A snooker rule has been branded “unfair” by one of the sport’s most respected professionals following an unusual period of play during the Scottish Open final.
Former China Open semi-finalist and world number 71 Mike Dunn spoke out on Twitter after the referee intervened to try and stop a segment of stalemate in an important frame between Mark Selby and Jack Lisowski.
The incident happened in the latter stages of the Scottish Open final when a single ball had not been potted for around 25 minutes.
Selby and Lisowski were tapping the cueball into and out of a cluster of reds for a prolonged period as they did not want to play a risky shot and potentially leave an easy pot on for their opponent – with another red ball positioned near the pocket.
At this stage Selby had a lead of almost 30 points so did not want a re-rack to be called, as he had gained a useful advantage. This created a deadlock situation which forced referee Marcel Eckardt to intervene.
The referee told Selby that he and his opponent would have a “few more shots” to try and resolve the situation and end the deadlock – meaning that one of the players was forced to play a risky shot. Though the referee did not state exactly how many more shots he would allow from each player.
But on social media Dunn reacted by telling Eurosport commentators Neal Foulds and David Hendon that the rule was “unfair” as the player playing the last shot would be at a disadvantage – as his opponent could dictate the proceedings by going first.
Dunn said on Twitter: “Which player is the person that plays the last shot in a few shots each ? Who decides? It’s unfair on the player playing the last shot?”
Section 3 of the official WPBSA snooker rules does not make clear who would play the last shot in that situation:
It says: “If the referee thinks a position of stalemate exists, or is being approached, or is indicated by both players, the referee shall offer the players the immediate option of re-starting the frame. This process is commonly referred to as a re-rack.
“(a) If any player objects, the referee shall allow play to continue with the proviso that the situation must change within a stated period, usually after three more strokes to each side but at the referee’s discretion.
“(b) If the situation remains basically unchanged after the stated period has expired, the referee shall nullify all scores and re-set all balls as for the start of a frame.”
During commentary Neal Foulds said the issue was a “grey area” as far as the rules were concerned.
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