THE PISTOL Mark Allen lifted his first Triple Crown major over the weekend after a thrilling victory over the Warrior Kyren Wilson 10 - 7 at the 2018 Dafabet Masters at the Alexandra Palace in London.

Allen, 31, said later, on the BBC, that he had been knocking on the door for a while but now had walked through it and added: "It's been a long time coming."

He paid tribute to his opponent, Kettering's Wilson, 26, who broke down in tears after the dramatic final, as Allen told him: "What a competitor."

He added: "I've sat in that seat many times and I know what it feels like believe me." He added that Wilson would be back, winning many other events.

The final first session began in nervy fashion as both players had reached their first Triple Crown Major, with Allen on route defeating Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins and Luca Brecel.

Nervy First Session

After a stressful first session which ended all square at 4 - 4, it began in similar fashion with some tentative play from both in the final session, but it was Allen who pulled away from Wilson at 8 - 6.

But Wilson - the battler he is, clawed his way back to go 8 - 7 before Allen pushed on and won the last two to lift the 200K first prize and the amazing Paul Hunter Trophy.

Allen's win in the Masters sees him safely into the elite Champion of Champions much later on in the year.

Wilson took home a 90K second prize for being runner-up.

Milestones

In the match, there was only one century made by Allen, which was a 119 which put Allen 7 - 5 in front.

Allen joins the long list of winners and joins Irish counterparts the legends Alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor, who both won the event in 1981 and 1987 respectively.

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Wilson during the match missed key shots with the rest, particularly a brown near the end, which cost him key frames in the match.

But he battled hard to get back the initiative but could not see off the great cue ball control of Allen who made a 71 in the final frame he needed to win.

The Masters is part of the three Major UK Triple Crown events, which include the UK Championship in York, which Ronnie O'Sullivan won for the sixth time back in December last year and the World Championship which runs in April in Sheffield.

As well as Allen winning a maiden Masters, John Higgins, whom he had beaten in the semi-final also reached a milestone of 701 centuries.

On route to the final, Wilson had defeated the two-time World Champion Mark Williams and the fancied Judd Trump, whom Wilson had battled from 5 - 2 down in the semi-finals to win and put himself through to his first Major final in the Masters in just his second visit to the event.

Although the Masters isn't a ranking event, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson have surely boosted their chances of being top contenders for this year's World Championship as they have proved they can see off the veterans of the game and are comfortable in the winning final stages of events.

Wilson's loss should be looked on as a stepping stone to greater things. He can hold his head up high as a great battler and match player.