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Snooker: Allen strikes back to slow Higgins’ charge

John Higgins remained on course for a place in the World Championship final at the Crucible but Mark Allen denied him a day off after a gutsy fightback last night.

Allen had trailed 13-3 after the opening two sessions of their semi-final and Higgins needed just four of eight frames in the evening session to ease into the final. But the pair will be back today to play to a finish after Allen won six frames to cut Higgins’ lead to 15-9. The 33-year-old Scot will require just two more for victory. Even if Allen does go out it will be a dignified exit rather than the three-session thrashing which had looked likely.

A day at the practice table would have been an ideal way for Higgins to prepare for a confrontation with Shaun Murphy or Neil Robertson, the pair contesting the other semi-final. After two sessions Murphy leads 9-7.

Attempting to claw his way back into the contest, Allen, who knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan in the second round, made breaks of 63, 56 and 58 before pinching the final three scrappy frames. Higgins made the two highest breaks of the session, 85 and 93, to win his two frames.