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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Edmund Christopher Joyce
  • Born 22 September 1978, Dublin
  • Educated Presentation College Bray, Co Wicklow; Dublin University
  • Occupation Professional Cricketer
  • Debut 22 July 1997 v Scotland at West Bromwich, Dartmouth CC, Birmingham
  • Cap Number 608
  • Style Left hand batsman, right arm medium pace, occasional wicket keeper
  • Teams Merrion, Dublin University, Bermondsey, Middlesex, Sussex, England (ODI T20)

Ed Joyce was an outstanding left hand batsman, at home either opening the innings or elsewhere in the upper order. In their "Ireland's 100 Cricket Greats", Gerard Siggins and James Fitzgerald describe him as, "Arguably the finest batsman this country has ever produced and certainly the best of his generation." Few would quarrel with this comment which is supported by his fine record in county cricket. He passed a thousand runs in seven successive seasons being describes by the magazine All Out Cricket as "the best county cricketer never to play a test Match." He had the ability to score quickly against all types of bowling, which made him a very valuable limited overs player and excelled in the cover drives though he had all the shots when set. A good fieldsman anywhere, he was a capable reserve wicket keeper when the need arose, but his bowling, an attribute in his early years, was little seen as his career progressed.

Ireland is, of course, famous for its cricket families. Few, however have quite the range of achievement of the Joyces. His brothers Gus and Dom have both played for Ireland, Dom with some success while Gus would have probably played many more times had he not suffered injuries. Twin sisters Isobel and Cecilia are also international cricketers having been mainstays of the Ireland Women side since their teens, Isobel having led the side on a record 62 occasions.

Their father Jimmy was President of Cricket Ireland for a part of 2013, while mother Maureen has been scorer for Ireland Women and other leading teams. Another sibling Damien, regarded by Jimmy as perhaps the most talented of the lot, has played with distinction for Merrion and Oak Hill as well as the Ireland Development XI. Finally Dom and Isobel set a record for Irish - and possibly any other country's men's senior cricket- by appearing as captains in a Merrion v Dublin University Leinster League match in 2017, the first case of a brother and sister having done so.

Ed was a prominent cricketer at school and youth level, soon establishing himself as the best player in his talented family In 1993 he played, without much success in the U15 International v Wales making a first innings 18 in a closely fought contest that ended in a tie. He was more successful in the U15 Interprovincials that season, though the weather prevented him and several other rising stars from exhibiting their full wares. However he made 57 against the NCU side at Strabane, clearly showing his class on an appropriate stage. The following summer he shone on the international scene with a highly praised 75 for the U15s against Wales in College Park. Unfortunately only Ed and the captain Shane Moore (41) could match the setting against medium pacer - and future Wales Minor Counties player - Gary Armstrong. However the Welsh also struggled against hat trick taker Jonathan Harte, eventually just holding out for a draw.

The following month Ireland faced England U15s at Bradford Park Avenue. Against a side containing several players who were to go on to first class success Ed made 17 and 0, becoming - in the first innings - by no means the last left hander to fall to the off spin of Graeme Swann!

The 1995 season saw him in fine form in a five team U16 tournament in west Wales. Ireland won three and lost one of their four games with Ed's one failure coinciding with the solitary defeat. Twice making 67 he, as the Irish Cricket Annual commented, "showed his undoubted potential." That year he also appeared in the Leinster Schools side in the Oxford Festival. In a narrow defeat at the hands of Glamorgan, he easily topscored, making an aggressive 61 before being stumped off current Glamorgan left armer Dean Cosker.

He was seen at his best in the 1996 Schools International against Wales, though he had several other noteworthy representative innings that year also. Against Wales at Pontardduluais he began with "a cavalier 35" before a collapse saw Ireland dismissed for 159. However they gained a lead of 40 thanks to Dwayne McGerrigle and then "Joyce completely dominated the Irish innings to put his side in a strong position" ( Irish Cricket Annual ). He made 106 with 11 fours in 216 minutes before being caught off paceman Ben Morgan.

