A TEN-year-old from Basingstoke is surely destined for greater things after setting a new record in Hampshire’s premier junior snooker league.
Mickey Joyce is the youngest ever champion in both age groups in the same season.
Remarkably, he had wrapped up the Eastleigh & District Under-18 League title with a week to spare and took a one-point lead over Portsmouth’s Jamie Wilson into the final week of the Under-13 campaign.
The pair met in the first match at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club. Joyce won a tense battle and then sealed top spot by accounting for Connor Benzey, the 11-year-old son of the 2001 Southampton Town Champion Mark Benzey.
“I can’t believe it,” he declared. “It was really good. (Jamie) played well but when he made a mistake I countered.”
Two-time champions Wilson, nine, and 12-year-old Luke Beebe (Eastleigh) finished second and third respectively.
Joyce, a Year 6 pupil at Winklebury Junior School, compiled his highest break of 43 during the Under-18 season and finished six points clear of Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford). Austen Petty (Boyatt Wood) was third.
Only Shane Castle, who claimed his first title seven weeks before his tenth birthday in 2007, won it at a younger age.
Sponsored by Falcon Pools, Joyce insists he is not fazed by competing against lads up to seven years older.
“It doesn’t bother me because I just play my game,” shrugged the confident young potter.
And he added that “if I played well and did my preparation”, both titles were always a possibility.
The only other previous double champion was Olly Clark (Gosport), who won both leagues two weeks after his 13th birthday in 2012.
Joyce also competes on the EASB Regional Junior Tour and the Cuestars South of England Silver Tour.
LEAGUE 44 DIVISIONAL CHAMPIONS
U13: Mickey Joyce (Premier), Billy Naismith (Div 1), Toby Oliver (Div 2), Reece Allen (Div 3), Harvey Banger (Div 4).
U18: Mickey Joyce (Premier), Keiran Murray (Div 1), Harry Gibson (Div 2), Joshua Harajda (Div 3), Liam Thomson (Div 4).
Picture by Tim Dunkley. Mickey Joyce celebrates with other members of the Eastleigh & District Under-18 League.