Referee Q & A

Need Clarification or advice?

Contact: Larry Eforgan

Victorian Director of Referees

Ring: 0432 798 777


Coming events
S1/24 Wednesday Pennant Snooker Singles Finals
Starts: Jul 28, 2024

S1/24 Monday Pennant Snooker Singles Finals
Starts: Jul 28, 2024

Fred Osbourne Snooker
Starts: Aug 02, 2024

August One-Day Billiards Ranking Event
Starts: Aug 11, 2024

Alcocks Masters
Starts: Aug 16, 2024

Australian National Snooker
Starts: Aug 24, 2024

Neil Robertson Junior Snooker Championship 2
Starts: Sep 07, 2024

APSBF 6 Reds
Starts: Sep 12, 2024

Referee Q & A

Posers Nos 24, 25 & 26

Here are three more from John, Snooker this time.


No. 1.

In a frame of Snooker there are ten reds left on the table. The incoming striker is snookered on all and has been given a free ball. He nominates the Pink and pots it. He then nominates the Blue and pots it as well, however the Referee was still in the process of returning the Pink to its spot when the stroke was played.

What is the action of the Referee?


No. 2.

In a frame of snooker Player A is snookered, plays a poor attempt at getting out of the snooker and hearing the referees call of a Foul & A Miss, knows he is going to get put back, so obligingly picks up the cue ball and hands it to a very surprised referee. Now what as the referee, are you going to do next?


No. 3.

We all know that as a player you can only concede when you are the striker. However here is an interesting situation for you to ponder. In a frame of snooker, the striker comes to the table needing only the Black to win and it is a simple pot. Before the striker has potted the Black the non striker has unscrewed his cue. Is this an act of conceding? Then for some unknown reason the striker misses the Black. Is the non striker now entitled to reassemble his cue and play the next stroke?





By: Larry Eforgan  Wed 27th Jul 2016 - 4:49PM

Posers Nos. 20, 21, 22 and 23


Situation 1.

During a match with two sessions of play, Player A has to leave the room for a comfort stop during the first session. He is away from the table for 1 minute and 35 seconds and the referee has taken a note of the time to be added on. Should this time be added on and played out at the end of the first session, or at the end of the match (i.e. at the end of the second session?)

Situation 2

Near the end of a two hour match, there are a few seconds remaining, and it is going to be a very close finish. Player A (who is just a few points behind his opponent) is at the table. He asks the referee how much time is left. The referee tells him, and Player A quickly plays two more scoring shots to win the match.

(a) should the referee have told Player A how much time was remaining?

(b) Player B feels that the referee's actions contributed to him losing the match. He claims that the referee's actions assisted his opponent, and he was powerless to do anything about it. What rights does Player B have in these circumstances?

Situation 3

Player A is in a very difficult position, with all three balls in a straight line, and his opponent's cue ball and the red ball touching. He tries to play a cannon of the side cushion onto the other two balls but misses them both. The referee calls the foul. His opponent (Player B) would normally have the option of spotting the balls up or playing them from where they lay, but his cue ball and the red ball are touching. Player B has indicated that he wished to play the balls from where they lay by playing away from the touching red ball (as in Snooker). Does he have this option or must the balls be spotted because Player B's cue ball is touching the red ball?

Situation 4

Player A places his cue on the table and obtains the long cue and long rest from the referee for his next shot. He plays his shot with the long equipment. One of the balls is about to make contact with the cue that he left on the table. The referee sees this is about to happen and quickly removes the cue from the table, and contact is avoided. Should the referee have taken this action? 

By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 19th Jul 2016 - 11:59AM

Posers 18 & 19

Here are a couple of real situations that arose in recent matches and are in a way connected, the first one from a match observed by Frank Galanos in N.S.W.

The referee correctly reacts to a foul by also calling a miss. The non offender approaches the table and inquires of the trainee referee if it is also a free ball. After some lengthy deliberations from this inexperienced referee, the offending player gets up from his chair, retrieves a red from a pocket and places it, as a guide, next to the ball that could be causing the confusion. At which point the non offender turns to the referee and claims a seven point penalty.

At no time did his opponent disturb any ball in play, either by hand or with the red he had taken from the pocket.

What should be the response from the referee?


The second incident occurred during a Maccabi competition night and arose when a player fouled, which also prompted the referee to call a miss. As soon as this player had fouled he turned his back to the table with his bridge hand still resting on it and put his other hand over his eyes as if to say ‘oh! what an idiot I am’. The next sequence of events was that the cue ball, still in motion, struck the players bridge hand. Reacting in complete surprise to the ball touching his hand the player quickly pulled it away, inadvertently knocking the only red left on the table into a pocket. His opponent was then 33 points in arrears even after the awarding of the four points for the foul and required at least 7 penalty points to win. The acting referee when questioned, was adamant that he was sure there was no intention by the offender to divert or stop the cue ball or to remove the last red from the table. It did however, result in the non offender being hugely disadvantaged.

