ANTHONY Rice dropped down to third place by one frame in the Cuestars South Wilts Snooker League after a “rather strange” match.
The 21-year-old title contender from Fordingbridge took a 3-0 lead in his encounter with Callum McDonald at Salisbury Snooker Club.
But his opponent from Bishopdown won the next two frames.
Rice said: “It was rather strange match.
“I was very lucky that Callum didn’t find his rhythm until the fourth otherwise it could have been a completely different result.”
Meanwhile, Lee Stagg’s cue action was praised by Eddie Mason.
Following a 5-0 defeat, 14-year-old Mason said: “He got off to a slow start when his break-off shot only went halfway back up the table. But when he got going, he didn’t miss much.
“I stood back and admired his cue action the whole way through the game.”
Stagg added: “Eddie potted a few nice long shots and played the game with great enthusiasm.”
Paul Burt compiled breaks of 30 and 35 to take a 3-1 lead against Antony Foxcroft, who played well to take the last frame.
Graham Wallace has won his first frame in the league.
The Fovant cueman lost 4-1 to David Rice but earned praise from his opponent.
Rice said: “He’s such a lovely bloke and it’s great to have a fresh face in the league.”
Steve Ashton “lost miserably” to second-placed Liam Tinne.
Tinne produced a 52 clearance in the opening frame and won 4-1. Ashton contributed a 33 to take the third.
And league leader Jake Stewart collected maximum points by overcoming Richard Arnold 5-0.
Stewart and Tinne remain the only undefeated players. They face each other on January 31.
The previous week, Stewart reached the quarter-finals on the Cuestars Championship Tour for the first time.
He won his five-man round-robin group on home tables, beat George Heatley (Walton-on-Thames) 2-0 in the last-16 and lost 3-1 to Ryan Mears (Aldershot), who went on to win the event.
Stagg made a 50 break in the group stages.
Results: Anthony Rice 3-2 Callum McDonald, Eddie Mason 0-5 Lee Stagg, Jake Stewart 5-0 Richard Arnold, Paul Burt 3-2 Antony Foxcroft, Steve Ashton 1-4 Liam Tinne, David Rice 4-1 Graham Wallace.
Highest break: Anthony Rice 127
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)