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Miss rule in local leagues

Postby Roland

I play in 2 leagues in York and neither use the miss rule. People say it will create arguments and generally don't want it. I witnessed a match (1 frame) a couple of weeks ago where there was a total of about 10 deliberate misses. Both players were of senior age and have clearly been playing for many decades, in other words they know the angles and knew what they were doing. The point was they were snookering each other, and sacrificing 4 points in order to leave the table safe but were making it look like "a good attempt" to escape. One scenario involved the last 2 reds touching in the middle of the table, so if the one snookered hit the reds they would open them up and possibly leave a chance so it was better to leave them as they were and force the opponent to open them.

Of course you can't expect the miss rule to be applied in local league as it is in the professional game because every failed escape is called a miss and the players are the best in the world, therefore they should be able to escape from any snooker barring the impossible ones.

I'm curious to know how those of you who play in local leagues deal with deliberate misses.

I have a suggestion I'd like the people of York to consider and it consists of 3 basic concepts:

1) If the player can see the ball on and misses

2) If the player chooses a more difficult escape than the obvious route in order to leave a safe table if they miss (e.g. turning down going into the pack of reds instead playing to land on a loose one in a safe position close to a cushion)

3) If the player blatantly makes no attempt to hit the ball on, similar to a "push out" in 9 ball pool (e.g. plays away from the ball on to a safe spot on the table)

These wouldn't apply to all deliberate misses, for example a player plays the obvious escape route but plays to "only just miss" the object ball. In such a scenario you can't expect club players reffing the match to be consistent. But using the above 3 rules I think it wouldn't be too hard for everyone to understand and wouldn't cause too many arguments, and most importantly it would stop the practice of deliberately fouling to gain an advantage.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby ged_147

I play in two leagues and a variation of the professional miss rule is used in one, referees discretion is used in the other.

The variation scenario is if the player can hit any part of the ball and misses then an automatic miss must be called if the player is snookered then a miss cannot be called no matter how easy the snooker is or if a more difficult escape is chosen. There is no decision for referees to make apart from whether the player can hit the ball on or not.

In the other league the rule is applied far more strictly largely based on the knowledge and playing ability of the ref; if a good player reffing thinks a player (even high handicapper) has gone all round the world to escape from a snooker, even though they get reasonably close to hitting it, when they can see a simple single cushion escape they will call a miss and ignore the capability of the player. High handicap players refereeing will see that they have only just missed the escape and not call it. This is where the arguments start. There are 'some' players who will ref to an almost professional level standard, calling misses for everything, even if you get close but are fortunate to leave nothing on. Some are basically saying if you don't hit it, or leave something easy on, then a miss will be called. There have been several instances where players have resigned from the league because of the application of the miss rule and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get players to referee because of the pressure to call misses.

In the first scenario players have generally accepted the rule, even the better players, with a reduction in arguments and friction both at the matches, and at the routine monthly Secretaries meetings. I know which leagueI prefer!

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby Wildey

I dont play in Local Leagues at all but i would be snake hissed off not playing to the rules as stated in the Pro game and more than likely wouldn't play. That's not to say it should be applied as stringent as in the pro game after all they are the Best players in the World but it should still follow the same criteria.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby Xopher

I am the secretary of our League and it is rightly a subject that creates potential for controversy. Those officiating are unqualified referees and usually a player of the home team - so they are not necessarily up together with all the rules (this is not a complaint - it's bound to be the case) and could be seen to be biased depending on calling or not calling a Miss.

We did similar to one of the leagues mentioned above - but with regard to full-ball's-width scenario. So, if you can hit a ball full-ball and fail, a Miss will be called, otherwise it won't, full stop.

I think this is probably the best way to do it and it has proved to work pretty well. There are no arguments as to deliberate or easiest route, so the game can be played on the friendly terms which one would expect for a local league while still making use of the rule.

As a qualified referee, I find it slightly awkward not calling a Miss where one would certainly be warranted (e.g. taking a more difficult route to leave it safe) but at the same time I accept that it is probably best in the local league environment to remove the subjective decision-making from the person refereeing on the night.

It works well and I don't have many reports of it being misused.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby Roland

Ok thanks for that. It sounds like a good first step although my gripe with the match I witnessed was making very poor attempts at escaping from snookers, taking the 4 point hit but leaving the table safe guaranteed.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby Xopher

Yes I agree it's not a 100% ideal situation, but it's the best we could come up with without opening other cans of worms already described!

Anyway, there's always the Play Again rule....

