Free or Not
This was the lie of the balls during the eighth frame between these players in the first round match of the 2019 World Championships which was refereed by Olivier Marteel, who is one of the best in my opinion.
Michael Georgiou having failed to strike a red in trying to escape a snookered situation, when the cue ball was left after the previous stroke, a fluke by Neil, between the Brown and the side cushion and close to the Brown.
After a very close scrutiny by Olivier he decided to award a free ball. Now it is obvious from the photo that not one red was able to be struck at both extreme edges by the cue ball which is the definition of a snooker. It is however the case that a ball on cannot be snookered by another ball on so the only contentious ball is the one arrowed and although it is impossible to see from the T.V. broadcast, from which this photo is taken, whether or not the ball in question meets the criteria, we are left with no option but to trust the decision taken by the referee even though it must have been a very close call.
The decision was not questioned by either player, especially Michael, and even before any scrutiny by the referee the first words out of the commentator’s mouth was ‘is it a free ball’, confirming that it was always a possibility.
The Black was taken by Neil as the free ball and proved to be the decisive moment in eventually winning the frame to go 8 – 0 in front.