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No Joyce for Champ Trump

Mark Joyce caused the shock result of the season so far as he beat an out-of-sorts Judd Trump 6-5 in the first round of the UK Championship in York.

What made the victory even more incredible was that world no.50 Joyce had to win the last four frames, coming from 5-2 down to the defending champion to eventually prevail in a nervy decider.

Trump was seemingly coasting into the last 16 when he took a 3-0 lead with the aid of a 104 century break and with his opponent missing an undesirable selection of easy pots –  including two blacks off the spot.

It looked like a whitewash was on the cards and even though Joyce shared the next four frames it never appeared likely that he was ever going to mount a serious challenge or, more importantly, that Trump was going to wilt under the pressure.

The 23 year-old’s game was a far cry from that which saw him win the International Championship and Bulgarian Open trophies as well as reaching finals in Shanghai, Gloucester and Grimsby in the last couple of months – all of which earning him the status as the world’s best ranked player for the first time in his career.

Sometimes, though, these things happen during hot streaks and in such an action-packed campaign it is unreasonable to expect a player to dominate consistently over a concerted period.

That such a poor performance from Trump came at this moment, in his defence of the second biggest major, did inevitably leave a sour taste.

For Joyce it marks a remarkable triumph for a player who has largely been in the doldrums during his professional career.

A former winner of the English Amateur Championship, the 29 year-old has never truly expressed his potential on the Main Tour, but does have fond memories of this tournament having reached the quarter-finals in only previous appearance in 2010, where, funnily enough, he beat Trump in the last 16 after victory over Ali Carter.

This time it is the other way around as Joyce is up against Carter in the second round following his success over Trump and it will be interesting to see if he can raise his game further to outplay the World Championship runner-up.

Carter eased past a poor Steve Davis 6-2, boasting more prowess in practically all the major departments.

Meanwhile, it was a bad day at the office for both of last year’s finalists as the touted rematch between Trump and Mark Allen died on a whimper.

Allen was nowhere near his best against an in-form Marco Fu, losing 6-3 to the Hong Kong native, who himself enjoyed consecutive centuries en-route.

Elsewhere on the second day, form-horse Stuart Bingham overcame a meagre effort from Jack Lisowski to book an intriguing meeting with Stephen Maguire in the second round.

21 year-old Lisowski continues to fail to impress at the venue stages of tournaments he manages to qualify for  but it is only a matter of time before his true talent shines through  and as for Bingham, he looks as steady as a rock of late – clearly buoyed by his Premier League triumph as well.

Fellow Englishman Mark Davis hammered another up-and-coming youngster in the shape of China’s Cao Yupeng, who afterwards complained of problems with his vision during the contest.

Finally, Shaun Murphy shook off a gritty challenge from Robert Milkins to eventually prevail 6-3 with the former champion hoping to add more silverware to a trophy cabinet that some argue is relatively bare for a player of his capability.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.