Ken Doherty is seeking his first victory of the season when he faces Dominic Dale in the Scottish Open qualifiers on Monday.
The 1997 Crucible king will be hoping it is sixth time lucky at Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock, having lost four and drawn one of his previous five matches this term.
That included a 4-3 defeat by three-time ladies’ World champion Ng On Yee at the British Open qualifiers in August.
The six-time ranking event winner boasts a decent Scottish Open record having reached the 2001 final – losing 9-7 to Peter Ebdon – and a further four semi-finals.
However, he has suffered six successive first-round defeats since the event returned to the calendar as part of the Home Nations Series in 2016.
Despite boasting over 60 years of professional experience between them, this will only be Doherty’s seventh competitive meeting with Dale, with the Irishman prevailing on four occasions.
Previous encounters have served as a good omen for both players. Doherty won 5-3 in the last 32 on the way to capturing the 2001 Welsh Open title.
Ironically, Dale then went on to lift the Shanghai Masters six years later following a 5-3 victory over the Darlin’ of Dublin at the same stage.
The Spaceman has won four of his eight matches so far this season. Two of those came at the European Masters, where he beat Joe Perry and Jimmy White before going down 5-3 against compatriot Mark Williams in the last 32.
Although, the world number 58 was helpless at the British Open, where an in-form Jack Lisowski hit breaks of 99, 89 and 76 on the way to inflicting a 4-1 opening-round defeat.
The winner of this match will play either Gary Wilson or Jamie O’Neill in the main stages of the Scottish Open next month.
Play gets underway at 4pm BST on Thursday and will be contested over the best of seven frames at Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock.