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Free Ball

Postby Cons B

Can any clear up this free ball question. Many years ago I was coached by good top amateur and I remember him saying that you can nominate free ball and snooker behind that ball IF there is another ball between the object ball and the ball you snooker behind.
I'll use this example if I'm not making sense.

Say all reds have been potted and all colours are on the table. My opponent goes in off the yellow so I have ball in had. Unfortunately the yellow stops behind the pink and is situated so I can't hit both sides of the yellow, so a free ball is called. Would I be allowed to snooker behind the colour I have nominated as a free ball, bearing in mind there is another colour between my nominated free ball and the yellow.

Nobody I have spoken to so far has been able to answer this question in 40 yrs so I thought now is the time to put it to bed. Thanks

Re: Free Ball

Postby Dan-cat

Ace question... looking forward to the responses. Acesinc...?

Re: Free Ball

Postby Wildey

you can not roll behind a free ball for a snooker because as soon as that colour ball becomes a free ball it becomes the object ball ie red yellow etc etc so you cant snooker on a red behind a effective red the free ball.

it would be like snookering on a red behind a red but in that instance you can still see the red ball but with a free ball it will revert back to its original value after the shot is played

Re: Free Ball

Postby Cons B

Maybe I didn't explain it very well as I don't understand the reply. Let me try to give a better example.

All colours are on the table. My opponent goes in off the yellow, so I have cue ball in hand. When the yellow stopped it landed directly behind & touching the black which is on it's own spot. The brown ball is also on it's own spot. I place the cue ball in the Dee behind the brown... I then nominate the brown as my free ball... I then roll up behind the brown. So all balls are in a direct line...white, brown, black and yellow... So black is between my free ball ( brown) and object ball (yellow) therefore, theoretically if the brown ball was moved out of the way my opponent would still be snookered behind the black. Is that any clearer.

Re: Free Ball

Postby Wildey

Doesn't Matter you can not roll in behind a free ball that's a foul.

Re: Free Ball

Postby acesinc

Cons B wrote:Can any clear up this free ball question. Many years ago I was coached by good top amateur and I remember him saying that you can nominate free ball and snooker behind that ball IF there is another ball between the object ball and the ball you snooker behind.
I'll use this example if I'm not making sense...
...
Nobody I have spoken to so far has been able to answer this question in 40 yrs so I thought now is the time to put it to bed. Thanks


You explained your situation very well and Wildey is exactly correct.

When I received my referee training, one of the things that very clearly stuck in my mind stated by my Class 1 qualified and very experienced instructor was, "Do not expect that the players will actually know and understand the rules. They won't."

He then went on to give me several examples of professional players demonstrating their ignorance under his oversight of the match.

So, in your example, the proper rule is quite easily defined. It is simply in the definition of the term "snooker" Section 2., rule 17.:
"(b) If the cue-ball is so obstructed from hitting a ball on by more than one ball
not on:
(i) the ball nearest to the cue-ball is considered to be the effective
snookering ball..."

meaning in effect that it is not legal to simply roll up behind any ball nominated as a "free ball" leaving the next ball on snookered behind that free ball. So to roll up behind the brown in your stated situation is a foul no matter where the blue, pink, or black may be situated as the brown would be the effective "snookering ball".

There is one and only one exception to this rule, Section 3., Rule 12., (b), (ii), says that if ONLY Pink and Black are left on the table, and Black is nominated as the "free ball", then in that case it is LEGAL to snooker behind the Black ball.

Re: Free Ball

Postby Cons B

Thanks very much to both of you for answering my question quickly & clearly. I only repeated the question as I thought I had not explained myself clearly and not because I doubted the first answer. Many thanks

Re: Free Ball

Postby elnino

ACESINC is spot on as usual.

ACESINC also correctly points out the exception to the rule namely when only Pink and Black are left in a game.

Simply the ball nearest the cue ball after the stroke is completed is the EFFECTIVE snookering ball.

Con B in the example you quoted the nominated free ball and the eventual snookering ball is the Brown. Therefore a foul is committed.

Now how would you judge the following two scenarios:-

1. After playing brown as a free ball, balls come to rest with green and brown obstructing access to the ball on.

(a) Would it be a foul if the green is nearest to the cue ball.
(b) What happens if the green and brown are equidistant from the cue ball.

2. After a foul, each of the last two reds are snookered by different balls not on. Striker nominates one of the snookering balls as his free ball and rolls up gently behind it, touching it in the process. Is this a foul or a fair stroke.

Re: Free Ball

Postby Cons B

ARHHH.....now you're testing me:)

I've been playing along time, about 41yrs but only in the local amateur leagues, which, beleive it or not is more of a friendly social league with only 14 teams, but a great night and enjoyed by all. We play to win but that isn't be all end all and I must confess I don't know all the rules as you've witnessed with my recent question...but I'll have a go.

1a. I would call no foul as the green is nearest the cue ball & not the nominated free ball.
1b. I really don't know the answer who gets the benefit of doubt...I would prob..say no foul

2. I would say it depends if he can hit both sides of the 2nd red ....normal rule would apply if he can.

How did I do

Re: Free Ball

Postby acesinc

Cons B wrote:ARHHH.....now you're testing me:)

...


I logged in because I thought of something to add to my earlier response, and I also see the additions to the thread.

