After the conclusion of another extraordinary snooker season, we pick 10 of our favourite shots from the 2021/22 campaign as captured by the Eurosport cameras. You can vote for your personal choice when we reveal our final list of contenders this month.
No. 9 – Allen thrills Belfast fans with fearless yellow during iconic 147
Losing in front of your home crowd.
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It is a sinking sensation that came as regular to Mark Allen in Belfast as potting balls in recent years.
A 5-2 loss to Anthony Hamilton in the last eight of the 2016 Northern Ireland Open – the maiden voyage of the rejuvenated ranking event at the Titanic Exhibition Centre – was Allen's relatively modest highlight on home soil until he washed up at the Waterfront Hall last October.
A tournament opener with Si Jiahui wound up taking on greater meaning for the former Masters winner on his way to claiming the Alex Higgins Trophy in some style a week later.
Having shipped the first frame, the proud Antrim man compiled runs of 76 and 50 in recovering to lead 3-1 before he sealed victory with the second competitive 147 of his career, a wonderfully adventurous break that seemed to take in the Giant's Causeway with cue ball allowed scope to travel.
As in most maximum knocks throughout green baize history, there is one money shot that remains memorable in its glorious execution.
'What bottle!' - Watch every shot as Allen makes ‘wonderful’ 147
For Allen, it was the maximum-saving yellow that salvaged the moment. Having despatched 15 reds and 14 blacks, the adrenaline was clearly pumping when he overcooked the white ball by some distance in slotting the final black, leaving him a nasty yellow down the length of the table to a top pocket.
"He knows he's overhit it," said 1986 world champion Joe Johnson in commentary. "It needs to slow down, slow down. Needs a good pot now."
Allen serenely rolled it in like he was alone on the practice table. "That's got to be the toughest yellow since Cliff Thorburn in 1983 when he made his maximum," opined commentator Dave Hendon in citing the mid-range yellow 'The Grinder' holed during his first 147 at the World Championship in Sheffield.
"He's weathered quite a few storms on the way. That yellow was something else."
For Allen, the 147 was merely a snooker sorbet as he embarked upon a rousing run in defeating defending champion Judd Trump from 3-0 down in the quarter-finals before a 9-8 victory over John Higgins from 8-5 behind sealed perhaps the most satisfying triumph of his career.
“That yellow in the black pocket is the art of poor positional play," said Allen. “I played a shot in one of the earlier frames, I saw the white drifting a bit so I was aiming for the left side of the pocket and it turned in lovely.
I was so nervous, I was shaking uncontrollably. Even the ref said afterwards he could see my head going on some shots.
"To do it anywhere, but to do it here in front of the home fans is special."
It was a pioneering moment for Northern Irish snooker and for Allen, who came good when it mattered most.
Late crowd drama as Allen wins Northern Ireland Open
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