FORDINGBRIDGE cue man Anthony Rice was in a philosophical mood after claiming his third winner’s trophy on a regional junior snooker circuit.
The 20-year-old insisted being in a “relaxed” state of mind helped him clinch a tight final on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour.
Rice pocketed £70 prize money after edging Steven Hughes 2-1 on the pink in the Attic Life-sponsored second leg at Salisbury Snooker Club.
“It was nice to get a result,” he said. “But Steven put me under pressure.
“If you’ve got your head in a good place and you’re relaxed in life in general, the game’s much easier. I’m happy. I’m in a good place.
“If you’re not happy in life and you’ve got other things on your mind, snooker’s one of the worst sports you can play.
“I didn’t play brilliantly but I was calm and never really lost my head.”
And he added: “The standard on the Gold Tour is good. Anyone can beat anyone. There’s no easy games.”
Rice, who now jointly leads the rankings with Bournemouth’s Bradley Cowdroy, is in his fourth and final season on the Cuestars circuit.
Earlier this year, he qualified for the EASB Premier Junior Tour for the country’s top-32 players aged under 21.
Chandler’s Ford-based Hughes, sponsored by Quickdraw Supplies, had knocked out leg-one winner Cowdroy 2-0 in the last-four.
Rice recorded the day’s highest break of 56 in a 2-0 semi-final victory over third-placed Aidan Murphy (Bristol), who had made a 55 in the group stages. Hughes is fourth.
The third leg of ten is at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, October 29.
For more information about loft conversion specialists Attic Life, which also sponsored professional Billy Castle in last week’s European Masters in Belgium, visit www.atticlife.co.uk.
Anthony Rice: 56.
Aidan Murphy: 55.
Jamie Wilson: 43.
Bradley Cowdroy: 40.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Adam Stacey (Legends, Leytonstone); 2nd, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Mickey Joyce (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Charlie Pringle (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Dan Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Aidan Murphy (Fishponds Cons Club, Bristol); 4th, Callum Browne (Player’s, Westbury); 5th, Evan Plummer (Frames, Coulsdon).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 2nd, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Murphy 2-1 Stacey, Rice 2-0 Joyce, Cowdroy 2-1 Wilson, S Hughes 2-1 R Hughes.
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): S Hughes 2-0 Cowdroy, Rice 2-0 Murphy.
FINAL (£70/£35, 25/18 points): Rice 2-1 S Hughes.
Pictures by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)