Snooker: Allen flying high after historic 146
ANTRIM'S Mark Allen became the first player to make a 146 break at the Crucible as he moved 5-3 ahead in his World Championship second-round clash against Mark Davis.
Allen, a losing semi-finalist last year, had an outstanding chance of a 147 maximum in the sixth frame, but, after potting the sixth red, he lost position by a fraction and had to take pink rather than black.
A maximum break would have brought him prize-money of £157,000, but Allen had to settle for being the front-runner for the highest-break prize, which pays £10,000.
Although 146 breaks are rarer than 147s, Allen has made two, with his first having come in qualifying for the UK Championship in 2007.
There have been nine maximum breaks in World Championship history, with Stephen Hendry recording the most recent during his quarter-final against Shaun Murphy at last season's tournament.
Davis started where he left off after his first-round win against Ryan Day, a 14-minute frame going his way thanks to breaks of 62 and 36. He soon added the second with a break of 49 after Allen had escaped from a snooker, but left his opponent with a red on.
The third frame proved to be a key one as Allen pulled back to 2-1. Davis was in first after sinking a superb long red and looked poised for a 3-0 lead before breaking down on 49. Allen took full advantage and cleared to the pink with a fantastic 81 clearance.
The Ulsterman then drew level at 2-2 after efforts of 46 and 41 to make things all square at the interval.
A missed black off the spot cost Davis, the world No 47, frame five as Allen made a fluent 51 break.
Then came the drama of the sixth frame. The Antrim town player looked to have a real chance of compiling a maximum break after taking five reds with blacks. However, after potting the sixth red, he was unable to land on the black and had to settle for the pink.
After that he managed to pot the remaining reds with blacks along with the six colours for a fantastic 146 total clearance. The effort equals Allen's highest professional break.
The Ulsterman stretched his lead to 5-2 after taking a drawn-out 28-minute frame with a best effort of 41.
Davis took the last of the afternoon to close the score to 5-3. After Allen missed a straightforward blue, the Sussex player punished him with an 87 clearance to end the first session two behind. The match continues at 10.0 this morning.
Meanwhile, Shaun Murphy set up a second-round meeting with China's Ding Junhui by scrambling over the line against Northern Ireland's Gerard Greene. He almost made a complete mess of the session, though, and was clearly relieved to polish off a 10-7 win.
Greene had trailed 8-1 overnight and Murphy soon made it 9-2. But Greene won six of the first seven frames of the session to set up a tense finish.
Elsewhere, World No 2 Stephen Maguire converted his 6-3 lead into a 10-4 victory over Stephen Lee.
Maguire had a 114 break in the second frame of the evening and the 29-year-old gave Lee no hope of getting back into the match as he set up a last-16 match against fellow Scot Graeme Dott.