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Mark Allen pays tribute to Barry Hearn after Crucible victory

Mark Allen pays tribute to Barry Hearn after Crucible victory
© Reuters
Barry Hearn is stepping down as World Snooker Tour chairman.

Mark Allen may have proved one of Barry Hearn's most vociferous critics but he paid a rich tribute to the outgoing World Snooker Tour chairman after easing into the second round of the World Championship.

Allen called Hearn "a revelation to the game" after the 72-year-old announced on Tuesday that he would be relinquishing his role, as well as handing control of his Matchroom group of companies to his son, Eddie.

Allen said: "Pretty much everything he's touched has turned to gold. Where we were in 2010, we didn't even feel like snooker players, and now we're complaining we're overworked – it's been an amazing turnaround."

Allen, who beat Lyu Haotian 10-2 to end a run of two previous first-round Crucible exits, famously clashed with Hearn during the 2011 UK Championship over the decision to reduce it to a best-of-11 format.

Allen insisted the move proved that under Hearn "the whole tradition of the game is going to pot", and was fined £250 for his outburst by World Snooker, with Hearn retorting that Allen was "a silly little boy".

But Allen added: "We've had a few disagreements over the years but he's always been the first to support every single charity event I've ever done over the last 10 years, and he will be sadly missed.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2021 – Day Four – The Crucible
Mark Allen proved far too strong for his opponent Lyu Haotian at the Crucible (George Wood/PA)

"What they've done throughout this Covid year has been phenomenal – what they've been able to produce has been miles above any other sport and that's testament to Barry and his team."

Allen fired two centuries in establishing a 7-2 lead over Lyu in the morning session and returned to reel off the three more he required to book a last-16 berth against either Mark Selby or Kurt Maflin.

Judd Trump made an emphatic start to his quest for a second world title as he established a 7-2 overnight lead over Liam Highfield.

Judd Trump
Judd Trump kicked off his quest for a second world title at the Crucible (George Wood/PA)

Trump, the dominant force on this season's tour with five titles already to his name, kicked off with a break of 116 and seldom looked back as qualifier Highfield struggled to stay in touch.

Stuart Bingham and Jack Lisowski both went through after winning final-frame deciders over former finalists Ding Junhui and Ali Carter respectively.

Bingham and Ding ran out of time during a cagey afternoon session and had to return for their single frame shoot-out following the conclusion of Allen's match against Lyu.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2021 – Day Three – The Crucible
Stuart Bingham edged a thriller against Ding Junhui (George Wood/PA)

Former champion Bingham fired three centuries in the match but it was Ding who missed a number of chances to move clear, not least a black off its spot that enabled Bingham to nudge ahead at 8-7.

Ding got the first chance in the decider but missed a long red and Bingham was eager to seize his chance, compiling a break of 70 which was enough to seal a nervy victory.

Lisowski battled back from 8-6 behind to edge out Carter, with two consecutive half-centuries pulling him level after Carter had moved one frame from victory.

Jack Lisowski (left) in action against Ali Carter (right) at the World Championship
Jack Lisowski (left) was involved in a tight contest against Ali Carter, twice a runner-up at the Crucible (George Wood/PA)

Lisowski said: "It was a big win there. I managed to hang on with a few frames, and at 8-6 it was not looking good for me, so to have won from there it was good stuff.

"In the tournament he was probably the worst draw out of everyone, but my attitude was 'it is the World Championship, it doesn't matter who you got because you have got to beat them all'."

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John Higgins pictured in January 2016
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