SNOOKER: Lee looking to the future

This Is Wiltshire: Stephen Lee Stephen Lee

TROWBRIDGE snooker star Stephen Lee is determined to press ahead with his revitalised career after the shadow of match-fixing allegations against him was lifted this week.

Lee, 37, learned he will not face criminal proceedings over the allegations made in 2010, for which he was arrested by West Midlands Police as part of an investigation into suspicious betting patterns.

The inquiry was conducted jointly by the police and the Gambling Commission but a World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) statement this week confirmed that no charges were being brought against the Wiltshire man.

Lee, who was only made aware of the announcement by the sport’s governing body while in Hong Kong while on his way home after a series of tournaments in China on Tuesday, told the Wiltshire Times he would be taking legal advice over his options in the wake of the announcement.

But having seen his career head on a significant upwards curve in the last 12 months – he was ranked sixth in the latest world standings – the Trowbridge player is focussing on making the headlines with his fine form on the baize.

“It’s been great news and I’d just like to say it’s been a tough couple of years,’’ he said.

“Back then, I was in a bad place. I’m glad rather than relieved because I hadn’t done anything. It’s all happened a bit quickly (this week), but I’ve had good support from people and I’m looking forward now.’’

Lee was the form player in the latter half of last season, winning his first ranking title in six years when he clinched the PTC Grand Finals in Ireland in March.

And he added another prize to his collection last week when he won the second Asian Players Tour Championship event in China, briefly returning home on Wednesday before he jetted out to the Gdynia Open title in Poland, where he was facing world number 26 Andrew Higginson in today’s first round.

He added: “Sport is about how strong your mind is – if you are feeling good mentally you can do well.

“It was nice to win in China – it makes a long trip worthwhile.

“I’m feeling OK and enjoying it.’’

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