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby Cannonball

Our local league abandoned the miss rule last season and reintroduced it this season because players were cheating. One player in a baulk snooker even rolled the cue ball gently up to the yellow cushion, so that the object ball was safe but a safety shot was neither easy or difficult, leaving the opponent in a quandry. Advantage to the fouler. The ref did not apply the gross foul rule as he should have, and immediately award the frame. This play was similar to the DF in pool. The point of snooker is that DFs are not permitted, it's a gentleman's game, it's not pool and it's not in a pub! Now, they use the miss rule and there are unlimited fouls with the balls being replaced each time after a miss. There is room for the ref to determine what is a miss given the player's ability; i.e. it is easier for a 25yr old -70 player to get out of a snooker than an 80yr old who is +15 but inconsistencies are inevitable. Some of the players have given away 10 fouls in a row because of this rule, even though they've been honest and tried to hit the object ball. Personally, I would introduce 'ball in hand' after the third fail (with the cue ball being put back in the original snooker two times) because replacing the ball a lot is not fair on either player.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby Roland

That's interesting Trumpster. I do remember playing in a league where the miss rule was applied and you were meant to judge the players ability on whether or not to call a miss. One thing I do remember from that time is dreading marking a game and hoping it went without incident.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues - THE RULE NEEDS CHANGING!

Postby BiskitBoy

The miss rule is an essential part of the modern game and it must remain so. However it always seems to cause disagreements. If this is not addressed, (certainly at lower league level) the potential for arguments and the associated harm to the game that this causes will continue. I believe the rule in its current form contains elements of ambiguity and unfairness. Players can feel ‘cheated’ in certain situations even when the rule is correctly applied.

In thinking about this I tried to understand why we need the miss rule and how we can easily use the same set of rules in one frame snooker for beginners and also best of 35 frame professional encounters.
There are basically two reasons to snooker your opponent.

Reason 1: To score 4-7 points. Quite often this is because a player needs snookers to win. This is one of the reasons why misses can’t be called when snookers are required. There is no advantage in missing. In this case the miss rule is fine. 4 points is a fair return if your opponent makes a foul.

Reason 2: To get a tactical advantage or scoring opportunity. In this situation there can be an advantage in the snookered player ‘missing’ hence the miss rule. The main advantage of missing in this case is to not give your opponent an opportunity to score.

This is where the miss rule is plain wrong and the ambiguity and unfairness come in. I’m often told by referees that the miss rule is not ambiguous or subjective and that the rule is clear and objective. Of course the letter of the law is reasonably clear and objective but the reason for the miss rule is not (Reason 2). Denying your opponent “the opportunity to score” by missing is VERY subjective. This means the very basis for the miss rule is not sound and not fair.

Here’s a few examples:

Example 1: A player is snookered with 15 reds on the table. They are spread far and wide and the colours are on their spots. Of course in this situation if the player misses it should be a ‘miss’. Here the miss rule is fine.

Example 2: A player is 30 points in front with 35 on and snookered on the last red. The colours are very awkwardly placed and even if the player successfully escapes the snooker the most points that can realistically be subsequently scored by their opponent is 4 (maybe a red and a green). This is where there is a BIG problem with the miss rule. In this case there is NO ADVANTAGE in missing because there is little or no “opportunity to score” (Reason 2).

Above I believe we have examples of when a ‘miss’ call is fair and not fair. This unfairness can be abused by the non-striker by consistently asking for the cue ball to be replaced even though there is “opportunity to score” the very reason the rule was introduced! This abuse is an unfortunate by-product of the miss rule. It is a perceived unfairness and has considerably changed the game for the worst at lower league levels.

Based on the two examples above how should the referee make a subjective decision to call a ‘miss’ or not? Of course the answer is they shouldn’t have to.

The answer is let the players decide between them using an extension to the miss rule.

Here’s how it might work:

A miss should be called exactly as it is now.

If the non-striker elects to have the cue ball replaced at any time the striker can either accept this and play on as currently OR can veto the replacement on the cue ball and offer their opponent “ball in hand”, meaning place the cue ball anywhere and play the next ball on.

This would mean in example 1 above the snookered player could continue attempting to escape, giving away 4, 8, 12, 16 or more points but non giving away the potentially massive (and in this case unfair) “ball in hand” advantage to their opponent when there are 15 well spread reds on the table.

In example 2 this would mean the snookered player, when missing could opt to give “ball in hand” to their opponent knowing the “opportunity to score” might not outweigh the possible points given away in a succession of ‘misses’

This would also allow for the removal of the perceived unfairness, when the non-striker has the cue ball replaced even when they have the “opportunity to score” (the main reason for the introduction of the miss rule!).

For those opposed to the “ball in hand” principle remember in the change outlined above still allows the snookered player to not offer “ball in hand” and continue re-attempting to escape the snooker so they would be no worse off than currently.

A change to the miss rule as described above might not be perfect and may not affect the professional game too much but would be a massive improvement at lower league levels.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues - THE RULE NEEDS CHANGING!

