Updated: MARK JOYCE overcame the mental scars of being attacked to cause the biggest shock of York’s williamhill.com UK Snooker Championship – dumping out defending champion Judd Trump.
The Walsall potter came from 5-2 behind to win a final frame shoot-out with world number one Trump, ranked 49 places higher than his conqueror.
Ironically, Joyce dispatched Trump on a run to the UK quarter-finals two years ago, but what happened afterwards left him on a long road to recovery.
“Just after the UK I got attacked and had a fractured elbow and eye socket which ruined the rest of that season,” he said.
“I think physically it cost me four months but, probably mentally, it cost me a lot longer and I think I can count on one hand how many matches I won in 2011.
“My ranking at 50-odd is, in my mind, a false ranking. I think I’m a better player than that.
“I’ve got to go out and get the results to prove it.”
The shock defeat of Trump, who was cut to 1-100 to win during play by the tournament sponsors, hardly looked likely until the later stages.
Last year’s UK king was seemingly in command at 3-0 and then 5-2 despite lacking the fluency and attacking flair which has catapulted him to the top of the game.
But Joyce chipped away at Trump and, despite recording a highest break in the match of only 57, prevailed in a tense decider to take a famous 6-5 victory.
Trump had the first go in that final frame but missed a yellow to a middle pocket on 37 and, after the pair traded safety blows, Joyce held his nerve to compile a 49 break that got him over the line and set up a second round match with Ali Carter.
“Nothing seemed to go right,” said Trump. “I didn’t play well. I felt like I was going to play well but then he dragged me down at the start and I couldn’t get out of it.
“As soon as he started missing it just affected me and I couldn’t get in the balls. He was getting nudges and, in the last frame, I thought the yellow was straight in the middle but it seemed to roll off.
“It is hard for someone to play well when the other person isn’t playing that well. I did well to go 5-2 in front but I didn’t really have any clear-cut chances. My long potting was awful and I think that is what let me down.
“My safety wasn’t great but I was just struggling, with my tip, with everything. Fair play to Mark, he had to come from 5-2 behind. There’s a lot of pressure in the last frame and he hasn’t been there that often.”
Trump added: “He played all right the last four frames but he will have to raise his game a lot to even get close to Ali Carter. I should never play that badly. You won’t ever see another number one playing as badly as that.”
Joyce, who described each shot in the final frame as like giving “a pint of blood”, also felt he struggled but said it was the “result that counts”.
“I lost a match in the German Masters a couple of days ago from 3-0 and 4-2 up so I knew it was possible to come back and win,” he added. “It’s probably the hardest game in the world when you are under pressure. Anything is missable and I am still shaking now.
“When Judd played first and got 30-odd I was fearing the worst but I managed to get back into the frame.”