Gareth Allen says his televised defeat in the opening round of the Kaspersky Riga Open was a ‘learning curve’ for him as a professional.
Allen, from Ewloe, was well beaten 4-0 by Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen in the first round in Latvia, with the 26-year-old, who only turned professional in May, admitting that he ‘couldn’t have played any worse’.
His clash with the Northern Irishman, ranked number 11 in the world, was shown live on Eurosport on Friday and marked his first appearance in the first round of a tournament as a professional following several years battling on the amateur circuit.
“I couldn’t have played any worse if I’m honest, but the thing is that I wasn’t nervous at all,” said the former Broughton Wings Social Club potter.
“I was really disappointed with how I played, I know I’m capable of so much better. I really don’t know what happened.
“They (officials) had polished the cue balls just before we played so the ball was running far quicker than I expected. That meant I messed up my opening break and I just never recovered from it. I started doubting myself on every single shot.
“Mark (Allen) said he found he table to be running more quickly as a result but after messing up at the start and when you let the doubt creep in to your mind, it’s hard to come back from that.
WATCH: Action from Gareth Allen's clash with Mark Allen in the Kaspersky Riga Open
Despite the setback, Allen is refusing to be downbeat and acknowledges that tough challenges await him at every turn now he is in the professional ranks.
“I’m not down about it, it happened and I just have to move on and get back on the tables on work even harder, which I have been doing,” said Allen, ranked number 107 in the world.
“I’ve been on TV before now but never as a professional. I spoke to some of the more experienced professionals afterwards and they just said that it is something that happens to everybody.
“They could all recall something similar happening to them at the beginning of their careers. You just have to move on. It’s gone now and there’s no point dwelling too much on it.
“I’m a professional now. It’s always been my dream and I’m living it. But I know how tough it is. You can’t have off days now.
“It’s only going to get harder, but I’ll be ready and I’ll continue to get better.”
Allen did, however, bounce back from his Latvian disappointment to register his second win as a professional, convincingly beating veteran potter Barry Pinches 5-1 at Barnsley Metrodome in the first qualifying round for September's Shanghai Masters. He will face India's Aditya Mehta, ranked 50th in the world, in the second round at 11am tomorrow morning (Friday).
Allen made the professional ranks in May when he defeated close friend, fellow Flintshire cueman Alex Taubman from Halkyn, in a winner-takes-all shootout at a Q-School competition in Burton-on-Trent.
Chester FC fan and Welsh international Allen, who carries his cue in a specially designed blue and white case featuring the Blues' crest, had been on the amateur circuit for a number of years and had come close to securing professional status before May’s triumph.
His win over Taubman ensured him a two-year tour card on the professional circuit.
Chester’s Ricky Walden was in action at the Riga Open, losing at the third round stage.
World number 10 Walden, 32, defeated England’s Zak Surety and Manx potter Darryl Hill in the opening two rounds by scores of 4-3 and 4-1 respectively, but saw his quest for glory ended by Ben Woollaston, going down 4-1.
The tournament was won by Barry Hawkins, a 4-1 victor over Englishman Tom Ford in the final showdown.