Kyren Wilson opened a can of worms with a highly unorthodox use of the spider during his World Open semi-final clash against Mark Allen this week, when using the shaft at right angles to his body in order to rest his bridge hand on when cueing over a pack of 6 reds to reach the cue ball on the far side of them.
There was no ruling from the referee in charge of the match but some commentators were taken aback by the action. Mike Hallet saying ‘it’s a first’ for me and Dave Hendon saying it was ‘inventive’. Fans of Kyren labelled it ‘clever’ and ‘genius’ but Steve Davis replying to a questioner on twitter, said it was a ‘grey area’ and that it shouldn’t be allowed in his opinion, even though the rule book has nothing covering this use of the equipment.
Another questioner asked if the hand had to touch the table, even though Kyren’s finger tips were resting on the cloth. Again the rule book only comments about contact when stating the requirement for the striker to be in contact with the floor at the point of executing any stroke. Players who sometimes take the risk of playing a similar stroke one-handed are also and quite rightly, never penalised unless a foul is committed in some other way.
My own opinion is that there is no grey area here, the rules do not say that the equipment can or cannot be used in any particular manner, Kyren was not gaining any unfair advantage and the referee in charge did not have to consider making any ruling on fair or unfair play. The tip of the cue contacted the cue ball in the required manner, there was no foul committed in placing or removing the equipment on or from the table, the cue ball first contacted a ball on, no balls not on were pocketed, no cuff foul was committed and at least some part of one foot was in contact with the floor at the moment of contact of cue and cue ball.