Allen able to be more measured with answers when pressed

Mark Allen has laughed off the prospect that marriage could blunt his sporting edge.

But letting his snooker do the talking is proving far more profitable to the Northern Irishman than mouthing off ever was.

After paying out close to £20,000 in fines for a slew of offences last season, Allen heads to the Crucible with a clean disciplinary slate for the current campaign.

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He has also shot up the world rankings from 12th to sixth place, and as he prepares to tie the knot with fiancée Kyla McGuigan next month he is guaranteed at least one unforgettable day in May.

Allen has the World Championship title in his sights before the May 10 date with Kyla though, and if his temperament is right for the 17-day event in Sheffield a double celebration could well be around the corner.

Despite joking about how marriage might change him – “Hopefully that’ll calm me down and give me more maturity... can’t see that happening,” he said – Allen has, after a little persuasion from the authorities, learned to toe the line.

“I know I can deal with things more maturely now,” he said. “It’s something I’ve matured to and learned to deal with a lot better.”

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World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn had his hand forced when Allen made a raft of accusations against Chinese players during last year’s World Championship, after a sore and surprising
first-round loss to Cao Yupeng.

Hearn and the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association had to enforce discipline in the form of £11,000 in fines and a suspended ban, due to the nature of Allen’s remarks.

But providing they do not traverse the line which makes their comments malicious, snooker chiefs will put up with their players breathing a little fire.

Allen has taken media training since last April, and believes he can now spot any bait that might be tossed his way.

“They know I’m not too bad with interviews.

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“I give good answers, but it’s how I can deal with things in the heat of the moment,” Allen explained.

“There’s nothing worse than coming out from a match where you should have won or played poorly, or something bad like (the defeat to Cao at) Sheffield happened, and you’re stuck straight in front of a 

“That’s the worst thing possible,” said Allen, Northern Ireland’s finest snooker player since Dennis Taylor and Alex Higgins were in their heyday.

“I don’t know how other sportspeople deal with it as well as they do.

“It’s about knowing what to watch out for.

“I still love to have an opinion; I just need to think about it a little more before giving that opinion,” he concluded.