Q & A: Answers

Snooker Cue

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Posted on 12th June 2005 by Mohamed Al-Rumaihi of Manama, Bahrain.

I wish to learn how to re-cloth a snooker table, specially turning the cloth on the cushion ends and the middle pockets. Appreciate all the help I can get.

The only advice I've seen in print can be found in "The Badminton Library: Billiards" by Major W. Broadfoot. Although it was published in 1896 the advice is still relevant today.

Lay on the cloth, taking care that the right side is uppermost, that the nap runs from what is to be the bottom of the table towards the top, and that the cloth is square to the table. Go to the top of the table, drive in a couple of tacks,* and then go to the bottom of the table, pull the cloth tight, and drive in two more tacks on the middle line. Then stand at one of the middle pockets, pull the cloth a little towards you, and tack it lightly on each side of the pocket; next go over to the opposite middle pocket, pull the cloth tight and tack it as before. Then at each of the middle pockets in succession take a good handful of cloth and a good pull and tack what you get underneath the pocket. Smooth out the cloth over the fall of these pockets, but do not at present trouble about a wrinkle or two, as they will be smoothed out later. Get somebody to hold the cloth firmly at the middle pocket, and go yourself to the corner pocket and pull along the side of the table, using considerable strength; proceed in like manner with the other corner pockets. If all this has been done carefully, neatly, and firmly, the cloth ought to be well stretched the length and breadth of the table. The amateur will find the greatest difficulty in getting the cloth to lie smooth along the sides and ends of the table, and especially at the fall of the pockets, for the cloth must be humoured so as to come fair over the pockets without creasing. This is a work of time, trouble, and neat-handedness; you must not hurry; take plenty of time, plenty of tacks, and by degrees success may be obtained.

Covering the cushions with cloth is such an exceedingly difficult and delicate operation that it should not be attempted by an amateur; very few workmen can cover a cushion as it should be covered, and, therefore, it is useless to describe the operation. It will be found prudent to order the makers to cover the cushions before sending them out; indeed, some clubs abroad have two sets of cushions, so that while one set is in use the other may be in England for repairs.

* Battens are screwed to the slates in order to take the tacks which fasten down the cloth.

Posted on 29th May 2005 by Eddie Harrett of Neath, South Wales.

A question about a respotted black in a doubles match.

I broke off originally, my partner potted blue pink and black to tie the scores. I won the toss, and doubled the black into the yellow baulk pocket to win the frame.

Our opponents claim that my partner should have made the shot because he was the last player on the table. Advise please.

The rules cover this situation very clearly in Section 3.17, which governs four-handed snooker. As you won the toss, you and your partner had the choice of who played the next stroke. So your shot was perfectly legal.

Had you failed to pot the black the rules then stipulate that the order of play must continue as it had from the beginning of the frame.

Posted on 22nd May 2005 by Roy Deanus.

I have in my posession a billiard cue which has an ivory plaque on the handle saying:

"T Reece World Record Break 499,135 Unfinished July 6th 1907" and "Break 773 March 6th 1913" followed by "Burroughes & Watts LTD London."

Could you inform me if you know of any further details pertaining to this cue?

In issue No. 23 (November 2001) of "The Amateur Billiard Player", Andy Hunter's "The Cue Collector" devoted most of his article to the cues of Tom Reece. Your cue is mentioned in this article, and was one of the first of his cues to be made more as a snooker cue than a billiards cue. The article suggests your cue in good condition would be valued somewhere in the region of £150 - £200.

The story of Tom Reece's break of 499,135 is chronicled within the website of the English Amateur Billiards Association.

Added 27th April 2008   The article on the cue can now be found online at Cues n Views.

Posted on 15th May 2005 by Craig White of Lincoln.

My question is on potting balls off of others. For example I'm sure that a red can be hit against another colour and then go in the pocket and be a legal shot. However, after potting a red can a coloured ball be hit against another colour before going in the pocket? Likewise can the colour be hit against a red before going in?

All the examples you give would be legal shots. For a pot to be legal the ball "on" must be struck first. Providing it is, and no foul is made during the shot,then the ball "on" (or any other ball "on" - for example, another red) can strike any of the other balls before it enters a pocket and the pot counts.

Posted on 20th March 2005 by David Bridger of Hudson, FL USA.

