Mark Allen lands title and targets World Championship

Mark Allen kisses the trophy after last year's UK Championship win
Mark Allen won the Players Championship at the Telford International Centre on Sunday night

MARK Allen turned his sights towards a first World title after a battling 10-8 win over China’s Zhang Anda in the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Players Championship at the Telford International Centre late on Sunday night.

The Antrim cueman pocketed the top prize of £125,000 and then revealed that everything is now geared towards his tilt at the World title at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, starting in April.

The World number three said: “It would be a disappointment if I finished my career without having won the World title.

“That was a tough match against Zhang. I’m just glad to have eventually got over the line.”

It was indeed a war of attrition, Zhang blasting into a 3-0 lead before Allen got on the scoreboad to make it 3-1, with the afternoon session finishing 4-4. Both players had a stack of chances in the evening before Allen, who turned 38 this week, eventually triumphed.

“It was tough all day. Zhang has been so good all week, I think I dragged him down to my level. My safety was good and kept me in the match, but I didn’t play that well,” he added.

“It’s my 11th ranking title and my fifth in the last couple of years. I want to get to 20, maybe even 30. If I do that then I’ll have done alright, but unless I win the World Championships I’ll look back on my career with some disappointment.

“It’s a busy spell with Saudi, China, the Tour Champs and finally the Worlds coming up. Hopefully I can keep winning matches, but I also need to find a little bit of form as well.”