GOLD Tour player Anthony Rice continued his remarkable month with victory in the John Parrott Cup final at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club.
The Fordingbridge teenager said he was “not sure how much better it can get” after holding off a spirited challenge by Connor Benzey to claim the under-19 title.
Despite opening with a 38 break, Rice, conceding a 14-point handicap start, trailed with three reds left following an all-out attack by his 12-year-old opponent from Eastleigh.
After taking both frames on the colours for a 2-0 victory, the 17-year-old admitted: “He really put me through the wringer.
“He’s a very strong player and he raised my game in the final.”
And he praised the manner in which 13-year-old referee Steven Hughes “professionally” officiated the match.
At the beginning of November, Rice won the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour event in Swindon.
Three days after knocking in his highest break of 81 in a practice match in Salisbury, he compiled a personal best competitive 60 on his debut in the Cuestars South Wilts Snooker League – and lost that particular frame on a re-spotted black.
“This month has been a period of success for my snooker,” he said, in perhaps the understatement of the season.
“I’m not sure how much better it can get. I’m worried I’m going to start going down the hill now.”
The 11th running of the John Parrott Cup attracted a 14-strong field.
Oli Line, 11, from Botley, who is due to make his Cuestars debut in Bournemouth, won the Plate competition for non-qualifiers from the group stages.
Group A: 1st, Anthony Rice (0); 2nd, Connor Benzey (14); 3rd, Charlie Pringle (20); 4th, Lewis Wilson (28); 5th, Oli Line (20).
Group B: 1st, Steven Hughes (14); 2nd, Dan Sykes (0); 3rd, Luke Oliver (20); 4th, Ryan Hughes (20); 5th, Harry Wilson (28).
Group C: 1st, Jamie Wilson (0); 2nd, Bowen Zhu (20); 3rd, Oliver Sykes (20); 4th, Blake Mitchell (28).
Three-way ties in Group A and Group C were settled by a three-red round-robin play-off using a third of the handicaps.
Quarter-finals: Rice 2 Oliver 0, Pringle 2 S Hughes 1, J Wilson 2 D Sykes 0, Benzey 2 Zhu 1.
Semi-finals: Rice 2 Pringle 0, Benzey 2 J Wilson 0.
Final: Rice 2 Benzey 0, frame scores: 92-59, 69-33.
Referee: S Hughes.
First round: R Hughes 2 H Wilson 0, Line 2 L Wilson 0, O Sykes 2 Mitchell 0.
Three-way final, agg pts: Line 105, R Hughes 86, O Sykes 64.
BREAKS Anthony Rice: 38, 32, 30.
Jamie Wilson: 34, 27, 26.
Ryan Hughes: 23(PB).
Connor Benzey: 21.
Report and picture by Tim Dunkley.