One of the biggest names in the snooker equipment market has to be that of Riley. This is a British firm with a reputation for excellence that has spread well beyond the borders of the UK. It’s often said that bad workmen blame their tools, but conversely, there’s more than a grain of truth in the idea that top quality gear can help to draw top quality performances out of sportsmen and women of talent. For instance, the right nap on the table baize will give a helping hand to a well-struck shot by drawing the ball into the pocket. Still, even if most of us don’t play to this kind of level, we can appreciate a product that’s made to high standards of craftsmanship, as is the case with Riley tables and cues. Take the average slate snooker table. Slate can be sourced from many countries, but Italy produces some of the world’s finest – so this is where Riley goes to get its slate for its tables’ ‘play fields’, as they are called. The company also uses precision cutting technology in the shape of laser cutting equipment in order to cut this slate, ensuring the slabs are perfect right down to the last millimetre.