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Scottish Open final preview: Gary Wilson v Joe O'Connor an unlikely finale

It's a final that not many would have predicted, with Gary Wilson starting the event as a 150/1 shot and Joe O'Connor even more unconsidered at 500/1.

However, both cuemen have played some superb snooker, to win six matches and reach the Meadowbank Sports Centre showdown, and we should be in for a terrific baize battle.

Wilson is rated the 8/11 favourite to lift the Stephen Hendy trophy and the Tyneside Terror produced some excellent snooker to beat the capable Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the semi-finals. 

O'Connor was a 4/1 shot to beat top potter Neil Robertson at the last-four stage, but once again he upset the odds and the Leicester cueman is now just 11/10 for Scottish glory.

Someone's '0' has to go

Amongst the uncertainty of how the final will play out, we do know for sure that either Wilson or O'Connor will claim the first ranking title of their careers.

It would be some achievement for the 27-year-old O'Connor, who was ranked as number 55 in the world, coming into this event.

The Leicester potter's best previous effort came when making the semi-finals of the 2019 Welsh Open and he also got to the last-eight of the German Masters at the start of 2021.

O'Connor is a capable performer, and wins over Zhao Xintong, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams, Ricky Walden and Robertson in this event demonstrate that. It also leaves you wondering how the 27-year-old has failed to qualify for three of the last four ranking events.

There's no doubt that Wilson is an excellent break-builder when on-song. The Tyneside Terror beat Luca Brecel, Mark Selby and Ali Carter on his way to the semi-finals of the 2019 World Championship and the 37-year-old has twice gone close to landing his first ranking event title.

The Wallsend cueman made his first graded tournament final in the 2015 China Open, but Wilson came up short when losing to four-time world champion Mark Selby in the concluding contest.

The 37-year-old had to wait until last year’s British Open to get a second chance to break his tournament-winning duck.

Wilson took on Williams in the final of the British Open, but the Tyneside Terror was defeated 6-4 by the three-time Crucible king.

That may have been a defeat, but it was a contest that Wilson competed well in and his supporters can certainly take encouragement from his British Open effort.

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Wilson produced a master class of break-building in the concluding frames of his semi-final contest with Un-Nooh.

The last-four clash between the two was a ding-dong battle in the early stages, but the Wallsend cueman found his scoring touch to power past the talented Un-Nooh.

Wilson made knocks of 64, 88, 115, 122 and 130 in the final six frames of the match in what was a fantastic run of scoring.

Things weren't as free-flowing for the Tyneside Terror in previous matches against Kyren Wilson and Hossein Vafaei, but a 4-3 third-round victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan did contain some big breaks.

Wilson hit runs of 72, 73, 82 and 83, under the utmost pressure against the Rocket and, if the 37-year-old can find that sort of break-building form, then he is likely to go close to claiming the Scottish Open crown.

Final predictions

It's refreshing to see two different names in the final of a ranking event and two talented performers getting a chance to shine on the big stage.

Wilson is favoured to win the first ranking title of his career and, while O'Connor deserves plenty of credit for reaching this stage, there's a feeling that the battling abilities, combined with fantastic scoring power, can see the Tyneside Terror over the line.

Wilson's break-building against Uh-Noon in the semis was simply superb and if the Wallsend cueman continues to relax, that talent amongst the balls could prove to be the difference.

This is O'Connor's first appearance in a televised final and it remains to be seen how the Leicester man will handle the occasion.

Wilson has previous experience of playing in a concluding contest in a major tournament and that may help him land his first ranking event title.

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