MICKEY Joyce has partially satisfied his new-found hunger for snooker by winning his first tournament for 20 months.
The 15-year-old from Basingstoke pocketed £100 prize money after edging a close-run final on the Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour in south London.
Joyce beat fellow England international Jamie Wilson 2-1 on the final black after trailing by 27 points with one red left in the decider at Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon.
He insisted that being one shot away from defeat didn’t bother him.
“I see it as a challenge,” he said. “And I like a challenge.”
Joyce, who is based at The Academy in his home town, has still been competing on the national junior circuit but had lost the craving to practise.
“I really want to get back into it now,” he explained.
“I’ve been practising with (professional) Billy Castle and that’s really, really helped me. My shot choices have improved a bit.”
And he thanked his mum and dad – Mel and Eamon – for taking him to all the tournaments.
It was a landmark day for Wilson that ended an eight-year wait. The 15-year-old talent from Havant had reached the final of a Cuestars event for the first time in 66 attempts.
Joyce knocked out rankings leader Bradley Cowdroy (Bournemouth) 2-1 in the last-four.
In the second semi, Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford) went down 2-1 to Wilson.
Only four breaks of more than 40 were recorded by the 13 players on the club’s professional standard Star tables in the fourth leg sponsored by Frames Sports Bar and Mr Gold.
Connor Benzey (Eastleigh) compiled the highest of 83 in his first group-stage match against home player Ronnie Sullivan.
“It was tough,” admitted Joyce. “The tables are just completely different. You have to play a different game and not go for too many shots.”
Cowdroy leads Wilson by 23 points at the top of the rankings. Oliver Sykes is three points further back in third and two ahead of his Chandlers Ford clubmate Benzey.
Chandlers Ford Snooker Club hosts the fifth leg of ten on Sunday, January 6.
For more information about the event sponsors, visit www.framessportsbar.co.uk and contact Mr Gold via [email protected] or ring 07930 355677.
Connor Benzey: 83.
Steven Hughes: 57.
Mickey Joyce: 54.
Bradley Cowdroy: 46.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Marcos Dayao (London); 2nd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant); 4th, Evan Plummer (Frames, Coulsdon).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Mickey Joyce (Academy, Basingstoke); 2nd, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Riccardo Drayton (Chandlers Ford SC).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon); 5th, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): S Hughes 2-1 Dayao, Cowdroy 2-0 Benzey, Wilson 2-1 Sykes, Joyce 2-0 Weston.
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Wilson 2-1 S Hughes, Joyce 2-1 Cowdroy.
FINAL (£100/£25, 25/18 points): Joyce 2-1 Wilson.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)