In tournaments where matches are self-refereed by the players, such as Pennant and Willis, the Reventon Classic and some round robin stages of others, it is accepted policy to have professional referees in attendance to assist the player/referees with rules guidance and disputes if the need arises and sometimes to act as tournament directors for the chosen venue if more than one is in use for the event.
Referees performing this duty are expected to remain vigilant and aware of the needs of the players. It would be expected that situations would not arise where players are craning their necks and waving their arms for assistance with the roving referee nowhere in sight.
Roving referees are not required to make decisions on fouls or when a miss should be called but are required to confirm or not the rulings made by the match referee when asked and to make any rulings required on disputed decisions.
If roving referees are asked to observe a stroke because it could potentially contravene a rule, the decision on whether or not a foul has been committed, or a miss should be called, after the stroke has been played, is entirely up to the match referee. Only if a roving referee’s input is required should an opinion be offered. The match referee must make the decision and the roving referee step in if asked. It is also a good idea to have that ‘mental picture’ of the lay of the balls when asked to observe these types of situations as players who are not professional referees but acting as such, could have major difficulties with ball replacement and assistance with this is often a major part of the duties of a roving referee. Keeping in mind that players on adjacent tables could be disturbed during this process and that every effort should be made to avoid that.
Roving referees should also be aware that the skill level of the players in the round robin stage of any tournament is more than likely to be unequal and misses should be called according to the skill level of the player making the stroke, not that of a more highly skilled opponent and guidance in this area could diffuse potentially volatile situations.
It is always the responsibility of a roving referee to ensure, in any session where this duty is performed, that no undue delays are had in setting up matches and to do all they can to avoid late finishes. To this end assistance in setting up the tables for the next frame is always an expected and acceptable practice, as long as it is not at the expense of the needs of the players with frames still in progress. Another potential way of time saving is to know the location of equipment that may be required during the matches, such as goose neck rests, spiders and long equipment and to ensure ease of accessibility.
For tournaments such as the Reventon Classic and in venues with one roving referee, who is also acting as the venue director, the group scoresheets will regularly need updating and is something that should not be left to the last minute or until all the matches are completed. The scores should be entered as soon as the results are known and as soon as a spare moment presents itself. The players will also want to know how they stand as the day progresses. In venues where more than one roving referee is in attendance these duties can of course, be split between them. For pennant matches, keeping an up to date scoresheet is also a duty the roving referee can perform thus allowing the players to re-rack the balls for the next match and so save time.
Table maintenance will also be an ongoing requirement of the Reventon Classic tournament for the length of the day and before play commences. It would be expected that the venue will have the facilities in order but be prepared for the unusual. A brush and a pad should be located before play starts and every eventuality anticipated as much as possible.
Balls and other equipment will also need to be located and checked and table lights turned on. A short address to the players letting them know conditions of play, how the day or evening should progress and the dress code, would also not go amiss. The dress code for the Reventon Classic is as advised in the tournament conditions. The dress code for the pennant finals is as of the current by-laws posted on the V.B.S.A. website.