Postby acesinc

BiskitBoy wrote:The miss rule is an essential part of the modern game and it must remain so. However it always seems to cause disagreements. If this is not addressed, (certainly at lower league level) the potential for arguments and the associated harm to the game that this causes will continue. I believe the rule in its current form contains elements of ambiguity and unfairness. Players can feel ‘cheated’ in certain situations even when the rule is correctly applied.

In thinking about this I tried to understand why we need the miss rule and how we can easily use the same set of rules in one frame snooker for beginners and also best of 35 frame professional encounters.
There are basically two reasons to snooker your opponent.

Reason 1: To score 4-7 points. Quite often this is because a player needs snookers to win. This is one of the reasons why misses can’t be called when snookers are required. There is no advantage in missing. In this case the miss rule is fine. 4 points is a fair return if your opponent makes a foul.

Reason 2: To get a tactical advantage or scoring opportunity. In this situation there can be an advantage in the snookered player ‘missing’ hence the miss rule. The main advantage of missing in this case is to not give your opponent an opportunity to score.

This is where the miss rule is plain wrong and the ambiguity and unfairness come in. I’m often told by referees that the miss rule is not ambiguous or subjective and that the rule is clear and objective. Of course the letter of the law is reasonably clear and objective but the reason for the miss rule is not (Reason 2). Denying your opponent “the opportunity to score” by missing is VERY subjective. This means the very basis for the miss rule is not sound and not fair.

Here’s a few examples:

Example 1: A player is snookered with 15 reds on the table. They are spread far and wide and the colours are on their spots. Of course in this situation if the player misses it should be a ‘miss’. Here the miss rule is fine.

Example 2: A player is 30 points in front with 35 on and snookered on the last red. The colours are very awkwardly placed and even if the player successfully escapes the snooker the most points that can realistically be subsequently scored by their opponent is 4 (maybe a red and a green). This is where there is a BIG problem with the miss rule. In this case there is NO ADVANTAGE in missing because there is little or no “opportunity to score” (Reason 2).

Above I believe we have examples of when a ‘miss’ call is fair and not fair. This unfairness can be abused by the non-striker by consistently asking for the cue ball to be replaced even though there is “opportunity to score” the very reason the rule was introduced! This abuse is an unfortunate by-product of the miss rule. It is a perceived unfairness and has considerably changed the game for the worst at lower league levels.

Based on the two examples above how should the referee make a subjective decision to call a ‘miss’ or not? Of course the answer is they shouldn’t have to.

The answer is let the players decide between them using an extension to the miss rule.

Here’s how it might work:

A miss should be called exactly as it is now.

If the non-striker elects to have the cue ball replaced at any time the striker can either accept this and play on as currently OR can veto the replacement on the cue ball and offer their opponent “ball in hand”, meaning place the cue ball anywhere and play the next ball on.

This would mean in example 1 above the snookered player could continue attempting to escape, giving away 4, 8, 12, 16 or more points but non giving away the potentially massive (and in this case unfair) “ball in hand” advantage to their opponent when there are 15 well spread reds on the table.

In example 2 this would mean the snookered player, when missing could opt to give “ball in hand” to their opponent knowing the “opportunity to score” might not outweigh the possible points given away in a succession of ‘misses’

This would also allow for the removal of the perceived unfairness, when the non-striker has the cue ball replaced even when they have the “opportunity to score” (the main reason for the introduction of the miss rule!).

For those opposed to the “ball in hand” principle remember in the change outlined above still allows the snookered player to not offer “ball in hand” and continue re-attempting to escape the snooker so they would be no worse off than currently.

A change to the miss rule as described above might not be perfect and may not affect the professional game too much but would be a massive improvement at lower league levels.


This is absolutely fascinating and worth quoting again in its entirety!

Let me start by saying, "Hi guys!" I have been traveling almost non-stop for the last four weeks with very little time for snooker. Actually had a chance to sit and watch the Shootout for a while and I saw something interesting. But first, let me say, as many know, I am very much a "rules guy" and not quick to break with tradition. The miss rule has always been sticky, I think primarily because of the vast differential in players' abilities. In a nutshell, in snooker, what is good for the goose is NOT good for the gander. While the miss rule works pretty well for the professional game, it is generally inappropriate for rank amateurs.

Biskitboy, your extremely well thought out proposed solution not only addresses the difference in players' abilities, but actually celebrates it! Stuck in a near impossible "foul and a miss" situation, a rank amateur knows his opponent at a similar talent level to himself is likely only good for a two, maybe a four ball break, so of course, he will concede ball in hand rather than missing ten times. On the other hand, a professional would practically rather die than give his opponent ball in hand.

This post had been up over a week and frankly, I am surprised and disappointed that it has not gotten any response at all whether positive or negative.

