BILLY Joe Castle has only got one thing on his Christmas list this year – a brand new snooker cue.

The Marchwood potter slipped to a 4-2 defeat in the first round of the Scottish Open against Andy Hicks as his frustrating start to the season continued in Milton Keynes.

Castle, the world No.100, is yet to win a match this term but reckons a change of equipment over the festive period can fire him to victory in 2021.

“I’m hopefully getting a new cue within a week or two which should help me out because I’m struggling,” the 28-year-old said.

“My tip’s too small for the conditions that we’re playing on. It’s come to the time where I need to change my cue.

“I’ll get a new one over the Christmas period, have a good Christmas with the family and get back to work in the new year and up and running.

“It was another tough one and [Andy’s] a player bang in form. I came out of the traps pretty quick trying to put some early pressure on, but he came back with some strong form of his own. It was a close match.

“I’m putting a lot of hard work in again and am feeling really good in myself. I just can’t get the results to go my way yet.”

Castle got off to a flyer under the Marshall Arena lights as a first frame break of 90 handed him an early advantage.

Hicks then levelled with a 76 of his own and while Castle pinched the third to go back in front, the world No.85 motored away to get over the line.

Castle has slipped to a string of premature defeats at ranking events but will now take a break from the baize before heading into the new year.

He won eight matches on tour last season and reckons similar runs deep at ranking events are just around the corner.

Castle, who lost 6-3 against Hossein Vafaei in the first round of the UK Championship, added: “I’m more than confident.

“My game’s coming in good nick now, I’ll work hard all through Christmas, get ready for the new series after Christmas and put in 110 per cent.

“I feel really good again – at the UK [Championship] and the Scottish I’ve played two really good matches and just come up against players who are in form as well.

“On the day, it’s just all about little moments here and there and they weren’t for me, they were for Andy.”

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