Norman Wale champion Scott Bradford became the latest player to fail in a successful defence of a title never won back-to-back by losing 2-0 to Martyn Desperques, who himself has not won it since 2005.
Bradford was on course to take the first frame when leading by 28 points, but a 41 clearance from Desperques knocked the stuffing out of the champion.
On the adjacent table, Darren Hughes became the first seeded player to be knocked out of the Island Snooker Championship.
The eighth seed and recent Shootout winner endured a miserable start to the year by losing 3-0 to Jamie Le Cheminant, who looks to be a player to keep an eye on in 2021.
Le Cheminant finished the first half of the season strongly with his highest competitive break and won each of the three frames by over 25 points.
Dave Bullock gained revenge for his quarter-final defeat to Miles Plumley last season to come back from 2-1 down to progress to the last 16 of the Island Championship.
Bullock took the opener on the black and had a break of 49 to set up a clash with Roscoe Cloarec, who himself was given a mighty scare by Division Three player Ashley Perriam.
It was a similar story for Cloarec, who won the opener and then lost the next two, but he comprehensively won the decider 76-1.
Two other matches went the full five-frame distance, with Graham Peel finally shaking off Clayton Le Noury 74-21 having led twice.
It was an identical situation for Steve Le Poidevin as well, eventually beating Colin Gilbert 73-33 in their decider.
Adrian Holley needed to be in good touch to get the better of debutant Shane Le Poidevin, who won the third frame against the Premier player. Holley won the opener with a 36 and completed a 3-1 victory with final frame breaks of 41 and 50.
Adam Shorto progressed in the second of three knockout encounters he has had with Ian Le Maitre.
Having already beaten him in the Team Straight, Shorto comfortably won their Island Championship meeting 3-0, with an opening 43 clearance coming a day ahead of the Team Handicap.
This time, Shorto started with a 90 clearance as the Sledgehammers again proved too strong for last year’s finalists IMR Casuals.
Mick Murphy’s win meant the Division Two side was level at half-way, but Glenn Le Prevost and Danny Marquand (55 break) won the last four frames.
That sets up a top-of-the-table clash with La Villette Hotel Gremlins in the quarter-final of the Team Handicap after Desperques’ win proved to be the difference in defeating NSC Scrappers 5-3.
In a close second half, Seb Priaulx confirmed the win on the black 87-81 against Mark Loveridge.
North Legionnaires are also through to the last eight of the Team Handicap, but they needed an extra-frame decider to beat DWA Rebels.
All four games were drawn between the eight players, with Antony Makepeace and Russ Wakeford taking the last two regulation frames after Phil Cox had made a 44 against the former.
Tom Brock stayed on the table for the extra frame and clinched the match against Ian Eggo with a decisive 35.
Brock also combined with opponent Wakeford in the pairs handicap competition, but they were ultimately undone by Glenn Le Prevost’s second-frame 66.
With partner Shorto, the defending champions edged the first frame by 10 points, but Le Prevost’s brilliance sealed their last eight spot.
It is early days in the Island Billiards Championship, but there were close wins for Ian Le Maitre and Dave Bullock.
A pair of 30s defied Adrian Holley’s break of 47 to win 300-283, while Bullock beat Gavin Denning by 31 points.
In the billiards handicap, it was closer still as Nick Boldison-Smith took out former winner Carl Roussel 200-194, while Mark Jeffreys had a winning start in looking for a fourth consecutive title by beating Nigel Mahy by 26 points.