We were talking about the miss rule in the office the other day – those long summer afternoons fly by.

It was chiefly in response to Fergal O’Brien’s outburst during the Shanghai Masters.

Fergal’s normally implacable temperament cracked when referee Johan Oomen failed to call a miss after Steve Davis failed to escape from an exceptionally difficult snooker on the last red during the first frame of their opening round encounter.

Oomen’s argument was that, as the shot was so difficult, a miss should not be called. Fergal, with some vehemence, said that as Davis had not left the red on he was gaining the advantage – which is precisely the situation in which a miss should be called. In the end, Oomen stood his ground and Davis went on to win the frame on the black.

I had sympathy for Oomen. The fact was that it was a tough escape and Davis spent a long time considering how to get out of it.

But the central point the matter raises is this: what’s the point in laying a really difficult snooker?

Referees tend to look sympathetically on the snookered player in such circumstances so the player laying the snooker would actually be better advised to lay a snooker that is missable but not nigh on impossible.

A miss is called 99% of the time when a player escapes. The only time it isn’t (apart from when snookers are required) is when the snooker is so fiendish – surely down to the expert skill of the player laying it – that an escape is very difficult. So the player snookered actually has a form of advantage.

There’s something not quite right about all this.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave.

Yes, true in what you say, in part.

Surely by not calling a miss, Oomen was implying that the attempted escape was a genuine attempt to hit the ball, difficulty considered. If O'Brien thought that Davis was not leaving the red on and was thereby gaining an advantage, surely the Play Again rule exists to cover this situation. If O'Brien elected to play the shot himself (I didn't see the incident), then there must have been some advantage in the position left.

(One minor point; your penultimate paragraph starts "A miss is called 99% of the time when a player escapes." I presume you mean "...when a player DOESN'T escape"!

Chris, Bournemouth

Dave H said...

Doesn't escape, you're right of course, Chris.

Steve didn't leave the red on but there was an easy shot back to baulk, which is why Fergal didn't put him back in.

Anonymous said...

Being a referee myself I understand Johan's reasoning.

Apart from that, Fergal's response to the situation of not having the advantage since Stave hadn't left a pot on I find somewhat strange. After all, he did have the option of playing another snooker yet again, didn't he?

I'm sure glad Johan stuck to his decision.


Anonymous said...

[Quoting Dave]: Steve didn't leave the red on but there was an easy shot back to baulk, which is why Fergal didn't put him back in. [unquote]

In which case, Steve hasn't gained an advantage.

We had this argument a while ago in the club when I hadn't called a Miss on someone. I maintained, as I still do, that it is about the standard of your attempted escape rather than what you leave (contrary to the Rule's infamous reinforcement in the ealry 90s). The Play-Again Rule covers the issue of (dis)advantage perfectly well, in my opinion.


Dave H said...

Fergal's argument was that, by not leaving a pot on, Steve had the advantage

But like I said, I felt Oomen was probably correct in his decision and indeed said so on Eurosport