After a week of battling, there were only two names left in the British Open – and in a result no-one predicted on Monday, it would be Ryan Day who took his fourth ranking title by beating Mark Allen 10-7. Here’s how things went down on the final day of the tournament.
The two semi-finals yesterday set the stage, with everyone expecting a very one-sided clash. Allen had thrashed Noppon Saengkham 6-1, winning most of the frames in a single visit and demonstrating excellent cue ball control and potting prowess. By contrast, Day’s battle with Robbie Williams was a painful watch, with both players making tons of mistakes and every frame turning scrappy. Day eventually limped over the finish line in a decider, and admitted in the post-match interview that he wished he didn’t have to turn up for the final. Allen went into the match the firm favourite, but this tournament had already demonstrated that the mantle of the favourite was no guarantee of victory.
Allen got off to a strong start, finding a long red after Day’s break and then making an impressive century break of 126 to lay down an early gauntlet. Day was left an opportunity by Allen, with an easy starter over the left middle pocket – he made a 58 before missing a straightforward red, but a poor Allen safety soon handed him a second visit to level with a 77. The high quality continued in frame three, with Day making a 73 after Allen went in off a red (though there was a referee slip-up, mistakenly calling a foul after Day potted two reds with one shot). Day missed a tough red to give Allen a chance in the fourth frame – a good long red and excellent double were part of a 75 break that led to 2-2 at the interval.
As Allen escaped from a snooker on the yellow, he left Day an easy starter, and he cleared up
The first chance was Allen’s after the interval, and it would be another single-visit victory, the Irishman compiled another century break, this time a 105 to retake the lead. Day let Allen in after missing a green in frame six, but he couldn’t capitalise, making a 36 before missing a red and leaving it over the pocket. Day punished him in the first close frame of the match, and it was 3-3. Day moved ahead after stealing frame seven, and Allen established a strong lead that he converted into a frame win – at the end of the session, it was all square at 4-4.
Come the evening session, both players had chances to move into the lead – Day left a black over the pocket, and after a snooker battle on the yellow, Allen won the frame. Then, after Allen missed a surprising blue on the back of a plant, Day came to the table and levelled the match once more. Frame 11 went to a re-rack, and then a couple of snookers on the yellow can Allen the opportunity to retake a one-frame advantage. Allen missed a simple red to the bottom left, and Day produced a 77 to make it 6-6 heading into the interval.
Things were very cagey as we got down to what was essentially now a best-of-seven battle. Day made a chance, but he missed a tough red, leaving an opportunity for Allen, which was ended by an unfortunate cannon. Day did well to build a break on an awkward table, but he left the last difficult red over the pocket – Allan potted some colours, and it came down to a battle on the pink that the Irishman won. Day responded with a well-constructed 74 to level yet again, this time at 7-7. It was tense in frame 15, with both players making and leaving chances – Day seized the initiative and took the lead. The momentum was on his side now – he made an 84 to open up the first two-frame lead of the match, and put himself within one of victory. Day assembled a 47 break and put the pressure on his opponent – Allen tried to respond, and then things were very tense between the two. On the colours, there were just ten points between them – as Allen escaped from a snooker on the yellow, he left Day an easy starter, and he cleared up, winning the British Open 10-7.