What's the Difference

The significance of the numbers 35, 43, 51, 59 and 67 is clear in the minds of most experienced players, officials and fans of Snooker. They represent the maximum amount of points still available to a player with sequentially 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 Red balls still to be potted and it is especially important for an officiating referee to know this when any call of a ‘Miss’ may be in mind.

Section 3. Rule 14. states that unless considered deliberate, a call of a ‘Miss’ cannot be made by the referee if penalty points are required to win the frame by either player. This applies if the condition is in place before or because of any stroke played. The one exception to this being if a player is in a sequence of misses which would lead to the awarding of the frame for three, but it otherwise holds true.

For a referee to keep track of how many points are available at any stage of a frame in progress as well as keeping track of the difference in the scores of the competing players before this stage is reached, is unreasonable. To know that one of the players has 1 point for a potted Red and the other has 8 for a potted Red and a potted Black and that there are now 131 points available is not required or necessary.

However, when the scores indicate that one or other of the players is close to accruing enough points to win the frame and that there are only a few Red balls remaining to allow that deficit to be overcome by an opponent in arrears, it becomes vital for the referee to be aware of whether a player can win without penalty points or not, if a situation should arise where in any other circumstance, a ‘Miss’ should be called.

For the referee to stand staring at the scoreboard in consternation trying to subtract the lower score from the higher then calculate whether or not enough points are available to exceed that total by trying to add the total of the colours - 27, to 8, 16, 24, 32 or 40 and holding up play for all that wasted time is, to say the least, not best practice.

Learning the 8 times table up to 5 times 8, with a starting point of 27 instead of 0, is a simple exercise that will eliminate any potential embarrassment in officiating a frame where such a situation arises.

To make this task even easier, it is a fact that 6 times 8 plus 27 is 75 and as there are only a maximum of 147 points available in normal circumstances and considering that 75 represents more than half of that total, memorising this table to a factor of 6 and beyond is not necessary.

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