English pair Gary Wilson and Joe O’Connor will contest an unexpected Scottish Open final on Sunday in Edinburgh.
In Saturday’s semi-finals, O’Connor produced another excellent performance to beat Neil Robertson 6-3 at the Meadowbank Sports Centre.
The 27 year-old defied three century breaks from his esteemed opponent and fought back from 3-2 behind to deny the Australian.
Earlier in the day, Wilson fired in a hat-trick of his own ton contributions in an equally superb display after the mid-session interval of the first semi-final.
With the scores tied at 2-2, Wilson raised his game and compiled runs of 130, 122, 115, 88, and 64 to beat Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-4.
It means that the Scottish Open final will be contest between two competitors ranked outside the world’s top 16.
Wilson is ranked 32nd in the official world rankings while O’Connor is way down in 55th spot on the two-year list.
Victory for either in Sunday’s showdown for the Stephen Hendry Trophy will also guarantee a new member to the ranking event winners’ club.
It’s a third opportunity for Wilson to etch his name onto silverware, with the 37 year-old having previously finished runner-up at the 2015 China Open and last year’s British Open.
O’Connor, who has only been on the Main Tour since 2018, will be featuring at this stage of a ranking tournament for the first time in his short professional career.
Both players have carved out impressive runs to reach this stage of the competition, where an £80,000 top prize will be on the line.
While Wilson has overcome the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Kyren Wilson, and Hossein Vafaei to get this far, O’Connor has a conquered collection of notable names that includes Zhao Xintong, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams, Ricky Walden, and Robertson.
The two former English amateur champions have interestingly never played each other in a professional event.
In that regard, there’s nothing to help us determine who might walk away with a maiden trophy in his hands this evening.
Wilson is undoubtedly the more experience cueist and demonstrated his scoring potential at the decisive moments of his success in the last four.
O’Connor, however, has raised his level to match the occasion during so many rounds in this tournament and could be destined for a fairy tale ending.
Victory would open a lot of doors for both, with potential invitations to lucrative events later this season and into the next to come, meaning there’s an awful lot on the line.
As in any title decider, the player who can hold his nerve when it matters most will likely be crowned the Scottish Open champion.
The Scottish Open final sessions begin at 1pm and 7pm GMT.
Featured photo credit: WST