Edward Diggle was 72 Years of
age when he died in 1934 having played in competitive matches right into the
1920's. Many of his later matches were against a young player destined to make
a big impression on professional billiards, Joe Davis.
Edward Diggle started his career
in Manchester as a Marker in the Billiard Rooms of John Roberts; here, he
learnt to play from observation backed by the dual characteristics of
perseverance and practice. Charles Roberts describes Diggle as having no
style worth speaking of. Any old bridge, but a most doughty and unconcerned
opponent - Indeed he might have been playing marbles for all of the interest
that he seemed to take in all of his matches".
Although highly regarded amongst
the top players for much of his career. This lack of ambition to try for
championship honours makes him less well known than he otherwise might have
One title which he did well in,
was for the Professional Championship of Lancashire and Yorkshire in 1891 - He
took this by defeating Charles Dawson and was never required to defend it, the
cup eventually became his personal property.
He utilised the "push-stroke" in
close cannon work to such an extent that many people forecast his career would
end when the push was abolished in 1898. But in the manner of a truly great
player, he simply adjusted his game to the new conditions and remained amongst
the front rank of professional players.
All of the Diggle cues
commemorate his performances during a match against John Roberts Junior at the
Argyll Hall, London made on January 4th 1895. His record break of 985 took a
little over an hour and was the highest of his career. On the following day
Diggle had a run of 84 consecutive cannons, and obviously was in fine form. He
added breaks of 480 and 404 to win the match by over 4,000 points.
Interestingly enough, Diggle set these records using a "John Roberts cue
There are at least four distinct
versions of the Diggle cue, which were most commonly Ash shafted, although pear
and occasionally maple shafts are also seen. Burroughes & Watts produced
all known examples.
The earliest version is
distinguished by an extended wavy line under Diggle's, name on the badge, made
up from eight distinct ripples. In later versions the line was slightly
shorter, having just seven ripples. Having badges made from ivory or bone these
cues would have been produced from around 1890 to 1920 and the inscription
would have had either brown or black lettering.
A later plastic badged version
was made in the 1920's and 1930s, this can also be identified by the wavy
line being replaced by a straight one, having scrolls in the centre and at the
ends. This later cue would have been manufactured by Peradon & Co on behalf
of Burroughes & Watts and has a Mahogany butt with an Ebony front splice.
The early badges. Made from
ivory or bone were produced with differing styles of butt. These were; plain
Ebony (£170-250); Ebony and Burr(£250-£320): a plain Mahogany
The earliest of these would have
a fat butt, slimming down to a billiard shaped cue. The later. plastic badge
version, would have more of a snooker cue shape
It is possible that other makers
were involved in the manufacture of Diggle cues, and it is rumoured that a
round badge example was also produced, but no examples of these are currently
known to exist.
Andy Hunter & David Smith