BASINGSTOKE’S phenomenal young snooker player Mickey Joyce has collected his first winner’s trophy on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour.
The historic 2-1 victory over Callum Browne in the final of the fifth leg came nearly six years after he made his Bronze Tour debut at the age of seven.
Browne, who won the corresponding tournament last year, broke the back of the opening frame at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth, with a run of 36.
Joyce wrapped up a low-scoring second on the brown and left his opponent from Trowbridge needing snookers with two reds left in the decider.
“It feels good to do it,” said the 13-year-old. “I had the momentum (in the third frame) and I knew I was going to win that.”
Reflecting on his 2-1 last-four success over rankings leader and English Under-18 Champion Mark Lloyd (Gosport), Joyce added: “It was a good win against Mark. We both didn’t play well and he didn’t deserve to lose.”
Joyce made his Cuestars debut six weeks before his eighth birthday. The Bell’s Decor-sponsored event in Bournemouth was his 40th ranking tournament.
He won the Bronze Tour championship play-off in 2013 and the Silver Tour rankings title the following year. The furthest he had previously got on the Gold Tour was the semi-finals in Coulsdon last month.
Two years ago this month, at the age of 11, Joyce knocked in his highest Cuestars break of 73 in his third Gold Tour event in Woking.
The teenager thanked his sponsors, The Academy in Basingstoke and Surrey-based Falcon Pools, and his mum Mel and dad Eamon for their support over the years.
Anthony Rice (Fordingbridge) recorded the day’s highest break of 73 in the group stages but dropped one place to third in the rankings. Lloyd leads Joyce by 16 points. Browne climbed to fourth and Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford) to fifth.
Home player Bradley Cowdroy moved up to sixth. The 14-year-old finished second in his round-robin group to Lloyd, edged Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford) 2-1 on the final black in the last-eight but went out 2-0 to Browne in the semi-finals.
The sixth leg of ten is at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant, on Sunday, February 5.
For more information about Poole-based decorating contractor Bell’s Decor, go to www.bellsdecor.co.uk.
Anthony Rice: 73, 54, 44.
Mark Lloyd: 63, 50, 41.
Callum Browne: 55.
Olly Gibbs: 54, 45.
Connor Benzey: 53.
Mickey Joyce: 51.
Bradley Cowdroy: 50.
Steven Hughes: 46.
Oliver Sykes: 40.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 6th, Arron Smith (Selsey RBL, Chichester).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Mark Lloyd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 2nd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Connor Benzey (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Callum Browne (Player’s, Westbury); 5th, Mike Trigg (Chandler’s Ford SC); 6th, Olly Gibbs (Chandler’s Ford SC).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Browne 2 Rice 1, Cowdroy 2 O Sykes 1, Joyce 2 Benzey 1, Lloyd 2 Hughes 0.
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Browne 2 Cowdroy 0, Joyce 2 Lloyd 1.
FINAL (£60/£30, 25/18 points): Joyce 2 Browne 1.
Pictures by Tim Dunkley
Have you got any snooker news?
Send me your snooker news now. It doesn’t have to be from a Cuestars tournament. E-mail me details or contact me via Facebook and you could be on the Cuestars website and in your local newspaper. E-mail: [email protected]
Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)