Mark Allen beats Jak Jones 6-1 in UK first round

Mark Allen cruised into the second round of the UK Championship in York with a 6-1 win over Jak Jones of Wales on Thursday night.

For the first time, the tournament features 128 players in the opening round and Allen was up against a player ranked 122 in the world.

Northern Ireland's Allen was 4-0 up at the interval and then added a century break in the fifth frame.

Twenty-year-old Jones avoided a whitewash by taking the sixth.

Allen, 27, now plays England's Dave Harold who saw off Chen Zhe of China 6-1 in the first round.

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They keep devaluing the big tournaments which is a real shame

Mark Allen

Harold, from Stoke, is a former finalist in the now defunct Northern Ireland Trophy and currently occupies 54th place in the world rankings.

"I just did enough. Jak didn't put me under much pressure, he can play better than that," said Allen after his victory.

"If you can get through these early rounds, the tournament really starts at the last 32 stage.

"It's open plan at this stage with lots of tables but it's a good warm-up for us as top players.

"It doesn't feel great when you're out there playing but if you keep winning matches and get to the later stages it will improve.

"They keep devaluing the big tournaments which is a real shame, and it could be discouraging for the game as a whole long-term.

"There are seven or eight amateurs in this tournament and to be brutally honest I'd be surprised if any of them win many frames, let alone many matches."

Allen reached the final of the UK Championship in 2011, the first time he had reached the climax of a major ranking tournament.

The Antrim man has since won the World Open in China in 2011 and 2012 and is currently ranked ninth in the world.