The Scottish Open is now upon us as defending champion, and Mark Allen took on Andy Hicks for size. Allen battled back from two frames down to oust Hicks out of the tournament by a 4-2 scoreline at Glasgow on Monday.
The defending champion reeled off breaks of 88,55 and 64 to pick up a one-ticket pass to the second round of the event. He is now set to take on Louis Heathcore who wasted no time in dispatching Anthony Hamilton 4-1.
World number 123, Hicks owes thanks to a bizarre run of events during the second frame. Here, the Pistol hindered the jaws of the middle pocket and cued the white ball twice as the 46-year-old aimed to put the blue into the opposite middle pocket.
Not Allen nor referee, Leo Scullion, noticed the foul until the timely intervention of marker, Marcel Eckchart exposed Hicks. The match referee then noticed the foul after re-watching the incident via television cameras in scenes gaining similarities as those of VAR intervention. Consequently, the Englishman was awarded five penalty points.
The Cream of Devon as he is fondly called later went on to take the frame, thanks to two visits to the table. However, he was unable to make full use of his home advantage in what later turned out to be a crucial third frame.
Having sealed that third frame, Allen left nothing to chance as he claimed the following three frames on the bounce reeling incredible breaks with astonishing comfort to seal the game and his place in the second round of the event.
Elsewhere, John Higgins did his opponent dirty, defeating Jamie O’Neil 4-1 to set up a second-round fixture. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh was also one of the folks to seal progress into the next round after knocking off Liang Wenbo by the same 4-1 scoreline.
Barry Hawkins, who is no stranger to the big events having reached the Home Nations finals twice, was left frustrated after a complete whitewash by John Astley. World number 78, Astley reeled off breaks of 77,66 and 54 to record a 4-0 dismantling of Barry Hawkins. He is now set to play either Chen Feilong or Zhang Jiankang in the second round.
Written by: Roland Arum