Hawick snooker player Gary Kinnear was defeated in his bid to become Scottish Over-40s Master – possibly because he enjoyed the occasion too much.
Gary went down 5-2 in the best of nine-frame final to ex-professional Craig MacGillivray in Glasgow last Friday.
But, in a venue stuffed with his personal heroes and favourite players – as the Scottish Open was on at the same time – he said it was one of the best days of his life.
Gary (41) won two of the first three frames, scoring a 58 break in the opener, before MacGillivray pulled it back to 2-2 ahead of the mid-session interval.
Gary then went backstage at the Emirates Arena – and reckoned that maybe cost him a chunk of his concentration, as MacGillivray took three successive frames after the restart to win the title.
But Gary, who had said he was determined above all to enjoy the day, was not disappointed and hopes he can qualify again next year.
“It was absolutely unbelievable – it all seemed surreal. Just an amazing experience,” he said.
“ I saw Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White, Mark Allen and Shaun Murphy .
“I was taking in all the atmosphere and enjoying the surroundings, and I think I just got caught up in where I was. I didn’t have quite the same focus.”
McGillivray was leading 3-2 and Gary was on a clearance of the colours which would have squared the match.
But, on an extremely fast table, he went in-off on the brown which, he said, was the “game changer”.
However, he added: “I wasn’t nervous – I was smiling inside, as it seemed all surreal. I felt natural and so at home. I look back with no regrets.
“Craig was a good opponent – he told me I started off like a train and I had him worried.
“He was a total gentleman and he told me I played really well for my first final.”
Gary, a support worker with Streets Ahead, is ranked fifth among the Scottish Masters amateurs after his appearance and is back in Scottish Masters qualifying action again on January 6, at a venue to be decided.
“I want to do this again next year,” he added.
“Not many people get to experience playing at that venue, seeing all thepros and seeing all my heroes.”