The following summer 1997 saw his full international debut but also some fine innings in other matches. He showed his ability in the Youth International Tournament in which Ireland finished second, thus qualifying for the 1998 U19 World Cup in South Africa. He saved his best innings for the must win match against Denmark. He came in at 37-1 and proceeded to make a brilliant 105 being last man out with the total at 247. In total control from the start, he batted for 165 minutes, faced 11 balls and hit 13 fours. The next highest score was 23! He did not let Ireland down in the World Cup either, his best score being an undefeated 67 against Bangladesh.

Ed was prominent in Merrion sides from an early age benefiting, as did his siblings, from the coaching of Gerry Duffy. The only regret that the denizens of Anglesea Road can have about his highly successful career on the county circuit, is that it had deprived them of seeing him scale the heights of Leinster cricket. He had shone for Merrion at a minor level since an early age, making a century on his first appearance for the 3rd XI in 1993 and then 53 to help win the Minor Cup Final in the same year.

Into the 1st XI in 1995 he hit 3 fifties with 83 against North County his highest. Together he and Gus missed elder brother Jonnie's wedding to play - successfully - in a cup match that summer. Hopefully, Jonnie, himself a Merrion player approved of their decision! In all in LCU competitive cricket for Merrion 1995 to 2000 Ed scored 1448 runs at 26.81 with one century an undefeated 102 against Phoenix in 1996 which set up a victory by 83 runs. Appropriately he was in form for what was to prove to be his final match for Merrion in Leinster competitions making 51* against Pembroke which helped defeat the Sydney Parade side by 93 runs. He also had a fine all round match in the Irish Senior Cup against Ardmore in 1997, making 105* and then taking 3-26.

Half his senior cricket in Ireland was, of course, played for Dublin University, for whom - in all 1st XI matches between 1998 and 2001 he scored over 800 runs with an average in the mid-40s. His highest score in League cricket came in his final season, when he made an undefeated 111 against YMCA at Claremont Road. The hosts batted first and posted a useful looking 230-6 off their 50 overs. Batting at 3 Ed was in superb form when the University replied. Nobody else made double figures except Conor Hoey who contributed 20 to a partnership of 68 for the 76h wicket. The weather interfered at 175-7 leaving the visitors victorious on a faster scoring rate. Ed also made a century that season against Queen's University, exactly 100. Brother Dom was to make 101* in the same fixture two years later.

Ed's eventual decision to join Middlesex - he had not been too keen after an initial trial - also meant that he was not much seen in interprovincial matches. However after a surprising debut for Leinster in May 1997 when he bowled first change and took 2-40 including Neil Carson, he produced some worthwhile batting performances. The two best came in 1999 when he made half centuries against the NCU and Munster. In the first match - a rain affected game reduced to 35 overs a side - he destroyed the NCU attack at Greenisland, racing to 83 before being caught off Neil Anderson. Facing a total of 213 the hosts could manage only 143-8 so lost by 70 runs.

Ed also hit a fine 53 against Munster setting up a 98 runs win. Ed's return to interprovincial cricket for Leinster Lightnings at first class and List A level has been all that his team's selectors and supporters could have wished for. His superb 156 from 209 balls with 23 fours and 3 sixes against the North West Warriors was a master class, truly bringing first class cricket to Magheramason. Even the match ruining rain at Belmont could not detract from his 116 in 117 minutes in the List A encounter with Northern Knights. He faced 124 balls, eight of which went for four and two for six.

In 1999 he made his first appearance for Middlesex and was a regular in the Second XI soon proving himself too good for this competition. He made 60 in his first innings against Sussex Seconds falling LBW to his current county captain Mike Yardy. Middlesex, incidentally, were led by "Gunner" Gould now an elite umpire. Another elite official of the future featured in Ed's next match, Richard Kettleborough who made a massive 294 against Warwickshire Seconds adding 133 for the 3rd wicket with Ed who hit 54. In the last match of the 1999 season Ed made a superb 150 against Lancashire putting on 150 for the 2nd wicket with Ben Hutton.

Ed's next match was midway through the 2000 season, the University term having finished. He hit another century (128 run out) against Essex and soon followed this with 93 against Yorkshire. He could not be left out of the county side much longer. We may mention here that, over his years with Middlesex, he also made occasional appearances for Bemondsey in the Middlesex premier League. Team-mates in these matches included Nick Compton - with whom he added a second wicket 54 against Richmond at The Old Deer Park, better known for its Rugby associations and thus a suitable venue for Ed, once a promising scrum half.

