Mark Allen pays emotional tribute to late mentor after Champion of Champions win


Mark Allen

Mark Allen hit form in style at the Champion of Champions (Picture: Matchroom Multi Sport

Mark Allen dedicated his stunning Champion of Champions success to his former coach and mentor Joe Shortt who sadly passed away over the summer.

The Pistol was in superb form over the week in Bolton, dropping just eight frames over the whole tournament and hammering Judd Trump 10-3 in the final to lift the trophy and claim the £150,000 top prize.

The Northern Irishman had a brilliant campaign last time around, winning three events, but had a slow start to this season, so this was a remarkable return to form.

The 37-year-old’s under-par results before the Champion of Champions were partly down to the loss of Shortt over the summer, which he says left him feeling lost as he used to turn to him for advice on and off the table.

Speaking on ITV after Sunday’s final, Allen said: ‘I’ve been a bit lost as I lost someone in the summer who’s been by my side since I was 12 year of age.

‘Joe Shortt’s not here with us anymore, he was a big part of my life, not just on the table but off it, and me and my dad have lost one of our closest friends. So that was for Joe.’

The Champion of Champions is Allen’s first title since the sad news, having posted about Shortt’s death in July, writing on social media at the time: ‘Just lost one of my biggest influences in not just my career but in my life. Joe Shortt was one of the kindest, caring and knowledgeable people you could ever wish to meet. Was with me every step of the way both on and off the table. I’m going to miss our chats. Love you.’

During his early-season struggles for form, Allen had spoken about feeling lost and working on ‘a few kinks’ in his technique, but he says he has now realised that there was nothing wrong with his game, he just had to go back to basics.

‘I spoke to two different coaches and I felt like it reminded me that I’m a good snooker player and I didn’t use anything that they told me!’ Allen said. ‘I’ve been going back to basics and try to enjoy it more.

‘I was trying to find perfection when you’re never really ever going to find it. Just trying to enjoy it more and I feel like I’ve done that this week.’

The result in the final was especially impressive as Trump has been the man of the season so far, playing in his fifth final of the campaign already, having won three titles in October alone.

Allen was bullish after the win, though, and believes he is more than capable of matching the Englishman’s achievements.

‘All credit to what Judd’s done this season but I feel like I’m as good as Judd,’ said the Pistol. ‘I feel like I’ve a cheek saying that considering I’ve won nothing compared to what Judd has, but I firmly believe that’s where I should be.

‘I want to get amongst it, show him I mean business and that I’m capable of turning him over, especially when he’s been by far and away the best player in the world.’

Judd Trump

Judd Trump picks up £60,000 for his run to the final (Picture: Matchroom Multi Sport)

Trump was disappointed he couldn’t find his best stuff consistently in the final, only looking good in patches and not producing his peak safety game.

However, it has been another good week for him among an array of good weeks and he will refocus ahead of the UK Championship starting this weekend.

‘Disappointing day at the office but he played really well,’ Trump said. ‘I struggled through the first few rounds and Mark was the best player of the whole tournament and normally the best player wins, that’s what happened.

‘It’s been an amazing start to the season. Obviously it’s tough after a heavy defeat but it’s been a dream start.’

Allen begins the defence of his UK Championship title on Saturday 25 November, with Trump in action on Monday 27 November.

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