Mark Selby and Kurt Maflin may not have played too often as professionals, but their semi-final meeting at the China Open brought together two 31-year-olds who have been crossing cues for more than 20 years.

Maflin reckoned he had first played current world champion and world No1 Selby at the age of about nine.

And Leicester Jester Selby said: “It is easy to forget, but if Kurt is just older than me it can only be by a few months. He used to come to Willie Thorne’s for the junior competitions with his father.

“And I think I played Kurt in the final of the England Under-15s once, if I remember rightly I won that one 4-3. We haven’t played a lot as pros, I do think Kurt is very talented and has underachieved given that, which he says himself – but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he made it to the Crucible for the first time this year, as long as he gets over the jet-lag okay.”