The current state of Snooker cues from China
Snooker is quickly becoming an international game. For the longest time, it was a game dominated by players from the British Isles – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – but it’s not that way anymore. Now there is a strong following in Germany, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and many other countries. It’s even gaining a bit of momentum in Canada as well.
Why has snooker become more popular internationally? Well, in part, technology and televised sport has played an important role. Players from all over the world can now go online to watch their country men (and women) play. Snooker can also be more easily broadcasted outside of the UK now with Satellite and online streaming of events and feature programming. Self-recording and uploading amateur and home made content is a breeze now as well with Youtube and cheap video cameras available. Even World Snooker, the governing body, has an online Snooker streaming web site at www.worldsnooker.livesport.tv so that you can watch live officially sanctioned events and matches anywhere in the world. Access to more matches, more content, and more information (like this blog), has inspired younger players to continue playing and support the sport.
China, in particular, has had some incredible success with Snooker. There are several top 100 players from China now and it’s suggested that China will bring the next World Champion before any other country outside of the British Isles. That may well happen given the number of snooker clubs and players in China – several times more than in the rest of the world combined. Incredibly, in a recent televised World Championship round when two players from China were competing, there were some 100 million people watching back in China!
Cue making, however, is still being lead by British Isles cue makers. Or is it?
I think it’s inevitable that since China is investing and supporting the game of snooker, they are bound to support the cue supply needs of their snooker players as well. In addition, making and shipping a cue from UK to China is still relatively expensive compared to the cost of making a cue in China and selling to the local market.
But are Chinese or Asian cues just as good as their British counterparts? I think for a few makers in China, they are. In fact, I can honestly say that they are easily as good, if not better than British made cues. I’m not just basing my opinion on my own experience – I actually have a few cues made in Thailand which are sold in UK under the “Greenbaize” brand. They are superb cues, have intricate and perfectly aligned points and inlays, and hit better than some British made cues I have tried. I’m also saying this because I am starting to see the standard improve as I see more and more cues made in China. It’s bound to happen given that so many cues are still being imported from Britain to China right now. Chinese cue makers will eventually master their craft and produce cues at the same level of quality as you would get from England.
If had to be ultra critical of Asian made cues, I would say that some years ago, the shaft woods were not as good. Was it the lack of high quality, old growth Ash and Maple? I think it’s less of an issue now though. In the past, British cue makers (and some Canadian cue makers like Kevin Deroo) may have done a slightly better job. But it’s not a hard and fast rule anymore.
If you have hesitated about buying an Asian cue, fear no more. Do your research, read up advice on TheSnookerForum, and go for it. The prices are competitive, and the quality is just as good.