For Middlesex in first class matches he scored 8278 runs at 46.76 with 19 hundreds and 48 fifties. His maiden first class century - 104* - came against Warwickshire at Lord's in 2001, a memorable innings as he became the first Irish born and bred player to score a Championship century. His highest score 211 also against Warwickshire came at Edgbaston in 2006. It was an especially satisfactory innings as it was his first since a serious injury in the field in an International T20 match at The Rose Bowl. He batted 472 minutes, hitting 22 fours from 349 balls. Coming in at 56-2, he was last out at 446, together with wicket keeper Dave Nash he put on 167 for the 6th wicket. The match was left drawn.

The previous season he had hit a remarkable 192 against Nottinghamshire at Lord's standing between Middlesex and collapse, the next highest score being current Times lead writer Ed Smith's 39. Ed Joyce batted 334 minutes and, facing 273 balls, hit 26 fours and 4 sixes. In 2004 he briefly captained Middlesex in the absence of Andrew Strauss on Test duty, the nominated vice-captain Owais Shah having not met with everybody's approval. However Ed was then injured and leadership passed to, and was retained by, Hutton.

In List A Matches for Middlesex Ed scored 3236 runs at 32.02 with 1 hundred and 22 fifties. His best match was against Glamorgan at Lord's in 2004 when his side was facing a Glamorgan total of 256 from 50 overs. Not too challenging perhaps, but the hosts were soon 23-3 with key men Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah back in the pavilion. Ed who had come in at 4 was then joined by Jamie Dalrymple, like Shah and Strauss an old 2nd XI colleague. They proceeded to take the score to 243 before Dalrymple (107) was out to Simon Jones who had come in from some rough treatment from both batsmen. Ed finished undefeated on 100 from 120 balls with 10 fours.

By the time of his retirement Ed had scored 7952 County Championship runs for Sussex at 49.75 with 21 hundreds (two of them doubles) and 38 fifties. His highest, 250, came away at Derby, early in may in his final season. The hosts were dismissed for 191 but Sussex had no such problems. Though he took 57 overs to reach 67, Ed then, "unleashed the full range of attacking strokes. He reached his double century with a six while hitting 24 off an over and finished with 24 fours and two sixes " (Wisden).

He put on 310 for the 3rd wicket with Luke Wells. In the end rain came to Derbyshire's aid. His other double century had come in a drawn match with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 2013. Coming in at 95-2 he faced 239 balls while batting for 317 minutes and hitting 24 fours and 3 sixes, the latter a being in one over from off spinner Samit Patel. Wisden described the innings as being both " carefree" and " magnificent." In the first of his three season as captain Ed was able to declare with the total past 500, but with James Taylor aldo making a fine double hundred, the hosts were able to save the match with ease."

In List A matches for Sussex he made 3094 runs at 47.60 with 8 hundreds and 9 fifties. His highest, 146, was made in his first season with the county against Gloucestershire in the Friends Provident Semi final at Hove. He was run out after facing 139 balls, having batted for 196 minutes and hitting 14 fours and 3 sixes. It was his third hundred of the tournament. "Only fatigue, " said Wisden, "prevented him from batting through." Sussex totalled 326-7 before dismissing their opponents for 292.

By the end of the 2012 season he had scored 2072 runs in List A matches for Sussex with 7 hundreds and 7 fifties at an average of 49.37. Three of his centuries came in the 2009 season when he scored 941 runs at 58.81 also hitting 3 fifties. His highest innings also came that season 146 in the Friends Provident Semi Final against Gloucestershire at Hove. It was a superb, Man of the Match winning, innings bringing him 13 fours and 3 sixes off 139 balls. According to Wisden "only fatigue prevented Joyce from batting through." Sussex totalled 326-7 before dismissing their opponents for 292.

His dual nation international career had begun in the first match of the 1997 Triple Crown Tournament against Scotland at West Bromwich Dartmouth CC in Birmingham. Aged 18, he came in at 4 as Ireland chased a Scottish total of 218-6. Ed batted for 114 minutes and faced 100 balls from which he hit 7 fours before being run out for 60, having been sent back by Derek Heasley, attempting a second run. He had shared in the largest stand of the innings 57 with Justin Benson for the 4th wicket, but his dismissal saw Ireland stumble to a 19 runs defeat. He had, however, according to Derek Scott, "played carefully and stylishly from the start."