Years ago, I learned that you can almost always hit a snookered ball with the cue ball if you do the following:

Assuming the cue ball and object ball are the same distance from one cushion, go to the spot at that cushion where the object ball is 90° to the cushion. Then hold the tip of your cue very close to the object ball and set your finger on the cue where the cue intersects with the inside edge of the cushion.

Now holding your finger at that spot on the cue, pull the cue back (keeping it at 90° to the cushion) until the tip is exactly at the inside edge of the cushion.

Now sight a line from the cue ball to the tip of your finger and make careful note of where that line would touch the inside edge of the cushion between the cue ball and your finger on the cue.

If you can hit that spot on the cushion with no english, you will hit the object ball. If the cue ball and object ball are not the same distance from the cushion, you have to adjust the spot to hit. More toward the cue ball side if the cue ball is closer to the cushion.

Have you experienced this and have I remembered it correctly?

You have remembered this correctly, it's a simple and practical way of measuring the angle, or rather the line the cue-ball must take to hit the object-ball.

Anyone having problems escaping from snookers should spend 10 minutes or so practicing this method. It's an excellent way to find the line of aim.

Obviously it would not be allowed in a match as you are not allowed to measure any distance. If you did it would incur the maximum penalty, and 7 points would be awarded to your opponent.

(The problem of escaping from snookers is covered in more detail within the Practice section)

Posted on 6th March 2005 by Joe McMahon of Dublin.

Could you answer a problem that arose in a match. Player is in hand and placed the cue ball on the green spot. Is this a foul as more than half the ball is outside the "D"? (as it is when placed on the yellow spot).

It would not be a foul to place the cue-ball on any of the baulk spots as they are considered to be within the "D".

On the match tables the professionals use on TV, the semi-circle of the "D" and baulkline are drawn with tailor's chalk. This is like a pencil with a white lead, but no spots are placed on the table like you find in snooker and social clubs.

In the clubs, some leeway must be given, so providing the base of the cue-ball actually sat on the fabric spot, it would considered to be within the "D", even though part of the said fabric spot might cover a part of the cloth outside the "D".

In the professional game, with no fabric spot but more of a "sharp corner", as it were, there would be no such leeway, and if the base of the cueball was outside the drawn lines of the "D" then it would be a foul.

Posted on 26th February 2005 by Dan Le Brocq of Doncaster.

If a player is in a snooker and continously performs a foul and a miss, so basically cannot get out of the snooker what happens? I heard something on the Masters the other day about being warned about the 3 Miss rule?  Am I correct in hearing this and what does it mean?

The "Three Miss" rule relates to a situation where the player has a clear path to a central, full-ball contact with a ball that is "on", but for safety reasons prefers to play off one or more cushions.

In this case if the player misses a ball "on" in three consecutive shots he loses the frame. But if a player was in a snooker that really was impossible to get out of, then a miss would not be called.

Received from Andy (of London) 10th April 2005.

If I remember ref Alan Chamberlain correctly a few years ago and the rules haven't changed since it is possible to call a miss when a snooker is impossible to get out of. This can happen if the player does not strike the cueball with sufficient momentum to have hit the object ball even if the snookering balls weren't there.

Yes, the cue-ball must be hit with sufficient force to reach the ball 'on' in these situations, so thanks Andy, and apologies Dan.

Incidently I believe the same referee once 'overruled' the 3 misses and you forfeit the frame law in a final. Only the thinnest edge of ball on (black) could be hit using the extended swan bridging over a pack of reds. The ref apparently decided this was so difficult to hit directly he wouldn't enforce the law!

I don't recall seeing this incident but I'm sure you are correct here as well. Seems to have been a nice case of common sense being applied for once!

Posted on 30th January 2005 by Bill Jackson of Sutton Coldfield, UK.

When the white is touching a red any attempt to steer the white towards the red is a push shot and a foul. I have always thought that any direction away from the red, no matter how close to the dividing line between the balls, was legitimate; provided that the red does not move away from the white there is no push. A friend challenged this. He claimed that I should have played DIRECTLY away from the red. I think he meant more or less at right angles to the line separating the balls. He was very convinced. Was he right?

No! Your friend is wrong. The rule covering this states that the player must play away without moving the ball. At no point within the rule are there any words or phrases that would imply your friend is correct. Check for yourself, this link will take you to the World Snooker Association website where the rule is explained quite clearly. You will need to scroll down, it is found in Section 3, Rule 8 (b).

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Snooker Cue