Angry Mark Allen slammed the playing conditions after battling through to the last 32 of the Northern Ireland Open in Milton Keynes, writes Will Jennings.
The Champion of Champions edged past world No.53 Robert Milkins 4-2 late on Wednesday night in a game blighted by unpredictable behaviour from the Marshall Arena table.
Antrim’s Allen let rip at the table-fitters and demanded they find a solution to the ‘awful’ surface ahead of Thursday’s third and fourth round matches.
The world No.8 fumed: “The table was awful – so bad. It was just a matter of getting four frames and hoping it gets better tomorrow. It’s got worse, it was really heavy and the balls started rolling off.
“The blue that I played into the green pocket rolled off a mile, and that’s not good enough really.
“It’s awful, that really shouldn’t be happening and that’s just bad workmanship. It’s tough, and they’ll have a look at it tonight and tomorrow and hopefully it will be better.
“I think the fitters check them evert night and check them every morning, so hopefully they have a look at that because that blue into that green pocket was really bad.
“They’re heavy tables and take a while to settle, so maybe they just haven’t settled properly. It’s a tough job they’ve got and I feel like I’m complaining a lot.
“I made three breaks over 60 so I can’t complain and that’s decent in a best-of-seven, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to get over the line in the end. I was just happy to get over the line.”
Allen, 34, knocked in visits of 130, 77 and 65 to edge past the ‘Milkman’ and book a date with world No.25 Scott Donaldson in Thursday’s third round.
Thursday at the Home Nations events is known as ‘moving day’, with both the third and fourth rounds taking place and the 32 players at the start of the day being whittled down to eight by the close of play.
Scottish player Donaldson has never beaten Allen but the five-time major winner says he’ll need to up his game if he’s to continued his unblemished record against the Perth potter.
“Scott mentioned it in the Champion of Champions that he’s never beat me so hopefully that continues, but I’ll need to play better than that,” added Allen.
“I made three breaks over 60 but there were a lot of mistakes there tonight that weren’t there yesterday, so I need to iron them out. But my game’s in good shape and I’m still scoring.
“It’s a big day tomorrow. Once you get down to the quarter-finals you feel properly into the tournament. You’re down to the best of nines and you’ve got a chance then.”