MARK Allen admits that the chance of working once again with Terry Griffiths next season gives him renewed hope for the future.

The 29-year-old from Northern Ireland lost a tense and tight last-16 match with Barry Hawkins 13-11 on Saturday night at the Crucible.

World No12 Allen, who has shown some great form this term without always finishing it off and lifting the big trophy, has had to do without the coaching services and wise counsel of the 1979 world champion this season after splitting from OnQ Promotions.

With Griffiths as the contracted coach for the player management company, the Welshman was in rival Hawkins’ corner in Sheffield.

But that will change next season with OnQ drawing back from the professional game and Griffiths set to go freelance with a small group of players. Allen was first in line trying to book himself in. Given the coach’s deserved reputation there may be a queue for his services.

Having also worked with Griffiths with the 110sport organisation in the past, Allen played superbly to reach the finals in Shanghai and Chengdu before Christmas but lost out to Stuart Bingham and Ricky Walden respectively.

And though he won the Paul Hunter Classic, he also lost in the final of another European Tour event in Riga.

Allen said: “The match against Barry kind of summed up my whole season. I flattered to deceive. I scored very well in spells and felt great but came up a little bit short.

“Four finals and one win in Germany is nowhere near good enough for me. I know I am much, much better than that.

“And to be honest the one place I have really struggled is not having Terry Griffiths. There are certain times in matches, at 11-9 up against Barry at the interval I am sure he could have pointed me in the right direction.

“Barry had Terry in his corner for this match and it is a big asset to have, I don’t think people realise how influential he has been for me. It will be great to work with him again next season, and hopefully it will be on to bigger and better things.

“This will be the first time Terry has gone on his own rather than be contracted to a company with its own players. I know he is trying to get maybe five or six players, so far I think it is me and one other who I won’t name – but two tournament winners, and future tournament winners.

“He will try and get a few more, but I think he is at a point in his career where he doesn’t have too many players. And at OnQ there were more players, it was probably hard to divide his time.

“But it will be massive for me. This was my first year since my very first year on tour I haven’t had him, and as much as I have had some good results I have noticed it when I am struggling in matches and events.

“Left to myself I tinker too much and with him stopping me doing that I am sure I will win tournaments next season.”


Photograph by Monique Limbos