Match Report

2024 Masters: John Higgins Reflects on Tough 6-5 Loss to Mark Allen

Scottish snooker legend, John Higgins faced off against Mark Allen in what can only be described as a slugfest, reminiscent of a boxing match in the first round of the 2024 MrQ Masters. Unfortunately for Higgins, he found himself on the wrong end of a 6-5 score line, leaving him with mixed emotions after a gruelling battle at the Ally Pally.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-01-11

5 minutes read

Snooker player next to a trophy

A Battle of Champions Unfolds

In a hard-fought encounter at Alexandra Palace, John Higgins and Mark Allen battled for a spot in the Masters quarterfinals. The match proved to be a scrappy affair, with both players facing mid-game challenges. 


Initially winning 3-1, Higgins' determination, however, was met with a composed comeback from Mark Allen, the clash evolving into an error-laden affair between two former champions. Eventually, Allen secured a narrow 6-5 victory, earning himself a place in the quarter-finals. Notably, this triumph marked Allen's first win at Alexandra Palace since his tournament victory in 2018.


The deciding frame witnessed Allen's poise as he executed a crucial break of 86, sealing the win and progressing to the next round. This hard-earned victory for Allen served as a testament to the unpredictable nature of the match, leaving spectators at Alexandra Palace on the edge of their seats throughout the gripping contest.

Higgins’ Emotional Rollercoaster

After the match, Higgins admitted to feeling a bit "punch-drunk" after the loss. Despite the disappointment, he acknowledged the competitive nature of the tournament, expressing his desire to win but recognising the challenges he faced with some crushing defeats.


The mental toll of such cagey games was evident in Higgins' words, as he described the match as a "real battle" and highlighted the energy-draining effects of the back-and-forth encounter. The Ally Pally crowd, known for its passionate and energetic support, played a significant role in creating a dynamic atmosphere that added to the intensity of the game.



Crucible Conundrum

Higgins, a two-time World Champion, faces a precarious situation in the snooker world. Currently holding the 12th position in the world rankings, the Scottish veteran is standing on the borderline for qualifying directly for the prestigious Crucible event.


The stakes are high for Higgins as his current rank places him within the top-16, allowing automatic qualification. However, the seasoned player is acutely aware that his recent performances need improvement to maintain this coveted position. If his form continues to falter in the upcoming ranking events, there's a genuine risk of slipping out of the top-16, subjecting him to the arduous task of going through qualification rounds to secure a spot at the Crucible.


Reflecting on his plans and aims for the prestigious event, he remarked, "I'll need to qualify for that. I'm sort on the borderline for qualifying, so could be. I might be having to go to qualifying for it, which I don't want to try and do."

The World Grand Prix Awaits

Addressing the immediate future, Higgins pointed to the upcoming World Grand Prix, a major event kicking off on Monday. He expressed his intention to regroup, stating, "There's a big event [World Grand Prix] kicking off on Monday that I’ll be in. So just try and lick my wounds and then come back. That's all you can do."

The Journey Continues

As the Wizard of Wishaw navigates through the highs and lows of the season, it's evident that Higgins remains resilient and focused on the journey ahead. The loss at the Masters serves as motivation for the Scottish player as he prepares for the upcoming challenges, including the World Grand Prix. Only time will tell how Higgins will bounce back from this setback and continue to leave his mark on the world of snooker.


Image credit: World Snooker Tour (WST)

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.