A snooker player from Hawick is set to break off today (Friday) in the biggest game of his career.
Gary Kinnear is in the final of the Scottish Masters Over 40s tournament, which is taking place later at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow – venue for the 2018 Scottish Open.
His opponent will be former Scottish professional player Craig MacGillivray, who spent 10 years on the full-time circuit and appeared on TV’s ‘Give Us A Break’.
This is the furthest that Gary (41) has ever gone in his amateur snooker career – and he’s determined to relax and enjoy the occasion.
He progressed through a series of qualifying stages and, by mid-November, found himself in the last 16.
“It has a great standard of player, so I just wanted to win my first match to get the furthest I have been,” he said.
“ I just played really well all day. I took out a few big scalps and managed to win the semi-final. I am absolutely chuffed and over the moon!”
A number of Gary’s relatives and friends are travelling to watch him play, including colleagues from Team Freestyle OCR.
Gary has taken part with them in a number of obstacle course races recently and said physical fitness helps keep his mind focused.
Back on the snooker table, he has been practising regularly as a means of relaxing and replenishing his concentration for today’s final.
He has only played in a few events on the Over-40s scene but this is his biggest accomplishment to date.
Gary, who plays for the Burns Club in Hawick, also warmed up nicely for his big day by winning the Hawick Snooker Singles title on Sunday for the third time.
He took the sport up when he was around seven or eight and has always been a fan of the Scottish players, with Stephen Hendry a particular hero when he was growing up. These days, his favourite is probably Ronnie O’Sullivan. “He is a genius – he’s someone I look up to,” said Gary. “What he does on a snooker table is unreal. I love watching him play.”
Gary hoped the joy of the occasion would help with the nerves and he would simply go out and enjoy it.
“I will be in players’ rooms and see the professionals there – it will be surreal,” he said. “ I am buzzing for it. I am the underdog – but that suits me. I prefer being the underdog.”