How should the referee react to this?

By: Larry Eforgan  Sat 9th Jul 2016 - 10:50AM

Poser No. 17

In the course of a frame of snooker the striker is on a colour after potting a red. The Pink ball is able to be potted but in a very awkward position and will need the long equipment to be used. All the other colours are in positions too difficult for a potting attempt. He tries to play the Pink but after a few attempts to get the equipment into the correct position he gives up and decides to play safe off one of the other colours. In removing the equipment from the table he fouls a red ball. At no time did he declare that he was attempting the Pink although it was entirely obvious that it was the ball being aimed at.

What should be the ruling of the referee in this case.

By: Larry Eforgan  Thu 12th May 2016 - 11:12PM

Trivia 11

In a frame of Snooker, the scores are level and only the Pink and Black are left on the table. The Pink ball is hanging over the edge of one pocket and the Black is hanging over another one such that they are both impossible to strike without propelling them into the pocket.


Player A. pots the Pink and the referee calls 'six' and everything is perfectly correct. However player A. loses the frame without making a Foul. How does this happen?


There is no trick and the striker did not hit the Black so hard that it bounced out of the pocket. There was no disqualification or conceding in this case and he did not drop dead.

By: Larry Eforgan  Sat 7th May 2016 - 1:11PM

Poser No. 16

This poser raised some questions which made it necessary to issue a second but very similar poser with which to elicit the correct answer to the rule in question.

Both are posted here and the attachments contain the answer/s and  also an explanation of the bone of contention and a recommendation.


The original poser was:-

Player A. pockets the cue ball, the referee calls ‘foul’ and the appropriate penalty. He then adjusts the score board and places the cue ball under the baulk cushion for player B.

Player B. approaches the table and stupidly runs his hand along the rail as he is walking towards baulk, in doing so he inadvertently touches an object ball. The referee calls 'foul' and the appropriate penalty.

Where is the cue ball? (Where can it be)?

Which of the players is now the striker and what are the options open to that player?


It was then re-posted in a revised form thus:-

Player A. pockets the cue ball, the referee calls ‘foul’ and the appropriate penalty. He then adjusts the score board and places the cue ball under the baulk cushion for player B.

Player B. approaches the table and rolls the cue ball into the â€˜D’ and in the action of removing his hand, brushes the Brown causing it to roll off it’s spot. The referee calls â€˜foul’ and the appropriate penalty.

Where is the cue ball? (Where can it be)?

Which of the players is now the striker and what are the options open to that player?



By: Larry Eforgan  Sat 7th May 2016 - 9:12AM

Poser No. 15

The striker is preparing to play a stroke from a position where the cue ball is close to an object ball and on the far side of that ball from the striker such that he has to play with a raised bridge hand. He then contacts the obstructing ball with his cue whilst feathering, the referee observes this and immediately call a foul.

Q. 1. Can this also be called a miss?

Q. 2. Can the non striker request that all balls be replaced and the stroke re-played by the offender regardless of whether a miss has been called or not?

By: Larry Eforgan  Thu 11th Feb 2016 - 11:01AM

Trivia No. 10

Most Snooker buffs will know that Ken Doherty, Mark Selby and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, twice in the space of 5 months, have missed the final black in failing to complete a 147 but can you name the other three to have hung their heads in disappointment in professional tournaments for the same reason?


By: Larry Eforgan  Mon 7th Dec 2015 - 2:55PM

Poser No.14


Jason Colebrook sets the next Billiards posers and asks:-

In the rules of snooker there are six spots described in the rules - but in

billiards only four spots are described in the rules:

1. What are they called?

2. Three are used commonly, two in only rare circumstances - what are those


By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 27th Oct 2015 - 1:30PM

Poser No.13


1. At the start of a session how is it determined which player plays with the Yellow Ball?

2. When is a warning issued in a Billiards match?

3. If a player is cautioned for ungentlemanly conduct, hwo many such warnings can be given?

4. What happends when a player uses fingers to see if the red ball can be placed on its spot?

5. If a player asks the referee: a) What colour is my cue ball? and b) What is the score? Should the referee give any answer?

By: Larry Eforgan  Fri 16th Oct 2015 - 2:48PM

Poser No.12

A player comes to the table with just blue, pink and black remaining and in a snookered situation. After taking some time to work out the angle of escape he eventually places his cue on the table with the butt close to the cue ball and the tip close to the opposite cushion pointing to the approximate area in which to strike it. He then moves around the table to take a line of sight, adjusts the cue slightly and takes another line of sight. (See Diagram)

What would be your decision on his action and what penalty would you award?

