainly be happy with the outcome.
If he can't pot the one into the
right corner pocket and hit the back
along the cushion...
He can play this in such a way that
even if he misses it, it will stay
in the jaws of the pocket. It takes
the pressure off this pot. Still a
tough pot. But knowing that you will
not leave anything makes it just
that little bit easier.
Yes, he doesn't have to play it with
any pace. Just let gravity take
over. Let gravity take over! So he
gets the first chance in this frame.
He asked to leave himself low on the
black here. -- he has to. Well, he
didn't like it. Went for the blue
instead. Now this time pot the blue,
try to hit that pink fall in the
face. He doesn't want to lose the
Didn't hit the pink full in the
face. That is what happens.
Imperative to get this cue ball
tight to the baulk cushion now.
That's poor, that is very poor. John
will be kicking himself.
You can't afford to do that.
So unlike him.
This red below the blue will go to
the right corner. I would be
surprised if Mark Allen doesn't take
Just as you called it. Great pot.
John Higgins will be kicking himself
for hitting that yellow with the cue
What a chance for Mark Allen.
Very loose safety from John. Here it
A bit of work to do with the cue
Probably back up for the blue. It's
going to be a lovely target. If he
can get a good angle on the blue, a
lovely target of reds to go in and
open up and give himself that frame
and match-winning opportunity.
Got to be careful there is no plants
on there. He has played that well.
Very well. Didn't hit it with a lot
of pace. It was more controlled.
Look at the result.
He won't get a better chance than
this for his first appearance in a
Just got to hold himself together.
There will be a lot of tension in
the arm. That I can assure you. But
he has to try and control it.
A quick glance at the scoreboard.
The red next to the pink and two
reds together make a little bit
awkward. He is seeing if the two
reds together are possibility a
plant to the middle.
We can have a look now.
They can be made and also can be
made to this corner. They're close
enough together to be able to
reverse the second red. He may play
for the plant.
This is to go 34 points in front.
Still going to need three of the
He is playing for the plant.
Just wants reversing slightly.
Hit the first red on the left side,
it will push the second red to the
And he played it... Well spotted.
Makes position on the red that much
Nice control on that one. Still
needs red, colour, red to leave John
Higgins needing snookers.
Just having a look here to see if
this red is available, the one to
the left of the pink.
Not certain it is. If it isn't, he
will have to play a cannon.
He does have a nice angle on the
black just to play that little
He thinks he can pot the red.
Can he see enough of it?
He could! And that's it.
John Higgins's race is run.
Didn't give up without a great
fight. But Mark Allen has really
done well this evening when he has
got in amongst the balls. Not made
100s but has made enough to win
frames. John Higgins congratulating
him. I am certain he wishes him good
luck for tomorrow. There is a
delighted Mark Allen. In his first
Masters final. One thing is certain
tomorrow we are going to have a new
nap on the trophy. We look forward
to your company then! -- we will
have a new name on the trophy.
Thank you for fantastic commentary.
What a result for Mark Allen. Just
look how delighted he is waving to
the crowd as well. Lots of Northern
Ireland fans in tonight as well. His
amazing run over John Higgins,
Got himself aligned very well. Great
way to finish a match. You would
never think a careless safety could
cost you, Mark Allen pots a
fantastic first red and it looked
A brilliant performance
from Mark Allen, composed and
Yeah, this is the most
impressive I have ever seen him. He
has had great wins and great
matches. He has looked cool and calm
and collected out there. When asked
the questions, against good players,
great players, he has produced a
high standard of snooker. Very
controlled. His positional play is
magnificent at the moment. If he can
keep controlling the ball that well
he is going to be tough to beat.
you have knocked out Ronnie
O'Sullivan and John Higgins on the
way to a final you walk in thinking
let's have it.
couldn't ask for a tougher draw.
the boys have been saying how cool
and collected you were tonight.
want to be inside looking out!
Didn't feel that way, felt edgy. But
I think it's even better that I felt
edgy and still played well.
way to close the match, that long
Yeah, I could have playeds it a
shot to nothing, I thought this
could be my chance. I knew I was
going to be able to move reds next.
John's 5-2 down but is never out of
the match the way he can play.
That's another reason why I took
that red on the way I did. You never
know if you are going to get another
chance with John.
Explain how you
are feeling. Lots of people looking
at social media, lots of people in
Northern Ireland watching our
coverage, how does it feel to have
made the Masters final and a triple
It's good but I come
here to win the tournament. If I
don't win tomorrow it's going to be
very disappointing, probably more to
get so close and not win. I am not
getting too far ahead of myself, I
have another big match tomorrow. If
I play the way I have been I think I
have a good chance. If I win I will
be happy for friends, family,
followers and then for Northern
I asked Stephanen the
question, when you have knocked out
Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins
on the way to a final you must be
thinking tomorrow is your day.
Possibly. Every day is different. I
am full of confidence because I have
beat two of the very best of all
time. Probably in the top four with
two sitting to my right so I am
doing something right. There is no
God given right I will play that
Were you watching
this afternoon's match?
I managed to
catch the end of it. Couldn't
believe the plant Judd took on. He
lives by the sword and dies by the
sword at times.
And not the finalist
you would have expected, you are
In big finals I
have half decent record, even
playing the best. I concentrate on
my own game like I always do.
boys here and Ken as well have
detected something different about
the way you approached the Masters
this year. Do you feel different?
Tell me what they've said first!
were saying you looked composed,
even before Ronnie's match you
looked relaxed, composed, not tense.
And around the table.
I feel happy
with my game. I - I have never been
a worrier about who I play, I have
always been a worrier of how I am
going to play, at times I felt over
the years I have struggled but I
feel my game is in good shape, why
worry, go out and perform.
aware of the Northern Ireland shirts
in the crowd tonight? The Green
Party and white army are here.
come -- the green and white Army are
here. I got chatting to the guy that
leads the group, it's from the
Northern Ireland supporters club in
London. I have said any time you
want to come, let me know and I will
sort the tickets, it's great when
you know the crowd is not normally
on your side, it's good seeing those
shirts and hearing green and white
army, you don't normally hear that
at a snooker match.
We will not talk
about the referee. Long way to go
yet and ten frames away.
How is your
form against him?
He beat me earlier
in the year in China in the semis.
Real good match, just on the wrong
end of a decider. We have always had
close matches, haven't played that
many times, he has shown what a good
player he is and I expect him to
You have provided
a lot of entertainment tonight,
thank you very much. We have enjoyed
it here. Fantastic stuff, thank you
very much. A quick reminder.
Tomorrow it is the master final. You
can watch it live with us here on
Ladies and gentlemen, we are going
to have a brand new name on that
Masters trophy tomorrow. Well done
to Mark Allen. Thank you very much
indeed, Stephen and Steve. Thank you
for watching, we will see you