Stephen Maguire Reaches Betfred World Championship Quarters With Borrowed Cue

'I'll ask my mate how much he wants for it'
15:01, 23 Apr 2022

Stephen Maguire saw a huge gamble pay off handsomely as he swept into the Crucible quarter-finals with a borrowed cue.

The 41-year-old from Glasgow stunned Chinese sensation Zhao Xintong with a 13-9 win in their Betfred World Championship second-round clash.

Former world No2 Maguire has slumped to No40 in the rankings after two poor campaigns and just one ranking title success in the last nine years.

And after a lacklustre first-round victory over former champion Shaun Murphy Maguire took radical action  - switching from a maple cue to one made of ash belonging to a good friend.

Two-time Crucible semi-finalist Maguire was planning to buy the cue on his return but after guaranteeing himself a minimum payday of £50,000 the price may have gone up.

Maguire said: “When I played Shaun, I was rubbish. The cue I used against him was maple, but it was kind of new anyway – I think I had only used it for a few weeks.

“But I decided when I went back up to Glasgow that I wasn’t using that one again, and that I would have no chance with it in the next round.

“I must be nuts, but I borrowed my mate’s cue – big Brian Taylor  - I had a couple of days’ practice with it, liked it and it seemed like a good move

“I needed one with arrows down the side to see the shot better. It helps me sight it better.

“And the two woods are completely different as well – everything about them. The way it sounds when you hit it, the way it feels, they way it plays, the way it goes when you put side on it…

“It is in your head, which cue you use and whether to change – but any professional that says you can’t change your cue is talking rubbish. Of course you can.

“To be honest I change mine too much which I don’t like, but when you look at the amount of balls we hit with hit piece of wood, 100 per cent if you play every day, it weakens. It loses power.

“If you use the same cue for 25 years, it must be rubbish – it can’t be as good. So I am going to try and keep this one, I’ll ask my mate how much he wants for it.

“Hopefully not a lot, and I can afford it and square him up and keep it. He’s a mate, so we’ll see if the price has gone up. 

Maguire ends Zhao’s Crucible hopes: “The game plan unfolded perfectly”
Maguire ends Zhao’s Crucible hopes: “The game plan unfolded perfectly”

“What really pleased me in the match was having a game plan, and seeing it work. I knew I couldn’t outpot Zhao, so I tried to keep it tight and keep him in the long grass.

“If then he gets all the long, fancy ones and gets big breaks then you say fair play, but I thought would be hard over a best of 25 frame match at the Crucible. Snooker is hard.

“I did the same against Zhou Yuelong in the final qualifier, because I couldn’t outpot him either.

“I am not used to having that kind of lead, 11-5, and I seemed to come out quite flat on Saturday when I had been really up for it in the previous sessions.

“When you are five or six clear you look at the scoreboard and think it all looks okay but then all of a sudden he starts coming back.

“Part of the reason it ended up getting closer was my fault, I took on a couple of crazy shots which I hadn’t been doing all match, trying to get over the line and get it finished. 

“I could have paid for it when as he got back to nine and could have got to 10, but luckily I made a nice break in the last frame.

“There are a few boys up here so we will probably watch the Tyson Fury fight on Saturday night in Sheffield, and switch off for a couple of days before the quarter-final.”

Zhao said: “Even though I am disappointed to lose, it has been a great season for me winning the UK Championship and the German Masters.

“This match was a learning experience and something I can learn from and use in the future. My only regret is that I didn’t play my best at all for the first two sessions. I played much better today in the third session, but it was too late.”

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