Northern Ireland Open: Controversy mars Allen win over Joyce

Mark Allen
Mark Allen progressed to the second round by beating Mark Joyce 4-1

Mark Allen has accused his opponent Mark Joyce of trying to distract him as he won his first round match 4-1 at the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.

The controversy came in the first frame as Allen played the blue ball.

"I was playing a safety on the blue and as I'm down on the shot he's chalking his cue right behind me. There's no excuse for that," said Allen.

"He did it quite a few times in the match, even after I said something, so there's no excuse for it," he added.

"It's my shot when I'm at the table, I wouldn't do that when he's at the table. Have some respect.

"Regardless of whether it's Mark Joyce, who I dislike anyway, or whether it be anyone, it's something that we as snooker players don't do - you don't try and put your opponent off," the 30-year-old told Eurosport.

Comfortable passage for NI player Allen

The Antrim player had been beaten in four of his five matches against Joyce, with little love lost between the pair, but the seventh seed comfortably came through their contest at the Titanic Exhibition Centre.

During that opening frame, Allen, standing at the baulk end of the table, sent a blue down onto the far cushion, which bounced back up into the middle pocket.

Allen, though, had already turned away to look across at Joyce before his effort fluked in following a double kiss off the white.

After the ball eventually dropped, he then walked over towards his opponent, complaining the Englishman had been in his eye line when shaping up to cue before Allen then moved off around the table.

Joyce swiftly apologised and sat down as Allen completed his break of 52 to win the frame. While Joyce did level the match at 1-1, Allen went on to take control after edging a tense third frame 66-52.

Second seed Ding suffers shock defeat

Earlier, there was a shock when Chinese second seed Ding Junhui went out 4-2 against compatriot Yu De Lu, despite having taken the first two frames.

Alan McManus, a semi-finalist at the 2016 World Championships, put out 16th seeded fellow Scot Stephen Maguire 4-3 in the deciding frame.

Elsewhere in Tuesday's matches, two-time world champion Mark Williams recorded the tournament's highest break of 139 in the opening frame of his 4-2 win over David Grace, while Ireland's Ken Doherty beat amateur Ashley Hugill 4-0.

Ricky Walden defeated Sean O'Sullivan 4-2 but Northern Ireland's Joe Swail went down 4-2 to Welshman Dominic Dale.

English Open winner Liang Wenbo saw off former top 16 player Nigel Bond 4-1.

Late in the evening, Marco Fu got the better of Ryan Day 4-3 and another Northern Irish player, Patrick Wallace, fell 4-2 to Michael Georgiou.

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