Saturday, 30 April 2011

Higgins shows heart. But did he play a push shot...?

In the second semi-final where John Higgins beat Mark Williams 17-14, the 30th frame had a touch of controversy. The Welshman needed two snookers on the green and Higgins miscued when close to the object ball. It looked very much as if it was a push shot or a double hit ( the distinction can be unclear). No surprise it wasn't called by referee Eirian Williams despite raised eyebrows from Mark Williams. I can't remember him giving one unprompted by a player and I can only remember Michaela Tabb giving more than one although I think Micheala may have called this as a foul.

Lots occur nowadays to the point where newer players on the circuit are unsure what a push shot is because they've grown up in a game where it is ignored unless it's blatant. For example by striking say more than half of the object ball with the balls almost touching. It's especially difficult to call when the balls are a fraction apart and a player, even though playing a thin edge of the object ball often plays a foul. It's almost impossible as current convention dictates for it to be called

Three or four years ago when profiles of the referees was a regular feature in Snooker Scene they were asked which rule they would change. Most said foul and a miss but Michaela said the push shot.

When was the last time you witnessed a push shot on TV which was given by a referee without prompting by  the offender? There was another probable push by Higgins in the last session off a thin safety when attempting a snooker by playing the white up into baulk. I think the law needs to be looked at so the referees and players are clearer about what constitutes a push and it's enforceable so referees aren't kept in this very difficult position.

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