Joyce calls time on county duty to extend Irish career
Ed Joyce has announced his retirement from county cricket to concentrate on prolonging his Ireland career and achieving his ambition of playing Test cricket.
The 38-year-old returned to Ireland with his young family last winter and, although he committed to playing for Leinster Lightning in this season's List A inter-provincial Cup and first-class Championship games, it was his intention to play the occasional game for Sussex, where he has spent the last eight seasons.
But a persistent back problem, which caused him to miss the first two games of the Tri-series against New Zealand and Bangladesh, had forced him to cut back on his matches and travelling back and forth to England.
In a glowing tribute yesterday, Sussex's Director of Cricket Keith Greenfield said: "The quality of his batting is obvious and his integrity, calmness and professionalism has been crucial to us throughout, both when winning trophies and also when going through transition.
"A quality player and an outstanding man, we all wish him well for the future."
In all he scored more than 8,000 runs for Sussex, an average of 49.4 with 23 centuries. The county's loss is Ireland and Lightning's gain and, fitness permitting, he will play his 249th first-class game - he needs just 19 more runs for 18,000 - when Lightning face the Northern Knights at Stormont on Monday week.
Meanwhile, with the Ireland team going through a testing period, three more games have been confirmed for the Wolves side in successive weeks in June and July, giving the next in line to the senior squad the chance to push their claims for promotion.
The Wolves will play three-day games against a strong MCC side (including many MCC Young Cricketers) at Southgate on June 26-28, Gloucestershire II at Rockhampton on July 4-6 and Scotland A at YMCA on July 11-13.
A tour to a Full Member country is also in the pipeline for the Wolves in the autumn.
Although Ireland lost all three completed games in the one-day international Tri-series, they received a boost in the final match in Clontarf yesterday when Bangladesh beat New Zealand by five wickets.
The win moved the Tigers up to sixth place in the ODI rankings and closer to automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup - guaranteed for the top eight on September 30 this year.
A top-eight place for Bangladesh - due to host next year's World Cup qualifiers - would make Ireland and Scotland favourites to co-host the event.
Scores: New Zealand 270-8 (50 overs, T Latham 84, N Broom 63, R Taylor 60 not out, C Anderson 24; Shakib Al Hasan 2-41, Nasir Hossain 2-47, Mashrafe Mortaza 2-52) Bangladesh 271-5 (48.2 overs, Tamim Iqbal 65, Sabbir Rahman 65, Mahmudullah 46 not out, Mushfiqur Rahim 45 not out; J Patel 2-55). Bangladesh won by 5 wickets.