He hit two further fifties that season and became a valued and established member of the side. Among his other notable performances in his early years in the team was a fine 73 in the Nat West Trophy against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. The county had posted 302-5 thanks to a Nick Knight century but with Ed in confident mood, well supported by Kyle McCallan and Heasley, Ireland reached 182-2. However after Ed's dismissal, stumped by Keith Piper while trying to square cut a Neil Smith leg break, the end soon came. Wisden praised "the 19 year old Ed Joyce" and Middlesex were not the only county to show an interest.

He was also one of the few Irish players to distinguish himself in the ICC Trophy in Toronto in 2001, a competition best forgotten in the annals of Irish Cricket. Thereafter his county commitments meant that he disappeared from the Irish side for four years during which time, he became increasingly talked of as an England player. However after the late John Wright had secured Ireland as the base for the 2005 ICC Trophy and Middlesex had agreed to his release, eventually for all but one match, he returned to the colours and what a return it was!

Of course Ireland's success in reaching the Final, only to be defeated by the "auld enemy" and the resultant qualification for the World Cup of 2007 was a team effort and there were a number of other fine performances, but Ed stood out as the Player of the Tournament, scoring 399 runs at 99.75 with 2 hundreds and 2 fifties. His one other innings produced 40 runs! In the opening match against Bermuda he set Ireland on the way to a formidable total making 128 off 92 balls with 10 fours and 2 sixes. Fast scoring though this was he played second fiddle for some time to the 19 year old Eoin Morgan who contributed a devastating 93 to a partnership of 170 for the 4th wicket.

However Ed's other century was, arguably, a finer and more important knock. Batting first at Stormont the UAE reached a score of 230 in 48.3 overs but soon had Ireland struggling at 23-4 .Ed who had come in at 4 then put on 122 for the 5th wicket with Trent Johnston (67) but Ireland were reduced to 155-6. However as Gary Niblock reported for Irish Cricket Annual, "It was here that Joyce came into his element.... it was hard not to think of the arch finisher Michael Bevan of Australia as the Middlesex batsman snatched victory from the jaws of defeat." He reached three figures off 116 balls and all told faced 134, hitting 9 fours, to see Ireland home by 2 wickets. "Not once," wrote Gary, "did he look fazed by the challenge." By the time of the World Cup itself, however, England had claimed him. Ed was in the Caribbean but on the wrong side.

His England career began with a T20 match v Australia at The Rosebowl in 2005, though he had already been seen to good effect in the A side. Unfortunately he suffered a serious injury in the field at the start of the Australian innings and it was to be over a year before he was seen in the England ODI side. Ironically this was against Ireland at Stormont at the end of the 2006 season, a match which Ireland almost won and which some of the visitors clearly did not wish to be playing. Ed fell to David Langford - Smith, caught behind by Jeremy Bray for 10 - but was to remain part of the England one day set up until midway through England's somewhat unsuccessful World Cup campaign of 2007. Even then there were some who thought that his omission had as much to do with Michael Vaughan's limitations as a one-day opening batsman as anything else.

As it was Ed had played one high quality innings against Australia at the SCG in the Commonwealth Bank one day series which followed the disastrous Ashes tour of 2006/07. Opening the innings he batted for 203 minutes before being sixth out for 107. He had faced 142 balls and hit 10 fours. England totalled 222 and, having dismissed Adam Gilchrist for 0 went on to win by 22 runs with Ed as man of the match. Ed was also a member of the side while the Tests were being played, almost coming into the team for the first match at Brisbane when Ian Bell was an injury doubt. Bell's total lack of form during the series caused several correspondents to think that Ed should have been given a chance. Bell's subsequent form may well suggest that it was correct to retain him but his apparent bemusement facing Shane Warne during the series suggests that Ed, a noted player of spin, might well have been tried. His career could then have been very different.

He returned to the Irish side for the 2011 World Cup, the ICC having showed common sense rather than adhering to the strict letter of their law to allow him to do so. HIs 84 against the West Indies almost brought about another famous Irish victory and he had useful knocks against England and the Netherlands, his 32 in the former match providing the building blocks for Kevin O'Brien's heroics.

