Very few among the UK-based officials and media escaped having to wear some part of a panda costume in Chengdu to keep promoter ‘Jerry’ happy. But tournament director Mike Ganley decided to spare the two finalists the indignity of being escorted into the arena by a bear apiece.

A trial run on the Saturday was enough to convince Ganley, generally keen to indulge local sentiment and help publicise Sichuan province’s most iconic creatures, that the black and white costumes did little for the gravitas of the occasion to the wider world and the plug was diplomatically pulled.

Instead a chuckling Mark Allen and Ricky Walden left the mascots in the corridor on their way out to start the best of 19 frame showpiece.