A thrilling day of semi final action at the "Ally Pally" has left us with one guarantee and that is that we will be adding new name to The Masters roll of honour tomorrow, as Mark Allen faces Kyren Wilson for the £200,000 top prize.
It seems strange when you consider there is only two years between them,but in terms of experience it very much seemed "an old master against the young pretender "scenario as Judd Trump faced off against Kyren Wilson in the first of the semi finals today.
This was of course Wilson's first experience of a major semi final and the pressure seemed to be getting to him early on here as he struggled to keep the cue ball under control .Trump was well worth the 3-1 lead he took to the interval.
Wilson did look to be finding his range when they resumed with an 81 closing the gap to 3-2,but Trump took full advantage of his chances in the next two to pull clear again 5-2.
At this stage two things were needed for Wilson to get back into the match,firstly he needed to start taking his chances & also he needed Trump to make mistakes,amazingly in an extraordinary hour of snooker both these things were to happen.
Into frame eight still with the match at his mercy Trump took on a very low percentage pot on a red,missed it and in doing so spread the pack far & wide.This was the sort of gift wrapped opportunity Wilson wanted and he duly cleared to make it 5-3.That quickly became 5-4 & then 5-5 as he forced decider without Trump potting ball for over 30 minutes.
Into the decider then & it was Trump who got in first,but he could only make 23 before breaking down The crucial moment was to come a few shots later though as,faced with an awkward safety from the side cushion,Trump had what can only be described as a rush of blood to the head.With a few safety options available he for some reason,best known to himself, took on a near impossible plant.The resulting miss presented Wilson with the chance he needed and he calmly knocked in a 71 to seal a famous 6-5 win.
A great victory for Wilson then in what is only his second appearance at the Masters,as for Trump you have to wonder at this stage if he will ever reach the heights that his talent deserves.
The second semi final had a lot to live up to as Mark Allen ,fresh from his victory over Ronnie in the previous round,faced another of the all time greats in John Higgins.
For the longest time I've felt that if there was a "Major" win in Allen,that it would be the Masters and after losing the opener here,he quickly found his stride again to lead 3-1 t the interval.
Higgins reached a career landmark when they resumed,as he hit the 700 career century mark with a fine 131 that more importantly got him within one at 3-2,but Allen responded to take the next two to move to the brink at 5-2.
There was still time for Higgins to get his 701st century (a 127),but there was to be no repeat of this afternoons heroics as Allen took the next to seal his final place 6-3.
So not the final many would have predicted at the start of the week,but what a fascinating match up it promises to be. Both have shown in different ways that they are well able for the pressures that these occasions bring and I wouldn't be surprised to see this one go late into the evening tomorrow.That sai,if forced to pick a winner I think I'll give the edge to Allen on experience alone.It will be close though and maybe,20 yrs after one of the games most famous final frame deciders we could be in for another one tomorrow.