Ungentlemanly Conduct

This often heard phrase has a few connotations and can be ascribed to many different unacceptable actions by the players. These include but are not restricted to, actions showing heightened frustration such as banging or slapping the table rails or forcibly banging the floor with a cue, audible swearing and other similar reactions.

Other forms of frustration obviously being demonstrated can include the ostentatious or angry dissembling of a cue near the end of a match that can only be lost, or storming out of the arena at the end of a losing frame without informing or asking the referee. All these and similar types of actions are considered to be ungentlemanly and for which the referee would be remiss in not issuing a warning.

This warning can only be given by informing the miscreants that a repeat will result in the frame being awarded against them, or the match if the conduct is serious enough. Of course awarding a frame or match against a player who has just lost is not possible and the same method of dealing with this as described in the blog ‘Conceding’ must be used.

Although actions caused by frustration are the most often seen type of unacceptable behaviour there are many others which would demand a similar admonition from the referee. Examples would include leaving chalk on the rails after being asked not to, except for those times when players are stretching across the table to play a stroke and comfort would demand it. Another example would be a player deliberately stopping the cue ball from entering a pocket when it is obvious that that will be the outcome. It could be that the player is under the mistaken impression that this action is helping the referee or could alternatively be a case of trying to influence the outcome. In the first case the player should told in no uncertain terms that such assistance is not required and in the latter case the player should immediately be warned that any such further action would result in the loss of the frame. Any and all appropriate penalties should also be awarded. Playing a stroke after knowingly feathering the cue ball is another that would fall under this rule and if seen the warning must be given regardless of any protestations of innocence.

Actions that would distract the player’s opponent whilst at the table and all other similar points included in the Code of Ethics must also be considered when judging whether or not conduct is ungentlemanly.

Under the official rule it is specifically mentioned that time wasting is ungentlemanly and applies in all cases. It is especially true in cases where the frames or matches are timed and players using this tactic nearing the end of such frames or matches and leading are not just being ungentlemanly but are cheating, for which warnings are more than warranted. Any blatant cheating must result in immediate forfeiture of not just the frame, but the match.

As mentioned, audible swearing is ungentlemanly conduct for which a warning should be given. However, if that swearing, or any other type of threatening behaviour, is aimed directly at an opponent or the referee, then no warning should be issued but the frame be immediately forfeited, or the match if serious enough. Any repeat at any level must then cause the loss of the match.

The gender specific term ‘ungentlemanly’ must also be ascribed to both genders as explained in the official rules Section 3 Rule 19 a), with the rule for both Billiards and Snooker having the same section and rule number.

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