By: Larry Eforgan  Fri 9th Oct 2015 - 8:05AM

Trivia No.9

Following on from the highest break question, what is the highest points total in a world ranking frame of Snooker and by which player?


By: Larry Eforgan  Sat 26th Sep 2015 - 4:44PM

Trivia No. 8

The Snooker World Championship has never been won on multiple occasions by any player from outside the U.K. and success has only been achieved three times by anyone from outside the borders, obviously by three different players. Can you name them.

Which one of these players also holds the record of being the only winner of all three World titles - Junior,  Amateur and  Professional.  

By: Larry Eforgan  Thu 3rd Sep 2015 - 1:15PM

Poser No.11

The striker from a snookered position strikes the cue ball onto a cushion with such force as to then cause it to jump over a ball not on. The cue ball then makes first contact with a ball on.

Question 1. Is this a foul?

Question 2. If it is a foul can it also be called a miss?

Question 3. Would it also be a foul and a miss or just a foul if the cue ball had failed to strike a ball on?


By: Larry Eforgan  Thu 3rd Sep 2015 - 1:05PM

Trivia No 7

Who holds the record for the highest break made in a professional ranking tournament.

By: Larry Eforgan  Sat 29th Aug 2015 - 1:41PM

Trivia No.6

What are Billiard/Snooker balls made from?

By: Larry Eforgan  Sun 23rd Aug 2015 - 10:38AM

Poser No.10

The next poser comes from a situation that occurred in a competition frame of snooker that was refereed.

It arose when one of the players had been left a table with reds still to be potted and the cue ball touching one of them. This was checked and called by the referee and the incoming striker was fully informed. He was however, under the mistaken impression that when faced with a touching ball a nomination had to be made, even when the touching ball was a ball on as in this case. He could not be dissuaded from this misconception and nominated the blue ball which he successfully struck without disturbing the touching red.

The question then arises of whether this is a foul or not. It also follows that the other questions could be, is it a foul if the blue is propelled into a pocket or if the blue should contact another red which then falls into a pocket and would it have been a foul if the blue ball was not contacted?

This is a true story and serves to highlight the misconceptions, of which this is only the tip of the iceberg, that we as referees have to contend with when faced with ill informed players.

By: Larry Eforgan  Sun 23rd Aug 2015 - 10:35AM

Trivia No. 5

Nicknames seem to be the thing in England and just about every professional snooker player of any note has one. Our own Neil Robertson is know as the Thunder from Down Under. Why he is likened to thunder is anyone’s guess and I assume that he only has this epithet because it rhymes with ‘under’. Here in Australia some of our player’s too have nicknames, Adrian Ridley is know as the Riddler for obvious reasons and Peter Hawkes is know as Hawkeye for the same reason and as a testament to his accuracy.

Others have nicknames for rather more obscure reasons and include The Captain, The Hurricane, The Cat, Dracula, The Grinder, The Hitman, Mr. Maximum and the Essex Exocet.


Can you name these players and give a reason for their nicknames where it is not obvious?

By: Larry Eforgan  Mon 10th Aug 2015 - 10:09AM

Poser No.9

In a frame of snooker the cue ball comes to rest hard up to the curve of the cushion in a pocket opening such that a straight line path to all balls on is unavailable.


Question 1 Is the incoming striker snookered?


Question 2 Must the referee call a miss if a ball on is not first struck?


Question 3 If a foul had occurred prior to the cue ball ending up in the position described, can the referee award a free ball?


Question 4 The non striker is  female and her attire is completed by open toed shoes and a skirt, is this acceptable dress for a ranking tournament?

By: Larry Eforgan  Mon 10th Aug 2015 - 10:02AM

Trivia No.4

A player pots, in sequence, all 15 reds taking a black after each red then all the colours. In the process he achieves a break of 146. How is this possible?

By: Larry Eforgan  Wed 5th Aug 2015 - 10:31AM

Poser No.8


The white ball striker plays from in hand and hits the yellow and red simultaneously the red bounces off the cushion and knocks the white in. What score does the referee call?


How does the referee deal with a touching ball in billiards differently to a referee in a snooker match?

By: Larry Eforgan  Wed 5th Aug 2015 - 10:29AM

Trivia No.3

Who are the four Australian cue sports world champions?

By: Larry Eforgan  Wed 5th Aug 2015 - 10:11AM

Trivia No. 2.

In a frame of snooker and with enough points remaining on the table to win, how is it possible for a player to play a legitimate stroke and lose the frame?


By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 11:17AM

Poser No. 7

A player finding himself in an awkward situation where cueing is difficult decides to unscrew his two piece cue and play with just the top piece. The referee warns him that playing with a cue that is less than 3ft. long is a foul.


