The English Open final on Sunday will be contested between two home players with Mark Selby and David Gilbert vying for the title in Crawley.
A cheque worth £70,000, the Steve Davis Trophy, and a guaranteed invitation to the upcoming Champion of Champions are all on the line.
Selby came from 5-3 down to overcome Mark Allen in a gruelling semi-final battle that lasted the distance.
It amazingly represented the seventh time in seven meetings over the best of 11 frames between the pair that the outcome finished with a scoreline of 6-5.
The trademark come-from-behind victory for Selby means that he has qualified for a 25th ranking event final and his first outside China since he last captured the World Championship in 2017.
A triumph for the “Jester” this weekend would see his total tally of successes at this level reach 16, equalling Neil Robertson in sixth on the all-time list.
Gilbert, on the other hand, is searching for a maiden glory after completing a somewhat more comfortable 6-3 defeat of Tom Ford in the last four.
It’s the third time in just over a year that Gilbert has reached the title deciding encounter.
In the World Open last year, the “Angry Farmer” squandered a 9-5 advantage as he dramatically lost in a decider to Mark Williams in Yushan.
Then, Gilbert was on the wrong end of another close affair as he was denied victory in the 2019 German Masters by Kyren Wilson.
Gilbert, though, has been a vastly improved player across that period and his rise into the top 16 of the world rankings for the first time was reflected by a wonderful run at the Crucible Theatre that ended with a gut-wrenching 17-16 loss to John Higgins in the World Championship semi-finals.
This English Open final will provide Gilbert with his fourth opportunity to land the silverware that has been lacking from his CV.
The 38 year-old is undoubtedly earning the unwanted label of being the best player to have never won one but, on current form, he has every chance of ultimately setting the record straight on this occasion.
Selby’s ability to grind opponents down is well known and that is a challenge that Gilbert will undoubtedly have to overcome.
But in terms of which player is actually playing the better snooker these days, it’s surely the latter.
Selby, however, does boast a superior head-to-head record and emerged victorious from their last fixture in the last 16 of the recent International Championship.
That battle, as well as their preceding one in Berlin, required all the frames before the winner was determined and there’s every chance that the English Open final could follow a similar pattern.
The closer it is, the more Selby will be fancied to hold his nerve, so it’s obviously imperative that Gilbert gets off to a good start.
Either way, it promises to be an interesting climax to the first Home Nations event of the season.
Live coverage of the English Open final is on Eurosport and Quest TV.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)
You don’t see any scars, but @markjesterselby has just overcome an almighty battle with Mark Allen…
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) October 19, 2019