Allen edges closer to second round

Allen edges closer to second round

The North's Mark Allen had one foot in the second round of the Betfred.com World Championship after tearing to a 7-2 lead over Martin Gould.

The pair were playing for the right to take on Ronnie O’Sullivan but part-time casino croupier Gould endured a miserable Crucible debut and faces almost certain defeat.

Breaks of 69, 65, 77, 129 and 52 put Allen in complete control against his English opponent.

They will return for the concluding session tomorrow morning with left-hander Allen requiring just three more frames to book a clash with defending champion O’Sullivan.

Victory in his opener should also guarantee Allen’s top-16 place in next season’s rankings.

Gould’s only break above 50 came in the third frame, which he took thanks to a run of 71.

However he at least finished the session on a high by clearing the colours to deny Allen an 8-1 lead.

Allen, 23, is bidding to reach the second round for the second time in his career.

He lost 10-9 to Stephen Hendry in the first round 12 months ago, but in 2007 knocked out Ken Doherty before bowing to defeat against Matthew Stevens in the last 16.

On the other table, the match between Mark King and Rory McLeod was moving at a slightly quicker pace than yesterday, and King was looking the likely winner.

Their first session had to be stopped at 3-3 yesterday, because it was poised to run into the time allocated for afternoon matches.

That meant they failed to get through the scheduled nine frames and cast some doubt over whether the match would get finished in today’s opening session.

There was a possibility it would again be hauled off and have to be completed later in the day, once other matches were out of the way.

McLeod won the opening frame of the morning to lead 4-3, however King then strung together a run of four in a row to seize a 7-4 advantage, requiring three more for victory.

He compiled the first century of the match in the ninth frame, with a break of 114 emphasising his break-building superiority over McLeod, who was at least ensuring his Crucible debut would not be a rushed affair.

The players were told to stop at around 1.45pm yesterday, and with the 12th frame in the balance at 12.45pm today it remained to be seen whether they would have to come back later on.

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