Is the action of the referee correct and how could he determine if it is or isn’t legal when no measuring device is at hand.


By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 11:14AM

Poser No. 6

A frame of Snooker has reached the stage where only one red is left to be potted. The outgoing striker on leaving the table has left the balls in the following positions. The cue ball on the Baulk line next to the Brown. The Yellow just behind the cue ball towards the Baulk cushion, the Green on its spot and the Blue tight to the top cushion. The Black, Pink and final Red are in a line with the Red in the middle, the Pink on one side touching the Red and the Black on the other almost touching the Red. The Pink is on its spot and the line formed by all three object balls is at right angles to the cue ball. (See Diagram)

With his first attempt to strike the Red the player first strikes the Black. The referee calls “Foul and a Miss” as penalty points are not required by either player to win the frame even after the awarding of the 7 points for the foul on the Black. His opponent asks for the balls to be replaced and the stroke replayed. At his second attempt the player this time strikes at the opposite side of the Red and in doing so first strikes the Pink. The referee again calls “Foul and a Miss”, awards 6 points to the non striker and the balls are re-set on his request. The referee then warns the offender that a third Miss will result in the frame being awarded to the non striker.

The next stroke played sees the Red and the Pink struck simultaneously.


What is the next action to be taken by the referee and explain the rule that is applicable to the decision?


By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 11:11AM

Trivia No. 1

How is it possible to pot the Yellow ball three times in succession?

By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 11:06AM

Poser No. 5

A player pots the last remaining red and in the same stroke pockets the cue ball. The referee in taking a line of sight from all possible positions within the D decides that both extreme edges of the ball on cannot be struck and announces ‘Free Ball’. The incoming striker, after careful consideration places the cue ball on the table within the lines of the D and nominates the Yellow ball which he then proceeds to pot.


Question 1. Does the Yellow ball become the free ball of choice once nominated?


Question 2.  Is the Yellow ball re-spotted?


Question 3. With the same set of circumstance the incoming striker this time elects to play the Brown as his free ball and upon making his stroke strikes the Brown and the Yellow balls simultaneously. What would be your decision?


Question 4. As question 3 but this time with Brown again nominated, strikes the ball on first. Would your decision be different.

By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 11:04AM

Poser No. 4

A player has played a stroke and failed to first contact a ball on. Your call is “Foul and a Miss”

Four balls have been moved as a result of the stroke. One of them is in a new position that would now change the difficulty of the stroke should his opponent ask for it to be replayed. The effect of this change actually gives the offender a slight advantage. The other three balls are now in positions that do not aversely or positively effect the advantage for either player.

After a short scrutiny of the table the opponent turns to you and asks which ball or balls you intend to replace.


Question 1 Should you tell him?


Question 2. Which ball or balls should then be replaced if the incoming striker does ask for the stroke to be replayed?


Question 3. If a replayed stroke is requested and the position of one of the balls is in contention what should be your decision if either of the players repositions that ball when you invite his opinion?


Question 4. Can the non striker foul?


By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 10:56AM

Poser No.3

A player in a frame of snooker has potted a red and the cue ball came to rest in the middle of the pack of reds. It was completely surrounded and actually touching one of the red balls.


1. Does the referee announce the touching ball?


2. Can the player ask the referee if the ball is touching?


3. Does the player have to play away from the touching ball?


4. Is it a foul if the player moves the touching ball with the next stroke?


And a follow up.


Given the situation stated, the striker when addressing to play the next stroke contacts the cue ball which then moves the touching ball.


Question 1. What happens next?


Question 2. Can this be called a 'miss’?


Question 3. What are the options of the next player?



By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 9:14AM

Poser No.2

Two very inexperienced players were just having a hit around and in the course of their amusement this happened.

One of them was feathering the cue ball when he inadvertently touched it and it moved forward about an inch but did not contact an object ball. He immediately said ‘sorry, I didn’t mean that’ and before his opponent could react he reached forward with his hand and rolled the cue ball back to its original position.

I immediately thought that this scenario in an official refereed match might cause some confusion as to what the ruling should be. So my questions are:- 


1. Was this a foul and a miss?


2. What happens to the cue ball?



By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 9:03AM

Poser No. 1

Player A goes in off after playing a stroke. The referee retrieves the cue ball and places it on the table but outside of the 'D'.

Whilst the referee is at the scoreboard, player B comes to the table and after assessing the next stroke decides that he would like player A to play again. The cue ball has not been moved and is still outside of the 'D'.

Player A plays a stroke from where the cue ball was positioned.


Is this O.K. or is there anything the referee should do or say during this sequence of play?


By: Larry Eforgan  Tue 4th Aug 2015 - 8:43AM