Joy for Joyce – Pink Ribbon Champion 2011

Congratulations to Mark Joyce who has tonight defeated Michael Holt 4-0 to become the 2011 Pink Ribbon champion, rounding off an excellent weekend for the Walsall professional…

It has been an enjoyable tournament for all here in Gloucester and for a while it looked as though it would be Michael Holt who would complete a successful defence of the title that he won here 12 months ago. It was not to be however as his final opponent, world number 42 Mark Joyce scored heavily as he had done all day and completed a 4-0 victory in little over 90 minutes on the main table here at the South West Snooker Academy.

The first chance of the match fell to the defending champion but a missed blue to the right-centre after the initial red handed the chance to Mark and he duly took advantage with a clinical break of 82 to lead 1-0. Frame two was to be similar, though both had a few chances to get some points on the board. The Hitman however could not take his chances and Joyce eventually took it with a run of 64.

By this stage Michael was beginning to lose his way and Mark soon added the third frame before leaving Michael needing three snookers in the fourth to stand on the brink of the title. Michael to his credit gave it a go and got one snooker back but eventually Mark was able to drill in the red and follow it with the black to complete victory.

It was a deserved win and having had a good chat to Mark about all things snooker and tennis during the half an hour or so leading up to the final, I was pleased to see him come through and demonstrate what a good player he is. I watched him during his semi-final match against Michael White who make no mistake is a very talented player himself and the key frame there proved to be the third as he cleared to the pink with a break of 84 to lead 2-1. As he told me himself, from there he played solid snooker to take the next two and book his spot in the final.

Having already defeated Stephen Maguire and John Higgins earlier in the day as well as Jimmy White in the previous round, nobody can say that Mark did not deserve it and it will be interesting to see if he can take that form into the upcoming PTC events as he looks to move up the rankings this season.

Elsewhere today, though he could not win, Michael put up a great defence of his title and his semi-final victory against Jimmy Robertson from 2-1 and 3-2 down will have been particularly sweet with his father there on the arena floor to watch him. He will also be looking better results this season during the ranking events with his top 48 place on the line.

It was the end of the road for blog favourite Ben Harrison earlier in the morning as he lost an agonising match with the improving Sam Harvey at the last 16 stage. Coming down to a decider it was Ben who had the first chance, only to knock in a red when attempting to split the black from potting the black early in the break. From there Sam to his credit made a good 50 break and from there was able to see out the win.

Michael White was another to impress, particularly as he saw off Syd Wilson early on before ending Martin Gould’s run later in the day.

All in all though it has been a thoroughly enjoyable tournament at an excellent venue where the likes of myself, Roland from Snooker Island, Stephen from Maximum Snooker, Monique Limbos and the other members of the blog/web community were made to feel really welcome. Building on the friendships struck up at the Crucible and other events during the past few months, there is an increasing togetherness among us and hopefully that will benefit you, the readers of all of these different sites.

The event may not be the most high profile but it is fun and good to see a mix of different players competing, be it junior, amateur or professional. Hopefully over the coming seasons it will continue to grow and I would certainly recommend that any snooker fan pops by next year if possible.

Next stop – the PTC!