DANIEL Joyce has bid farewell to the Ballarat Miners in a shock retirement announcement as the Miners went down to Kilsyth on Saturday night.
Joyce, who only this year returned from 12 months on the sidelines with an achilles tendon injury, has hung up his basketball shoes for the last time, as his team went down 61-50.
Joyce's decision was based on his work commitments and his struggle to recover from training sessions, with his recovered leg still not at full strength.
Miners coach, and Joyce's father Brendan Joyce, said the club has tried to coax the veteran to stay on, but his mind was made up, preferring to step aside to allow a younger player to gain more court time.
Joyce's decision made for a sad night for the Miners who gave up a six-point lead midway through the third quarter against a side, it must be said, who were nothing more than blue-collar battlers.
With the Miners having the likes of Sam Short, fresh off an NBL title winning game with Melbourne United and on-paper, talent to burn, they should have been too good for the Kilsyth team.
But with the game remaining close for three quarters, the Cobras could sense they were in the contest and some clutch three pointers just before the three quarter time break turned the momentum in favour of the visitors as they ran away to a convincing win, and in the process, denting the chances of the Miners taking part in he play-offs.
Depending on how you view it the Miners could either recover some momentum when they meet Melbourne Tigers on Sunday or sink further into a season which has still yet to see them win a game at home.
Meanwhile, the Ballarat Rush will also need to dust themselves off quickly after they were hammered by 28 points.
The traditional slow start occurred again, 13 points down near the end of the first quarter, but they recovered over the next two periods to claw back within six points with four minutes to go in the third quarter.
But from there the wheels completely fell off the home side which went down 86-58.
The Rush will also back up on Sunday against the Tigers, in what will no doubt be a difficult game on the road against a seasoned opponent.
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