Q & A: Answers

Snooker Cue


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Posted on 6th February 2016 by Bob Jennings of Great Barr, Birmingham.

In a recent match player A potted a red and the white finished up snookered in the cluster of reds, player A nominated the Blue, and while attempting to hit the white he touched one of the reds and a foul was called.

Player B asked Player A to play again, where he played the white and hit the Blue, a foul was called and player A asked "Why? As I hit the blue which was the ball I originally nominated before the 1st foul."
The referee explained that although the original nominated shot was the Blue (where he fouled by touching a red) when asked to play again he should have played a Red. Was the referee correct?

If the events took place exactly as you've described, then I would suggest that a foul should NOT have been called.

If you look this up in the official rules - scroll down to Section 3, Rule 11 Fouls (i), you will see that if a player fouls while preparing to play the shot and is asked to play again, then it's the opponent who decides which ball or balls will be the ball on, (that's if a red was potted immediately before of course).

So in your example when Player B asked Player A to play again, the onus was on Player B to decide whether Player A was on a red or a colour. If Player B had said 'a colour' then player A could have nominated any colour, he wouldn't have had to nominate the blue again.

So if Player B failed to say whether a red or a colour would be the ball on (whether he knew he had the option or not), I believe Player A played what most people would assume to be the correct shot.

It is not up to the referee to decide, in fact the referee should by rights have asked Player B to decide before Player A took his shot.

Posted on 18th October 2015 by Dennis Lomas of Bury, Lancashire.

In a recent match player A went in off, the referee took the white ball out of the pocket and placed it on the table behind the D up against the cush. Player B returned to the table after chalking his cue and played his shot from where the referee had placed the white and the referee called a foul.
The referee had not said anything to the player prior to the shot being taken. Should the referee have placed the ball in the D or handed it to the player and not placed it on the table?

If you watch the televised professional snooker tournaments you will never hear a referee state anything along the lines of "Cue-ball in hand." But it is customary for the referee to place the cue-ball where you said he did, so I see no fault with the referee's actions.
Some amateur referees prefer to either place the cue-ball on top of the cushion rail, or hand it to the next player, but there are no rules specifying any exact procedure.

Once the player is down on the shot the referee is not allowed to warn the player that he is about to make a foul, that would obviously be unfair on the other player. So it's down to the player to be aware of what's happening as the game unfolds. We all make mistakes, amateur and professional, and many of us have horror stories to tell. We just have to accept them and learn from them.

Posted on 13th April 2015 by Jack of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

In a recent game my opponent pocketed both the blue and the yellow ball on the same shot. The black spot was the only one open. Which ball is spotted on the black spot?

Spotting the colours. When two colours need to be spotted the highest valued ball is given priority. So in your example the blue would be placed on the black spot, and the yellow as close as possible to it's own spot, without touching any other ball, and in a direct line to the closest part of the top cushion.

A reply to a similar question by John Wilson might also be of interest.


Posted on 8th December 2013 by Simon Green of Southampton.

During the televised tournaments we frequently hear the commentators mentioning different statistics, for example the head to head record between two players, or the number of centuries made by a particular player. Are these statistics available online?

Yes they are. Here's the link: Cuetracker. It's a fascinating website, with information going back as far as Joe Davis in the 1920s.

Posted on 18th May 2013.

In a league doubles match, the referee called a foul when it was a player's first shot at the table. One player asked the other, "what shall I do next?" whilst standing 2 or 3 feet away from the table and standing behind the cue-ball which was on the side cushion, and more or less, in line with the object-ball which was about to be struck. This was a two way conversation between the two players.

The team which were called foul upon were very unhappy, and insisted that they were not "at the table" since the striker had not yet touched the table. I understand that there is no mention of touching the table in the rules, but everyone in the club insisted that the referee was wrong.

How exactly do you define "at the table?"   Could you shed some light on this situation?

The referee gave the correct decision in this situation which the current version of the official rules make quite clear.

Recently the rules regarding doubles matches (or "Four-handed Snooker" as they describe it), has been updated, and the words "at the table" no longer appear.

"Approached the table" is now used instead, and this change must have been made to remove any misunderstanding. So if a player had taken just one step towards the table and his partner gave advice at that moment, then that would allow a foul to be called.

That may seem harsh, but the new definition is much clearer and removes any argument that may be offered.

The answers to Bob Haggarty's and Graham Cresswell's questions may also be of interest.

Posted on 21st February 2013.

In a cup match tonight a player was not happy with how the black was spotted after he potted it. He told the ref who again respotted it. Still not happy the player picked it up and respotted it himself. Is this not a 7 point foul? He went on to make a 50+ break and cost us the game. I await your response with interest.

There can be no doubt that this was foul stroke. It would be classed as touching a ball in play, and the black became "in play"" when the referee replaced it on its spot.

The fact that the player was not happy with the resting place of the black after the referee's second attempt gave him no right to respot the ball himself.

So a foul stroke should definitely have been awarded. The break should have come to an end, and, as you say, a penalty of seven points should have been awarded to the opponent.

Posted on 23rd January 2012 by Eddy Hughes.

I have been explaining to my grandchildren about snooker and a fact I'm sure is true has cropped up and I'm now unsure about the answer in today's game.

I would like confirmation or not as to if the referee supplies the set of balls used in 'match play' snooker, which is currently being televised. I feel sure I understand that this was the case in times past but am unsure about any recent changes.

A good question, and one I too am unsure of. I suspect that as everything else is brought in new, tables, cushions, and cloth, that the balls are also brought in specifically for each tournament. I'm sure the referee would bring them to the table before each match begins, but whether the table suppliers/fitters, or World Snooker bring them to the tournament venue, I simply don't know.

If anyone can provide definite information, please make contact and the details will be posted here.

 19th January 2016 - A grateful contribution from reader Dean Howell.

The referees do take the balls to the table, they have been assigned from a stock 'back stage' and they look after them for the duration of the match. But they do not supply them as such.

The balls themselves are supplied by the manufacturer (Aramith for WPBSA and ISBF tournaments) under the suppliers contract with World Snooker Services. The contract allows the suppliers to advertise their wears on the sides of the tables.

Actual numbers are not known but Aramith would supply a certain number of sets of balls, at the start of a new season or at certain times through the season (unknown) and probably they have an agreed number of uses before they are often sold to fans at an event; usually through the tournament director.

The same supplying contracts are with the table (Star) and cloth (Strachan), again actual numbers and times of supply unknown. As you have probably heard, cloths are changed at certain times through an event, i.e. for the 1/4 finals, for the final, etc.

The tables and balls are used across the season and travel by World Snooker Services, along with all the gantries and TV screens and score boards (TV with computer access), markers booths, arena fixtures, etc.

Of course, full details of the suppliers contract are confidential so probably never find out the numbers of tables/cloths/ball-sets etc.

Please note, that referees do buy and use their own 'triangle' for setting up the reds pyramid.


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