I say, "Bravo, Biskitboy!" and I hope that someone important at the WPBSA takes a serious look at this. I mentioned the Snooker Shootout earlier because, as I am sure all know, one of the more unique aspects of the Shootout is ball in hand rule on penalties so even though ball in hand may still be a bit of a gimmick as far as snooker is concerned, this does mean that incorporating Biskitboy's solution is not without at least some precedence.

I will be incorporating this rule in my club at the next tournament (we only have a couple each year). A big part of my problem in my club is that volunteerism is non-existent--no one is willing to referee and using the miss rule in non-refereed matches is just a fistfight waiting to happen. Its bad enough even with a referee. Whether refereed or not, Biskitboy's solution leaves the choice of the lesser of two evils to the fouling player so he has absolutely nothing to complain about. And the non-fouling player will have a good outcome no matter what so he has nothing to complain about.

I say again Biskitboy, I think this proposal is innovative and I hope that others will jump on this bandwagon.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby BiskitBoy

Thanks ACESINC and ROY142857 for your kind comments. It's very gratifying to get a good response.

It seems such an obvious rule change to me but when I've suggested it in passing to my fellow league players I don't really get much joy I guess it's a little convoluted and only likely to happen very rarely in the professional game but I think it would make the miss rule work at all levels.

I'll write to the WBPSA and share their reply.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby acesinc

BiskitBoy wrote:Thanks ACESINC and ROY142857 for your kind comments. It's very gratifying to get a good response.

It seems such an obvious rule change to me but when I've suggested it in passing to my fellow league players I don't really get much joy I guess it's a little convoluted and only likely to happen very rarely in the professional game but I think it would make the miss rule work at all levels.

I'll write to the WBPSA and share their reply.


I am glad you checked back in BiskitBoy. About writing the WPBSA, I did find a video in which an opinion was sought from professional players regarding the topic of "ball in hand" after a miss or a series of misses. The link for it is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RNIyuwG2v4

In general, the pros opt to leave the rule as is. However (and this is a big however), your proposed solution is DIFFERENT than anything else that has been talked about up to this point and I believe that most people think they understand what you are suggesting but in reality, they don't. So be sure to explain yourself clearly.

Here is an analogy that I think of to help explain this: there is an anecdotal story about two siblings, let's say brother and sister, who will bicker and argue about anything. So there is one large slice of pie for dessert and the mother knows that when she cuts it up, they will quibble over who gets the bigger slice. So what is the "fair" way to resolve in which neither party can complain about his or her lot? It is called "cut and choose" and it works like this: the first sibling, say the brother, cuts the pie into what he believes are the most absolutely equal pieces that he can. But then the sister has the right to choose which of the two slices she wants. That way, there is no advantage to the cutter cutting one slice larger than the other; equity is its own reward.

Your suggested scenario is similar....if the "fouler" really believes that he is better off to just give his opponent ball in hand, then he should be able to do that. Of course, a professional will almost NEVER give away the ball in hand (just the rare occasion when the lie of the table is difficult) so it will have virtually no effect on the professional game, but an amateur league player would be much better to give away the ball in hand rather than fouling ten times in a series.

I really think this is brilliant and I hope you can get someone important to pay attention.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby BiskitBoy

Hi ACESINC,

Just to let you know, I've been informed by World Snooker that my proposal is on the agenda for the next meeting of the WPBSA rules commitee.

BiskitBoy.

Re: Miss rule in local leagues

Postby acesinc

BiskitBoy wrote:Hi ACESINC,

Just to let you know, I've been informed by World Snooker that my proposal is on the agenda for the next meeting of the WPBSA rules commitee.

BiskitBoy.


This is great news, BiskitBoy! I wish you the absolute best of luck in this worthwhile endeavour!

BiskitBoy wrote:...
It seems such an obvious rule change to me but when I've suggested it in passing to my fellow league players I don't really get much joy...


I know exactly what you mean by this. It seems to me that the players in my club generally believe that snooker is only "good and proper" snooker when following the letter of the rule book. The irony of course is that a player fluking a really tough snooker (which seems to most often be the case among league amateurs rather than an actual successful attempted snooker), then calling the opponent for a lengthy "foul and a miss" sequence is in reality the polar opposite of "good and proper" snooker. It seems to be the rare soul who actually appears to understand this nuance. Even when a devious snooker has been purposefully laid, there have been those in my club who have argued that they deserve every point they can get because they played the shot so well. My answer to that (foolish) argument is, hey, what about if you play the most fantastic black ball in the History of Snooker? Surely, that should be worth more than just seven points? Finish the frame with a flourish--black off spot, top cushion, side cushion, baulk cushion, opposite side, then back in the natural corner (an Alex Higgins specialty)...four cushions, how about 28 points? This line of reasoning of course makes no sense at all and was never the intention of the "foul and a miss" rule.

Again, best of luck, and be patient. It seems to me that this sort of thing may need to age for a while before being accepted, but I do hope it moves quickly.


   

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