Remember, remember the 5th of November for some astonishing snooker fireworks. Mark Allen completed a 6-3 win over Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Champion of Champions in an ill-tempered match in Milton Keynes that will be remembered for an explosive verbal bust-up between the duo that continued long after the final ball was potted. It was perhaps fitting that it came on the night when fireworks raged outside the Marshall Arena.
Former Masters winner Allen was a merited winner of the contest having dominated the final four frames from 3-2 behind, but the key talking point of the contest came in the ninth and final frame with O'Sullivan among the balls and looking to close to 5-4 behind. The six-times world champion accused Allen of gamesmanship by getting in his eyeline when he was on a shot, an action that prompted him to slow down to a snail's pace before deciding to call out Allen on live television for his conduct.
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The Northern Irishman denied he was trying to unsettle O'Sullivan and the world number eight would then pounce on an O'Sullivan error by missing a red on 26 to compile a rapid 66 to secure a place in the semi-finals against world number one Judd Trump on Saturday evening.
"To be honest, it was uncomfortable for Ronnie," said Allen, who also made breaks of 78, 102, 104 and 76 in a powerhouse display of scoring.
I don't know what he was on about. He said I was moving in his eyeline, he said I was standing in front of his shots, he said I was moving in my seat.
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"[Referee] Marcel Eckardt said: 'Mark, I know you are not doing anything, let it go'. [However] I'm not going to let it go if he is making up rubbish.
"He was just getting in his own way. He was taking forever over shots in that last frame. It was funny, Ronnie was completely gone..
"All I needed to hear was Marcel saying I hadn't done anything. I knew I was in the right then and I was never letting it go.
Ronnie is trying to bully people out there and I wasn't having any of it. I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. I just want to play snooker .
"It was the worst thing he could have done. When he missed that red (in the ninth frame) I was never missing. Sometimes, he just needs putting back in his place.
"We didn't speak at the end, but I'm sure he'll come to me some day and say that he was wrong..
It's just crazy. He's the best ever in my opinion, but sometimes he lets himself down with what he does and what he says.
O'Sullivan hit back at Allen and claimed he was forced to call out his opponent for behaving like an amateur player down his local snooker club.
"When you are on shot and he is moving..it just seems like stuff you do down the snooker club when you are an amateur and you are trying to get into your opponent's head and put him off," said O'Sullivan, who enjoyed early runs of 79, 91 and 51 before Allen restricted him to only 36 points in the closing four frames.
It is what it is. I just thought: 'I'm going to pull you up on it.' There's no point in letting it go and he carries on doing it. I thought I'd get it out of the way and it was done, but he deserved his victory.
"It started round about 3-2. That's why I was taking my time on certain shots. I thought I'm not going to play the shot until you sit down on your chair. I could have said something then, but I thought hopefully you get the message. He kind of did because he sat down.
"But obviously when I was playing the shot, he started ripping his logo off so I thought: 'I've got to have a word with him.' There are no hard feelings. Mark played better tonight, he played fantastic and deserved his victory.
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But sometimes you've got to say something and get it out of the way. I'm 45, I've been round the block so many times. I know every move in the book, do you know what I mean? I'm at the stage of my career where I want to enjoy it.
"I'll take my time until you sit down, but if you continually do it then I can't keep taking a minute and a half over every shot. I thought it was best to get it out of the way. He was cool with it..he knew, he knew."
O'Sullivan enjoyed a 4-1 win over Michael Holt with efforts of 65, 86, 71 and 87 after Holt had made 107 earlier in the day with Allen edging out Scotsman Scott Donaldson 4-3, concluding with a stunning break of 125.
Former world champions Mark Selby and Neil Robertson meet in the first semi-final on Friday night.
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