After his 88 helped in the destruction of Canada in the first of two ODIs last (2011) September he was available for all Ireland's matches during the 2011/12 season. He played two crucial knocks in the low scoring Intercontinental Cup match against Kenya in very difficult conditions, but, perhaps, his most important innings was in the vital must win T20 match with Scotland in the World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Dubai. His 78* enabled Ireland to reach 159 which proved too much for Scotland. Ed batted 79 minutes, faced 58 balls, hitting 6 fours and 3 sixes, the last two of which came off the two final balls of the innings. He had chosen the right time to record his first T20 half century.

He was not alone in failing in the brief amount of cricket the elements allowed in the Australian match last (2012) summer but thereafter reached double figures in every innings, twice passing the half century mark, and was rightly a contestant for Ireland's Player of the Year. His Man of the Match 67* in the ODI against Afghanistan at Castle Avenue was a superb innings on a wicket which made stroke play very difficult. Only two other batsmen reached double figures, Kevin O'Brien, whom Ed unfortunately ran out when their partnership had posted 47, and his old Middlesex colleague Tim Murtagh who made 15 in his first innings for Ireland. Ed came in at 9-1 and, still there at the end faced 124 balls and hit 6 fours. He was also seen to great advantage in the T20 World Cup warm up match against Sri Lanka A, his undefeated 53, from 40 balls with 6 fours and 1 six, bringing Ireland a seven wicket victory, helped again by O'Brien who, with 28*, joined him in the match winning partnership of 62.

Since the above was first written Ed has established himself statistically as the leading Irish batsman of all time. It would be a brave pundit who would dare to deny that he is the greatest of all time by any reckoning. His 155 against the UAE in Sharjah in March 2013 was a truly memorable innings. It ended in an unlucky run out following a deflection from a Niall O'Brien straight drive, which ended a 181 runs partnership. It may also be noted that Ed had been on 96 overnight but has shown no nerves about the morrow.

If a further year was needed to provide examples of his greatness, it came in 2015. THe Antipodean based World Cup saw him play two outstanding innings. His 84 against the West Indies - "classy" according to Wisden, on the small Hamilton ground in New Zealand, was perhaps the key innings in Ireland's successful run chase, providing the glue to the innings with two big stands with Paul Stirling and Niall O'Brien. This was followed by a man of the match 112 against Zimbabwe from 103 balls. He shared a vital partnership with Andy Balbirnie (97).

Later in the year came his two double hundreds in the Intercontinental Cup. His Irish record 231 against UAE at Malahide was a magnificent knock. It took only 286 minutes with 29 fours and 3 sixes. He outscored Paul Stirling in a 213 second wicket partnership. His subsequent 205 against Namibia at Windhoek set up another innings win. He and William Porterfield, who hit a career best 186, put on 326 for the second wicket, the second highest stand for any wicket in Irish cricket.

His batting against Afghanistan in the 2016 ODI series at Stormont touched the heights. Man of the series he hit two hundreds and one fifty. His only failure- 12 - resulted from a highly controversial run out which earned an ICC reprimand for the Afghan player concerned. His best innings was 160 * in the final match which enabled Ireland to level the series. It was not only his highest ODI score but the highest one ever made in Ireland. He faced 148 balls hitting 19 fours and 3 sixes. He departed from his normal stylish self to assume T20 mould to see 80 runs come from the last 8 overs.

However 2018 was to prove the last year of Edmund Joyce's remarkable career. It began well in the Tri Series with Scotland and the UAE in the Emirates with fine hundred against the hosts. This was followed by several good knocks both in the warm up matches for the World Cup qualifiers and in the early matches of the tournament itself. Unfortunately injury then struck, which certainly affected Ireland's fortunes thereafter.

By May though he was ready to take his place against Pakistan at Malahide to gain the Test cap, which many considered had been unjustly denied him by England some years earlier. A regrettable LBW decision, which would have been overturned had DRS been available, cut his first innings short, but his second innings 43, unluckily cut short by a run out, showed that he still retained all his class at the highest level. His retirement thereafter was not unexpected, perhaps - like another great left hander 'he had nothing left in the tank.' It is good to know that his coaching roles mean that he will not be lost to Irish cricket."