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09 Dec 2018 by Trystan Pugh

2018 Betway UK Championship Ronnie O'Sullivan vs Mark Allen Preview & Prediction

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AT A GLANCE

Where is the 2018 UK Championship taking place? York Barbican Centre

When is Ronnie O'Sullivan vs Mark Allen on and what time does it start? 09/12/2018, 13.00 (UK)

What channel is the 2018 UK Championship on? BBC Two and Eurosport 1

Where can I stream the 2018 UK Championship? BBC Sport website and Eurosport Player

Where can I get tickets for the 2018 UK Championship? https://worldsnooker.seetickets.com/tour/betway-uk-championship-snooker/

THE LOWDOWN

RONNIE O'SULLIVAN

  • Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has been the standout player in York this year, having restricted his opponents to one frame or less in five of his six matches so far.
  • The Rocket's toughest test to date was a narrow 6-5 win over Ken Doherty in the second round but he has otherwise been imperious as he seeks a record 19th triple crown title.
  • O'Sullivan has stirred up plenty of controversy away from the table this past week as his feud with Barry Hearn regarding a potential 'breakaway tour' rumbles on, but that does not appear to have negatively impacted his performance so he is the firm favourite here.

MARK ALLEN

  • Having almost gone 5-2 down to Stuart Bingham in Saturday's semi-final, Allen staged an excellent comeback to take the match 6-5 and he has since remarked that this was the best he had felt all week so he brings plenty of confidence into the final.
  • The Northern Irish cueman and current Masters champion is featuring in his second UK Championship final having lost 10-8 to Judd Trump back in 2011 so he has the experience to handle the pressure of the occasion.
  • Allen can draw upon his success in big events against O'Sullivan in the past having beaten the Rocket all three times they have met in triple crown events, including an emphatic 6-1 victory in the quarter-final of the Masters this year.

THE PREDICTION

O'Sullivan has been creating plenty of headlines away from the table during this year's UK Championship but he has remained the man to beat on the baize. Aside from a close battle with Ken Doherty early in the tournament, the defending champion has not been troubled and looks in the mood to collect a record seventh UK title.

Standing in his way is world number seven Allen, who is no stranger to major finals having clinched the Masters title this year and also reaching the UK final in 2011. The manner in which he closed out his close semi-final over Stuart Bingham will have given him plenty of confidence and he will not fear O'Sullivan, especially having defeated him at big events in the past.

Ultimately, the destination of this title largely depends - as it often does - on O'Sullivan's focus. If he plays at his highest level, Allen will not match him, and the six-time winner has easily been the most consistent player in the tournament this year. Ronnie will be in for a battle against a confident and pumped-up Allen, but he should show his class and add another major trophy to his bulging cabinet.

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