BASINGSTOKE 10-year-old potting machine Mickey Joyce has become the youngest winner of the Cuestars South of England under-21 Silver Tour.

The Winklebury wizard of the baize claimed the number one spot as the eight-leg competition for players with a highest break of between 40 and 60 came to a thrilling climax at the Salisbury Snooker Club.

Joyce, last season’s Bronze Tour championship play-off winner, had insisted throughout the eight month season that he definitely could make history by taking the title.

The Winklebury Junior School pupil secured the required points in the last leg, which came just 16 days before his 11th birthday.

Three players had a realistic chance of claiming the title going into the final leg in Salisbury.

Joyce, with two tournament wins under his belt, led Nathan Farmer (Stoke SC, Gosport) by six points, with Austen Petty (Chandler’s Ford SC) four points further back in third place.

Farmer’s challenge ended after a 2-1 quarter-final defeat by stablemate Matt Gillon.

It meant that, if Joyce lost in the last four and Petty won the final, the pair would finish on equal points and the title would be shared.

But the Winklebury player made sure of the title as he won his semi-final 2-0 against Gillon and then lost by the same scoreline in the final to Petty.

Joyce is sponsored by The Academy on the Moniton Trading Estate, where he receives free practice time, and Falcon Pools, Surrey’s leading swimming pool designers and installers.

He is coached at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club, where last October he set a new record by being crowned the youngest-ever champion of both the Eastleigh and District under-13 and under-18 leagues.

This season he made his debut on the EASB Regional Junior Tour South and he also reached the last-16 of the English Under-14 Championship.

Joyce reckoned competing regionally and nationally has helped improve his game.

“I just learn from my losses,” he said. “The EASB is really helping as well because it makes me play better.

“When I play against better players, I know they are so good and I have to play to their ability.”

The top 16 ranked players now head to Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon, on Sunday, May 25, for the championship play-off.