Stamford firm helps Mark Selby land fourth World Snooker Championship title
A global audience watched Mark Selby pot his way to a fourth world title with a cue made and maintained in Stamford.
The 37-year-old from Leicester edged past Shaun Murphy 18-15 on Monday after a tense two-day final at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
Selby, nicknamed the Jester from Leicester, has become one of snooker's most successful players of the modern era through his trademark guile and skill.
However, his journey to the top followed a trip to Stamford Cuemakers in 2006, reaching his first Crucible world final the following season.
"We've done various maintenance work on it over the years to keep it in the best condition and fortunately he is still winning tournaments with it," said Lewis Roberts, who runs the business with his dad Paul.
"From a maker's point of view it's the best thing to see players winning tournaments with your cues.
"Although it's the players and not the cues, we try to give them the best possible cue and the best possible chance to win. It's very rewarding and makes us very proud."
They helped fine-tune the world number two's cue between lockdowns last year with a light refurbishment, but Selby takes great care to keep his prized asset in top condition.
"We did a major maintenance on it a few years ago through the sheer number of hours he practices, but Mark is pretty good at looking after his cue," Lewis added.
"No two cues are the same and players like to look after their cues because there's a period of adjustment if they have to switch.
"We have known Mark a long time now so it's easier for us to work with him because we know what he likes. It all depends on each player's style of play, how they strike the cue ball and then we dial into what they need."
Stamford Cuemakers was set up in the 1980s by Paul, a skilled engineer, initially to carry out small cue repairs and alterations for local players.
However, the company has become popular with snooker's elite - they have worked with Chienese star Ding Junhui since 2004 and are currently making a new cue for world number 12 Mark Allen.
They also made a bespoke cue for Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vardy in 2016, inscribed with the words JV 11 after his record feat of scoring in 11 straight Premier League games.
However, most of their client base remains amateurs and aspiring professionals, with a growing overseas market.
"Ding has used our cues for a long time and with him being so high profile in China, it really helped us," Lewis added.
"English cuemakers have a reputation for making the best cues, particularly in China, so most of ours go there now."