Mark Allen played superbly to win the Ruhr Open in Mulheim, Germany – the fifth event of snooker’s European Tour.
With his trademark aggressive approach, Allen outplayed Ding Junhui in the final, winning 4-1 to qualify for the Grand Finals in grand style.
Allen afterwards thanked his coach, the 1979 world champion Terry Griffiths, for his recent help in areas both technical and psychological.
Griffiths is snooker’s very own Yoda: a guru whose words of wisdom are worth listening to.
There’s an old saying that success has many fathers while failure is an orphan: in other words there are plenty wanting to take credit when things go well but none when they go badly.
However, Terry stays in the background. When we hear of his influence it’s because players themselves mention him.
Griffiths doesn’t need the limelight because he’s already had it – he is among the few to have won the world, UK and Masters titles. He was one of the best known players in the game for two decades.
His strength is not only his knowledge of the game but also the fact he has been there, done that. And he is a level-headed, calming influence.
Allen’s win was welcome for a player blessed with great talent. I’m sure he is now hoping to land one of snooker’s ‘big three’ titles this season. He is certainly good enough.
Ding wasn’t helped by his marathon semi-final with Stephen Maguire ending around 45 minutes before the final.
But it was another good week for the Chinese, whose presence in the Grand Finals, which he won last season, will enhance the event.
The audience in Mulheim were superb: respectful but vociferous. It proved again that those who want snooker to ‘be more like darts’ are quite simply wrong: shouting out and boorish behaviour doesn’t add anything. You know when a large snooker crowd is involved in the action because they are deathly quiet.
This is what makes the atmosphere. And it helped see a very impressive Allen home for another title.