John Rice breaks South Wilts duck

BOTTOM-of-the-table John Rice (pictured) has broken his duck in the Cuestars South Wilts Snooker League.

But his opponent reckons “the quality of the match sunk to the depths of the Mariana Trench”.

Richard Arnold’s reference to the deepest part of the world’s oceans came after a 4-1 defeat at Salisbury Snooker Club.

Congratulating Rice (Fordingbridge) on his first win, Arnold said: “Well done to John, a first South Wilts League victory.

“(But) it was extremely low scoring and low quality. In essence though, John’s inconsistent consistency overcame my consistent inconsistency.”

Rice added: “Richard was unlucky but it was a relief to win my first match in the league.”

Meanwhile, ten-time champion John Hunter extended his lead at the top to seven points with three matches remaining.

The 50-year-old Andover cueman insisted “old bones take longer to get going” after recovering from losing the first frame of a 4-1 victory over Stuart Dreyer.

Steve Ashton retained fifth place despite suffering a brace of 3-2 defeats against Simon Peacock (Winterbourne Gunner) and David Rice (Fordingbridge).

Peacock said: “I was very pleased to win as I have struggled this year with lack of practice and Steve is a very tough opponent to beat.”

And Rice, who fought back from 2-0 down, declared: “The decider was the worst frame of snooker I have ever witnessed. We both squandered brilliant opportunities in the balls.”

Neil Herd’s title challenge faded further following a 5-0 whitewash by Anthony Rice, who compiled breaks of 41, 57 and 67.

Rice said: “I have to admit that I was extremely fortunate throughout (but) was cueing very nicely to go with it.

“Whenever I missed, I seemed to get away with it.”

Herd (Frome) admitted: “He played very well.”

Rice was beaten 3-2 by Gary Hart (Porton) in a rearranged game.

The 19-year-old said: “I have to give him credit for his outstanding long potting. He was without doubt the better player over the five frames.”

And Paul Burt (Britford) won the first three frames of a 3-2 victory over Neil Carroll (Rownhams).

“Neil did well to win the last two frames,” he said. “It was an enjoyable match.”

Results: Steve Ashton 2 David Rice 3, John Rice 4 Richard Arnold 1, Anthony Rice 2 Gary Hart 3, Steve Ashton 2 Simon Peacock 3, Paul Burt 3 Neil Carroll 2, John Hunter 4 Stuart Dreyer 1, Anthony Rice 5 Neil Herd 0, Gary Hart P David Rice P.

Highest break: John Hunter 89

P W L F A Pts
John Hunter 8 8 0 31 9 39
Anthony Rice 8 6 2 26 14 32
Neil Herd 8 5 3 25 15 30
Neil Carroll 8 4 4 23 17 27
Steve Ashton 8 4 4 22 18 26
David Rice 7 5 2 20 15 25
Simon Peacock 8 5 3 20 20 25
Paul Burt 8 4 4 20 20 24
Stuart Dreyer 8 2 6 15 25 17
Gary Hart 7 2 5 12 23 14
Richard Arnold 8 1 7 11 29 12
John Rice 8 1 7 10 30 11

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)

Picture by Anthony Rice.