ANDOVER cueman John Hunter begins the new year top of the Cuestars South Wilts Snooker League after a win over Anthony Rice.

The ten-time and defending champion finished 2016 as league leader after dispatching Rice (Fordingbridge) 4-1. A run of 60 gave Rice the fifth frame.

Rice, who was responsible for Hunter’s only defeat last season, said: “I was expecting a tough match, knowing John would want revenge for last year. The reality was we were both terrible.

“I’m sure John won’t be happy but, at the end of the day, it’s the result that matters.”

Meanwhile Richard Arnold reckons his 5-0 defeat by Steve Ashton was a “tragedy to rival Hamlet”.

The 53-year-old insisted he was “playing dreadfully” and “managed to drag Steve into the abyss” at Salisbury Snooker Club.

Ashton cruised through the fifth frame with runs of 30 and a 42 clearance after the previous four were decided on the last couple of colours. Meanwhile, Neil Herd threatened to pack his cue away until January after relinquishing top spot following a 3-2 defeat by Simon Peacock.

The Tornado from Winterbourne Gunner secured the win bonus from 2-1 down with breaks of 44 and 48. Herd (Frome) said: “No disrespect to Simon as he played OK. But that was the worst I’ve played all season. I’ll be happy to put my cue down till next year.”

David Rice chalked up a 34 in a 4-1 victory over his dad John and Neil Carroll (Rownhams) had a 50 in his 4-1 win against Gary Hart.

A 5-0 whitewash against Hart (Porton) gave Paul Burt (Britford) his first win of the season.

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