Section 2 Rules 5 (Striker & Turn) & 6 (Stroke)
If these two rules are compared to each other it can be seen that there is a distinct difference between the two as to when each is complete.
Rule 5 states that the strikers’ turn and right to play another stroke ends, if either: -
1. There is a failure to score from any stroke, or
2. A foul is committed, or
3. An opponent is asked to play again after a foul.
Section 3 Rule 3 (j) also states that the striker, upon failing to pot a ball, must leave the table without undue delay.
So as soon as it is certain that no score is going to accrue from the last stroke, even if a ball or balls are in motion, or if a foul is committed, again regardless of any balls not at rest, then the striker’s turn at the table has come to an abrupt end.
This is very different from rule 6 which states that a stroke is not complete until: -
1. All balls have come to rest,
2. The striker has stood up to either leave the table or play another stroke,
3. All equipment has been removed from any hazardous position and
4. Any relevant score has been called by the referee.
The incoming or incumbent striker will foul if a stroke is played whilst any of these conditions still remain, with the possible exception of No. 4 if it is the referee who is recalcitrant.
Rule 5 addresses when the incumbent striker must stop playing, with the Code of Ethics also insisting that players not procrastinate over missed shots and that they must move away from the table. Rule 6 addresses when the incoming or incumbent striker may start.
When it is obvious that the stroke just played is going to result in either no score or a foul, the striker must move to a chosen position away from the table. This becomes an added necessity to the referee if there is a need to determine any possible snooker, free ball, or touching ball situation. To have the outgoing player, the incoming striker and the referee all trying to see where the balls will, or have, ended up, can sometimes resemble an episode of the Keystone Cops, especially in a room that has multiple tables, with little space between them and a player and referee on the next table also in the way.
The outgoing player does not need to remain at the table, getting in the way. They will find out soon enough what the outcome of the stroke is when the referee makes, or fails to make, any call.
Many players, after using the rest will remain rooted to their position waiting to see the outcome of the stroke still clutching the rest, with the referee behind them waiting to replace it on its hooks. More time is being wasted here, with referees frustrated in their attempts to assist the striker and then to be in the correct position for the next stroke.
The only time that the non-striker should be at the table is when invited into consultation after a call of ‘foul and a miss’.