During the course of the first frame of the final of the WSF Open held in Malta it transpired at one stage the Black was potted and that the Black Spot was occupied, it was then correctly spotted on the Pink Spot, being the highest available. Very soon after this the Pink suffered the same fate, then having to also be spotted on the highest available, namely the now vacant Black Spot. The eventual champion, Englishman Ashley Hugill then embarked on a frame winning break taking mainly the Pink after each Red and staying high on the table for this ball parked each time on the Black Spot.
There was unfortunately, an incident not long into the break which was not recognised by either player and was quite a serious error by the referee. In taking one of the Reds and landing once again in position to take the Pink off the Black spot and as doing so causing the cue ball to contact the Black very slightly. Even though this contact was light it was still enough to move the Black more than a balls width away from the Pink Spot leaving it free for the Pink to be correctly spotted.
This was not the action taken by the referee who either did not know the rule, which I cannot believe could be the case of a Grand Final referee in a world tournament, or was recalcitrant in his concentration and did not see or realise what had happened, or had got into a certain rhythm in spotting the Pink on the Black Spot repeatedly that complacency had set in and the vigilance he should have been showing was sadly missing.
Here it can be seen that the cue ball is obstructing the Black Spot causing the Black to be spotted on the vacant Pink Spot.
This was the moment the cue ball brushed the Black sitting on the Pink Spot moving it sufficiently to allow the Pink to be spotted on its own spot.
Finally in this sequence of events the Pink spotted incorrectly on the Black spot with the Black clearly now to the right of the Pink Spot from the perspective of the camera. Those with the best eyesight may even be able to make out the white mark indicating the position of that spot and to see with no doubt that enough space is available for it.
It is fortunate that this error did not seriously impact the frame or the final as the Red taken after this incident was potted with position on the Blue in mind and not either of the Pink or Black balls now neither of which were correctly spotted.
This referee also had the very bad habit when spotting balls of placing the ball on the table between himself and the spot then rolling it further away and towards the spot with his index finger. This method is definitely not recommended as it would be difficult in the extreme to be sure that the ball had either reached the spot or had not overshot it. Placing the ball to the side of the selected spot and level with it then rolling it sideways onto it is the optimum method and I am pleased to say that this is the practice of most, if not all, the Australian referees and certainly of the Victorian ones.
So much for the negatives!
The exciting and positive thing about this tournament is to pass on congratulations to Victorian Ryan Thomerson who once more enhanced his growing reputation with a quarter final showing and a display of Snooker skills that he, his father and mentor Paul and all Victorians and indeed Australians, can be very proud of.