World Ranking: 8
Order of Merit: 7
|2022/23 SMPT season record
The 6-time SMPT singles Champion makes our shortlist, once again, with another very solid season.
Joe played in just four of the six ranking events this season which started with the UK Open back in August. five wins in group 6 included two impressive victories over former SMPT Champions, Jack Pye of England & Benny Sjögren of Sweden. Two further wins saw Joe progress to Last 16 of the Cup knockout where he was narrowly defeated 10-9 by Irish team mate Gary McNabb.
Back on home turf and to Belfast for the Irish Open. Another impressive run in the group saw Joe pick up a maximum twelve points. Joe would continue his imperious form in the Cup knockout, with notable victories against Jamie Morrow and 2018 Champion, Raymond Stubbs. At the Quarter Final stage, Joe dispatched Welsh star Arwel Morgan before squeezing home 9-8 against the ever dependable Ian Hobson. This set up a Final meeting with Alan Paul, regarded by many as the World’s top player. This was the pairs’ second meeting in SMPT events and Joe was after revenge following a 9-4 loss to Alan in this events’ Final 5 years previously. Joe duly delivered, and secured his first Irish Open & 6th SMPT singles title by winning 7-5.
At Joe’s third event of the season, the Norwegian Open in Skien, it was business as usual with top spot in group 3 and five wins from five, including victories over two tricky opponents, Ingvar Nelson of Sweden and Irishman, Glenn Harvey. In the Cup knockout, Joe breezed through to the Quarter Finals where his run was ended by the inspired performance of Sweden’s Tommy Dahlgren, who went on to obtain the Silver medal.
Our mid-season break from singles saw Joe back playing in the World Pairs & Fours Masters at Chelmsford. In Saturday’s Fours, Joe teamed up with wife Pauline as well as Gary Moore and Cecil Dillon. Four wins from four saw the quartet top group 6 and ensured passage into the main Cup knockout. Quarter final and Semi-final wins over two top English teams skipped by Sam Harvey & Ben Pay respectively, led the team to a final meeting with the scratch team of James Trott, Dick Almen, Eroll Morina & John Lax. A very exciting final led to an 8-8 finish and it was the mixed team skipped by Trott that prevailed in the best of three end tie-break.
In Sunday’s Pairs event, Joe & Pauline managed three wins from three in the group, including a 11-6 win over eventual Champions Ben Pay & Stephen Buckett. In the knockouts, two convincing wins saw them progress to the Quarter Finals, where they were beaten by Alex Kley & Sam Harvey, 12-1.
Joe’s final singles event of the season came in the New Year with an appearance at the British Open in York. In Group 17, Joe suffered a rare defeat, this time to top Irish player, Bronagh Toleman. Four wins, however, was enough to see Joe top the group from Bronagh & Dan Winmill on shot difference. An impressive 14-2 win over England’s James Trott in the Last 64, was followed by two more wins and another Quarter Final appearance. He would be up against defending champion, Gary McNabb again! Another good match again between these two saw Gary come out on top once more, this time by 12 shots to 6.
Despite only playing in four events, Joe’s consistent performances ensured he has made the Irish team for the 2023 World Cup and again, secured yet another SMPT title along the way.
Joe did make an appearance at the Belfast Open Pairs in April, this time teaming up with Gary Moore. They progressed from group 27 with two wins from two and then made it through to the Last 16 where they lost out to our very own Craig Burgess and Mitchell Young.
The Short Mat Players Tour’s (SMPT) selection of short-listed players is final. Voting is open to all players who have a SMPT Player Profile on our website.
Players who have previously played in a SMPT event but do not have a Player Profile can register for one by emailing email@example.com – any player wanting a profile should send their email from the email address that is to be used for their profile, confirming the name of the last SMPT event they entered. Once a Player Profile has been set up, the player is eligible to vote.
Players may vote only once, through one registered profile under their name. Simply login to your Player Profile and register your top three choices in order of preference.
All votes must be received by the SMPT in the required format before 8pm on Sunday 2nd July 2023. The winner will be announced on our website on Tuesday 4th July 2023