The Referees Handbook

This book was born in 2019 as an aid to the teaching of students taking the Class 3 Snooker accreditation course and came about because it was decided during the classes held in 2018 to include two homework assignments in that course.

The difficulties in producing those assignments in relation to the paper and printing necessary for their eventual format was thought to be easier if incorporated in a booklet form.

In the formulation of that document it was also decided to include various other dissertations on the correct method of refereeing that are not part of, or included in the official rules. Upon revision of the document and in the final analysis it was eventually decided to omit the homework assignments and to use email in communication and participation of them with and by the students.

The booklet itself was retained as possibly a good idea and the final decision on what its contents should be was taken late in 2019 and in discussion with VBSA President Paul Cosgriff it was also decided to make it available, not just to any future Snooker referee students, but also to the current group of qualified and active referees.

Its contents include an updated Foul and a Miss flow chart in accordance with the August 2019 rules revision which takes into consideration the change to Section 3 Rule 14. This states that a miss may now be called if a player can tie the frame with the available possible points remaining on the table, which was not the case in previous versions of this rule.

The next included item is an article first published in the Maccabi Snooker Rules and Information book but which has lost none of its relevance over time. It is also the subject of a previous blog and is entitled ‘Besides the Rules’. It is mainly concerned with how a referee should behave during play and includes discussions on the different ways a referee must act in applying the rules but which again, are not included in the official rule book. The things it covers are the optimum positioning for a referee when monitoring play, the correct or accepted way of communicating with the players when making decisions or calling scores, how to manage and control the cue ball in different situations, equipment management such as rests, spiders etc. as well as personal items, scoreboard and scoresheet requirements and minor table maintenance.

Third in the list of contents is a document first produced by Tommy Watson who was the Tasmanian Director of Referees for many years, treasurer of the now defunct ABSR and of course a Class 1 Examiner. It is a detailed and precise list of the correct calls and the terminology a good referee must use in any and all situations that do or may crop up during the games of Billiards and Snooker and that need to be expressed to the players and even sometimes the spectators. This document has since been the subject of an update to conform with modern practices and the official rules changes which have occurred since its first publication in the late 90s.

Following this is a method of cleaning a ball in play with advice on how to be precise and efficient in dealing with any ball so in need.

Next there is a detailed essay on a ball marker with exact ball dimensions, its various uses and utilisation.

Also included is a list of the personal equipment a referee both must have and the things it would be advantageous to have but are not essential. I have listed all the things I have in my referee case in this article which include some that are not at all necessary for referees to have but are useful sometimes in the role of tournament director of referees. Examples of these are the packet of black stick on spots I carry in case a table has any that need replacement and some replacement black plastic screw-in ‘toes’ for rests that have any missing or broken and which I would not expect other referees to keep.

This brings us to the centre of the booklet and I have chosen to include a copy of the Blog entitled ‘Extreme Edge’ here.

The second half of the booklet first contains an article on practical instruction which takes students through the method of preparation for a match, including the requirements of table maintenance, ball and equipment management, cue ball management and referee/player protocol. This article is mainly centred on the actions required before the start and at the conclusion of any match.

In direct relationship to this is the next item which outlines a pre-match address to the players with suggestions on how that could be presented but with leeway for personal preferences.

The next item is also connected and is a detailed instruction of how a table must be brushed and ironed or padded before the start of the day or before the start of a subsequent match on that table. It also includes the suggestion that the balls should be checked for cleanliness and chips and a full check list of other preparational duties.

An article on the only four questions a referee is instructed to answer follows next and over the page an in depth look at a standard scoresheet and the information it should carry when completed.

The Code of Ethics first formulated by the ABSR and now updated and retained by the ABSC is included as well as the ABSC dress codes for referees, both male and female, which are also endorsed by the VBSA.

A shortened form of the Glossary of phrases and terms in common use, relating to both Snooker and Billiards, is the latest addition of which a full and more detailed list can be found on this website.

Some examples of Rule 14 and their possible interpretation also have a place and the booklet is finally completed with the accepted method a referee must employ when acting as a roving referee.

Useful information, i.e. associated website addresses, venue addresses and contact details, are also inserted prior to the list of contents.

A copy of this booklet is available to all active Victorian referees free of charge and to all interstate referees also free of charge except for postage and packaging costs.

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