Cue Stories



Cue stories abound from the early days of billiards until today.

Willie Smith was booked to play Walter Lindrum at billiards in the mid 1930’s, it was the custom for people to hang around with players of this calibre and have a bet on the outcome of their matches with all and sundry. Willie told his cronies and backers not to bet on the Lindrum match as he felt the outcome was beyond doubt and that he himself would lose.

When Willie Smith began the match, it turned out in the early part to be closer than anticipated. At a critical juncture of the match during one of the evening rest breaks a punter or punters unknown broke into Willie Smith’s hotel room and destroyed his cue in an attempt to safeguard their investment. Many years later Willie was asked how long it had taken him to get used to another cue, the reply was a revealing one, Willie said that he never had. 

John Spencer used to play snooker at his local institute and became accustomed to a particular cue, which was numbered and each night kept in a rack. This cue was a hand-spliced cue but was simply the property of the owners of the organisation.

John Spencer went away for over two years to complete his national service, on his return a friend informed him that the institute had closed for business. John sought out the key holder and gained admittance to the premises in the hope of finding his old cue, in the cellar he and the key-holder discovered the cue floating in shallow water. John took the cue home and after some years won two of his three world championships with it, he was never the same player when the cue was severely damaged in a car accident some years later.

Ray Reardon and Eddie Charlton achieved great success with one cue exclusively throughout their respective careers, in both their cases this particular cue was stolen from them and they struggled to regain their best form from this moment onwards. Ray used an old Burwat Champion and Eddie a Clark McConachy cue both made by Burroughes and Watts.

These players have been quoted as saying that their cue becomes almost a part of them and feels like an extension to their arm.

Stephen Hendry’s cue was once stolen from a tournament, he was so dependent on this cue for his success that a reward of fifteen thousand pounds was offered for its return. He has gone on to win many more world titles and an impressive number of 147 breaks in competition, how different would his career have been if the cue had been destroyed?

I feel for Alain Robidoux, who was consistently performing at a top sixteen level, when a cue maker took exception to his cue carrying a rival cue making company’s logo was seen on television. The next time that the cue was returned to him for repair work, he decided to destroy it. Alain has struggled since the cues untimely demise and has sadly plummeted down the ranking list. It is a sad commentary that the cue maker felt unable to discuss his feelings and probably had no idea of the cues true value to Alain. 

Alex Higgins spent the majority of his career seeking the ideal cue and when he felt that he had a close one in his hands he still felt the need to tinker with the balance, adding weight and drilling them out. 

Willie Thorne still uses a Walter Lindrum machine spliced cue that was bought for him many years ago and has made more 147 breaks than any other player with it. It seems clear that right cue when allied to the right player can become a formidable and successful combination.

David Smith
Cues n Views

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