Brexit is a big shock for Allen..

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - BY NEIL GOULD­ING

GUT­TED Mark Allen saw his Masters ti­tle de­fence ended at the first hur­dle yes­ter­day.

The Antrim man crashed to a shock 6-5 de­feat to Bel­gium’s Luca Bre­cel at Lon­don’s Ally Pally.

But he said he had “no com­plaints” af­ter be­ing dumped out in a qual­ity first round cur­tain-raiser at snooker’s most pres­ti­gious in­vi­ta­tional event.

“I’m very dis­ap­pointed to lose,” said Allen.

“I def­i­nitely didn’t want to give my crown up as eas­ily. But I’ve got no com­plaints. Luca played very well to beat me.

“His long pot­ting was bet­ter than mine. I didn’t think I played badly, but there were just a few lit­tle er­rors here and there.”

The Pis­tol was al­ways be­hind and found him­self

3-1 down at the in­ter­val.

World No.15 Bre­cel was inspired by a new ini­tia­tive of 10 min­utes prac­tice on the match ta­ble in front of the crowd, as he edged ahead with breaks of 75 and 50.

Allen hit back with 96 and 136 breaks to level and also bat­tled back from 4-3 and 5-4 down to force a de­cider with 83 and 99 runs.

But Bre­cel, who had other breaks of 140 and 88, held his nerve to pocket a 58 run to win the de­cider.

How­ever, despite hav­ing set­tled the slower of the two play­ers, Allen be­lieves snub­bing the op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice on the match ta­ble had no in­flu­ence on the re­sult.

He stated: “I don’t think there’s any need for it. I’m not for it at all.

“A lot about be­ing a pro­fes­sional snooker player is get­ting used to the ta­ble in the heat of bat­tle.

“Be­ing the de­fend­ing cham­pion, I wanted that in­tro­duc­tion. I didn’t want to prac­tice for 10 min­utes in front of the fans.

“But that had ab­so­lutely no bear­ing on the re­sult of the match.”

Bre­cel said: “It’s my big­gest win. I’ve had a tough year on and off the ta­ble.

“Prac­tic­ing on the ta­ble helped me set­tle down. I’m sur­prised Mark didn’t (prac­tice).”

GUT­TED Mark Allen af­ter first round loss yes­ter­day

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