Thursday 22 February 2018

Mark Allen is not all smiles despite Northern Ireland Open win over Mark Joyce

Mark Allen beat Mark Joyce
Mark Allen beat Mark Joyce
Mark Allen beat Mark Joyce

Mark Allen delighted the home crowd with a 4-1 win over Mark Joyce to move into the second round of the Northern Ireland Open - but was less than impressed with the table manners of his English rival.

The 30-year-old from County Antrim had been beaten in four of his five matches against Joyce, with little love lost between the pair - but the seventh seed comfortably came through their contest at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast.

However, during the first frame Allen, standing at the baulk end of the table, sent a blue down onto the far cushion, which bounced back up into the middle pocket.

Allen, though, had already turned away to look across at Joyce before his effort fluked in following a double kiss off the white.

After the ball eventually dropped, he then walked over towards his opponent, complaining the Englishman had been in his eye line when shaping up to cue before Allen then moved off around the table.

Joyce swiftly apologised and sat down as Allen completed his break of 52 to win the frame. While Joyce did level the match at 1-1, Allen went on to take control after edging a tense third frame 66-52.

Earlier, there was a shock when Chinese second seed Ding Junhui went out 4-2 against compatriot Yu De Lu, despite having taken the first two frames.

Alan McManus, a semi-finalist at the 2016 World Championships, put out 16th seeded fellow Scot Stephen Maguire 4-3 in the deciding frame.

Elsewhere in Tuesday's matches, two-time world champion Mark Williams recorded the tournament's highest break of 139 in the opening frame of his 4-2 win over David Grace, while Ireland's Ken Doherty beat amateur Ashley Hugill 4-0.

Allen later confirmed he felt Joyce was trying to distract him.

Speaking to tournament broadcaster EuroSport UK, Allen said: "He was chalking cue while I'm down on the shot, there's just no excuse for it.

"He did it quite a few times in the match even after I said something, so there's no excuse for it.

"It's my shot when I'm at the table, I wouldn't do when he's at the table. Have some respect.

"There's just no excuse for it, regardless of whether it's Mark Joyce, who I dislike anyway, or whether it be anyone. It's something that we as snooker players don't do - you don't try and put your opponent off."

In Tuesday's evening matches, Sam Baird progressed 4-3 against Noppon Saengkham of Thailand.

The Englishman, though, was docked one frame for arriving late and then recovered from going 2-0 down with runs of 55, 82 and 60 before taking the decider with a century break of 106.

Press Association

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