Girlfriend Ash – now his wife and mother of their beloved Bonnie – was already playing a leading hand in their partnership. “She was working part-time at Hungry Jack’s and earning more money than me – first and second year wages for a chippy aren’t great! She helped me out heaps.”
Now he’s 29, struggling to fathom where the years have gone, yet eternally grateful for the life the game has given he and Ash, and the family they’ll raise. “We’re laid-back, pretty free-flowing, but Ash has been very understanding about what cricket takes out of me – physically and mentally.
“My wife works extremely hard, she does a major job looking after bub and looking after me as well. She’s working for the Queensland government now too. I’ve taken a bit of a back seat now, re-evaluating where we’re at as a family. I don’t regret one bit, it’s been awesome so far.”
The “so far” is pointed. Having played eight seasons of state cricket for his native Queensland and latterly Tasmania, Boyce’s sole contract is a two-year deal to rip his leg-spinners down for the Renegades. Originally touted as a red-ball bowler the shorter forms duly became his bag, peaking with seven T20 appearances for Australia.
Having moved back to Brisbane, surrounded again by family and about to embark on a new challenge of primary teaching, he won’t rule out any future turn of events.
“I don’t have any massive expectations on myself anymore. I just want to do the things I know I can do best – spin the ball hard, figure out batsmen, where they’re going to hit me. I certainly do have a lot to offer in the short format.
“If any of the spinners start the BBL well this year, the Aussie team is crying out for a spinner again. To be playing in the BBL, I certainly don’t shut the door on playing for Australia again. If you’re bowling well you’re always a chance.”
Bonnie’s in-utero heartbeat is forever inked on his forearm via a tattoo of her ECG; Boyce notes that she’ll always be Tasmanian by birth, but has quickly been converted to Queenslander – even if at seven months she doesn’t know it yet. There were tough times away from home and family, not least twin brother Chris with whom he’s close, yet the years in Hobart and a BBL season in Adelaide with the Strikers were intentional, out-of-comfort-zone growth phases.
“Home is home, you love being there as much as you can. But we don’t regret anything about living away, it’s all part of the experiences of life.”
Preparing to saunter in and let rip, he seeks simplicity over a racing mind. He knows stronger batters are hitting the ball further every year, yet also getting wiser about how they play spin. It could frazzle a slow bowler – if you didn’t have a plan.
“I get asked by friends a lot about the pressure of playing in the BBL, and it’s true if you’re not prepared and committed to what you’re doing you just get nailed as a bowler,” Boyce says.“I don’t delve into much detail about my bowling – I don’t go out thinking I need to bowl dot balls or whatever. Just get him out is pretty much the plan. The best way to restrict the runs is take wickets.”