After a thrilling encounter between Neil Robertson and Stephen Maguire, one that ended in favour of the latter after seeing an incredible comeback, it was the turn of Mark Allen and David Gilbert to treat the fans in the arena to a brilliant game.
At exactly 7 pm, the players were out to slug it out for a place in the last-eight of the tournament. Interestingly, only very few seats were empty before the start of the game.
Gilbert, who was making his first appearance at the Masters might have been a little tense before the encounter. However, that didn’t matter soon after as he raced to a 2-0 lead. His commanding lead after two frames was helped by a break of 77 and a brilliant century of 121 in the second frame.
It is highly unlikely that Gilbert could have envisaged himself dominating in all quarters in the opening session of the game. The Masters’ debutant soon added more flour to the cake by overcoming as 59-0 deficit to go 3-0 up. Mark Allen could have had one foot in the fame, but missing a straight black didn’t help his cause, as Gilbert snatched the fourth frame.
At this point, it must have been clear to Allen that he wasn’t just up for the determination of his opponent. However, he wouldn’t let himself be defeated in such a humiliating manner. Mark Allen, winner of the 2018 edition, must have felt disappointed at himself, but he would gladly take a clue from Maguire, who delivered a fantastic comeback from 5-1 to defeat Neil Robertson 6-5.
The 2018 winner knocked in all the colours in the fifth frame to cut the lead to three. Gilbert wary of a comeback from Allen shut out all talks of it with an immediate and impressive response. With a break of 95, he was only one frame away from sealing his place in the last-eight of the Masters’ tournament.
He made sure of that win with the last frame. Now the headlines of most sports outlets can read “Masters debutant, Gilbert record 6-1 defeat over 2018 Champion, Mark Allen.”
David Gilbert is set at 9.00 to win the 2020 Masters, while rival John Higgins is fancied at 8.25.
Written by: Roland Arum