Poor old Ken Doherty has had his cue impounded by customs officers at Heathrow following the six reds event in Thailand, presumably because of some meaningless red tape that has to be sorted out.
After the season he’s just had, this is the last thing Ken needs.
Of course, it was at Heathrow that the cue with which Stephen Hendry won seven world titles was destroyed beyond repair back in 2003.
He’s never been the same since. I didn’t think it would affect him that badly after watching him beat Ronnie O’Sullivan to win the British Open shortly afterwards in what was probably Hendry’s best performance of the decade.
But it was clear when he turned up at the 2007 World Championship with a cue he’d had for less than a month that he wasn’t happy.
Hendry wouldn’t blame losing the old cue, and it’s worth remembering that he reclaimed the world no.1 spot in 2006, but, put it this way, it didn’t help his career.
The irony, of course, is that his old cue wasn’t reckoned to be up to much. But players get used to a cue and, in a game that relies so much on mental resilience, it can be hard adjusting to a new one, especially when you have to.
This is why O’Sullivan’s capture of the Masters title last season was so remarkable. Ronnie had smashed up his previous cue a few days before Wembley but played brilliantly in the final.
That said, he struggled for the rest of the season. This was not necessarily down to the new cue. Indeed, I’d back him to make a century with any old bit of wood, but there are so many factors that can alter the way a player is feeling that you want to limit them to as few as possible.
Sometimes damage to a cue can end up being a positive, though.
John Spencer had his broken in a car accident in 1977. He went on to become the first Crucible world champion not long afterwards.