Joe Perry felt more like Father Christmas than a snooker player after crashing out of the Betway UK Championship this afternoon (December 8).
The Wisbech-born potter lost the first five frames of the quarter-final contest to leave himself with a mountain to climb in the best-of-11 encounter in the York Barbican.
He managed to fight back, eventually losing 6-3 and, despite the early disaster, Perry was adamant that on another day things could have been very different.
“There were a few early Christmas presents for Mr Maguire,” he said.
“It was a match of missed opportunities really. I don’t know what happened, I didn’t feel nervous.
“You never give up because funny things happen on a snooker table.
“I got back to 5-3 and missed a long red where I didn’t expect to leave anything but the balls fell unkindly for me and he made a big break.
“If I’d have won that game who knows, but I’ll never give up.”
Perry shocked sixth seed Mark Allen as he made the last eight for the first time since 2008, looking to repeat his semi-final appearances from 2004 and 2005.
But despite his long run in York, Perry felt he wasn’t at full tilt at any stage in the competition.
“I’ve always said from the off, my game’s not 100 per cent there,” he said.
“Every now and then it is but when you’re playing great, every game is a good, solid performance.
“Stephen has played much better than that against me before, but he took his chances better than I did and that’s all you have to do.”
Watch LIVE coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.