The final of the Masters qualifying tournament is between Judd Trump and Mark Joyce.

Most snooker fans know all about Trump by now but what of Joyce?

He hones his talent at the Masters Snooker Club in Walsall, the former practice base of ex-top 16 stars Martin Clark and Alain Robidoux.

Joyce attended a grammar school, which is itself unusual for players of a sport not renowned for their academic application (indeed it used to be said that prowess at snooker was the sign of a misspent youth).

He first rose to prominence when he won the European under 19 title in 2001 at the age of 17.

In 2006, Joyce won the English Amateur Championship, the oldest title in snooker, and after a good run on the PIOS was promoted to the professional ranks.

In his first season he managed to stay on, which is about as much as a rookie can hope for. He had been helped by Robin Hull’s withdrawal from the World Championship, which gave Joyce a walkover into the last 64 and, of course, a lot of ranking points.

Last season, he secured a television debut against Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Royal London Watches Grand Prix. He lost 4-0 but the ranking points helped him improve from 73rd to 59th in the standings.

He also lives about a mile from me. The West Midlands has long been a snooker hotbed and it’s good to have another player from the region doing well after Clark (from Sedgley) and Steve James (Cannock), both of whom are long since retired.


Wolfgang said...

If I get it right, Joyce was the only player in the last season who took part in all events and didn't loose a single first round match. And in the current season he hasn't lost one either. So he seems to be quite consistent even if it's on a rather low level.

kimball said...

But this time, consistent enough to fell two grand Welsh dragons.

If he loses today, will he get the wildcard?
If the other way around, no doubt Judd Trump will get the wildcard.