So first, I believe the confusion of your first query, which is very common, is based on the fact that your example is indeed a foul stroke, but the complete OPPOSITE scenario to your example would not be foul. By complete opposite, I mean imagine this scenario instead....on colours, White in off Yellow, ball in hand, Brown on spot, Yellow comes to rest exactly behind Black on spot. Brown is nominated as free ball but instead of a roll up, the striker smacks it good stopping the White dead behind the Brown spot. Somehow, ONLY the Brown and Black end up moving and in fact switch places ("complete opposite" to your example) so that Black is now on Brown spot and free ball Brown is now on Black spot in front of the Yellow. NOW, even though you can casually say that the free ball Brown is also "snookering" the Yellow, by the proper definition of "snooker", only the ball nearest to White, the "non-free ball" Black is considered to be the effective snookering ball so this a completely legal and fair stroke.

Granted, that exact scenario is never likely to occur, but variations of it happen all the time. The spots and balls on spots make for simple visual reference but the important thing to always remember is the concept of "effective snookering ball". So whether on purpose or a fluke, it is always a foul for the "effective snookering ball" to be the same as the nominated free ball (except in the case of Pink and Black as stated earlier, another common point of confusion). (Hint: this concept of "effective snookering ball" will come in very handy to explain the answers to El Nino's questions later.)

Cons B wrote:...

How did I do?



He-he....you did, um,....about average.

I will keep mum on these queries for a bit and let others enjoy.
IMHO, these are some of El Nino's most interesting questions yet, perhaps for some surprising reasons. ;-)

Re: Free Ball

Postby Dan-cat

Love these threads. I thought I knew the rules inside out until you lot started unravelling it all!!!

Re: Free Ball

Postby acesinc

Looks like no more takers on El Nino's challenge so we will put it to rest:

elnino wrote:...
Now how would you judge the following two scenarios:-

1. After playing brown as a free ball, balls come to rest with green and brown obstructing access to the ball on.

(a) Would it be a foul if the green is nearest to the cue ball.
(b) What happens if the green and brown are equidistant from the cue ball.

2. After a foul, each of the last two reds are snookered by different balls not on. Striker nominates one of the snookering balls as his free ball and rolls up gently behind it, touching it in the process. Is this a foul or a fair stroke.


Cons B wrote:...

How did I do?


Cons B, I would say you did about average because, probably like most players would do, you got one of the three answers correct.

1. (a) Correct, fair stroke as Brown was nominated free ball and Green is the effective snookering ball.
1. (b) Incorrect. In the very rare event that the referee were to declare the Green and Brown as equidistant from the cue ball (as rare as the elusive "simultaneous hit" if not even more so), then BOTH balls are considered to be effective snookering entities so that it would be a foul had either of them been nominated as free ball and the balls came to rest in this position.
Another understandable point of confusion about this "equidistant" scenario is that, perhaps counter-intuitively, it is completely irrelevant what the location of the ball on is behind the effective snookering entities. Let me try to explain....the easiest explanation is that Yellow was the ball on, Brown was declared free ball, and the balls come to rest amazingly with Green and Brown touching each other, White on one side of them touching both Green and Brown, and Yellow on the other side touching both Green and Brown...a perfect diamond! So the White is equidistant from the Green and Brown (touching both) and the Yellow has been fouled since it is effectively "co-snookered" by the free ball and Yellow is also equidistant from Green and Brown.
Now let's change that scenario just slightly. When they come to rest, all balls are now exactly like above EXCEPT the Yellow comes to rest touching the Green ball but not touching the Brown ball; you can say it is more behind the Green than it is behind the Brown. Is it still a foul? The answer is yes, foul stroke. The position of the ball on in relation to the effective snookering entities makes no difference at all, the only important part of it is that the cue ball is equidistant from the snookering entities. One cannot say that the Yellow is "more snookered" behind the Green and "less snookered" behind Brown; it is either snookered or it is not.
But in any case, the "equidistant" scenario happens about as often as all the planets come into perfect alignment. When there is physical distance between the White and the potential effective snookering balls, the referee can use any measuring device he or she wishes and will almost certainly determine that one or the other is in fact closer to the cue ball.

2. Incorrect (if I am correctly understanding your answer). This one is a common test question for a referee. The easy way to explain it is thus: following a foul stroke, the colours on spots, last two Reds are on the table and the balls come to rest with the White exactly on the baulk line between Green and Brown, one Red exactly on the baulk line outside the Green, and the other Red exactly on the baulk line between Brown and Yellow. The striker declares Brown as the free ball and simply rolls the White along the baulk line to touch the Brown snookering one Red behind free ball Brown and snookering the other Red behind non-free ball Green.
For this situation, there is actually a "special rule" written (Section 2., Rule 17. (c) if you care to look it up) that states that in such a situation, "...there is no effective snookering ball", but I actually prefer to simply follow the same logic from the above situations, then no "special rule" is really necessary. Think about it...if all of the Reds were to be effectively snookered behind the free ball Brown, it would be a foul stroke. But if any Red anywhere on the table is effectively snookered behind some other non-free ball, then how could it possibly be a foul? It is not. In the same way that you are allowed to nominate a free ball and then use it to lay a snooker behind some other ball, this is what you have essentially done...nominated Brown as free ball and laid a snooker behind the Green.

Sorry for the long post on this one, but of course, when dealing with the Rules of Snooker, precision language is required.

Re: Free Ball

Postby elnino

Yes. Just summarizing the answers:

Scenario 1

1. After playing brown as a free ball, balls come to rest with green and brown obstructing access to the ball on.

Question (a) Would it be a foul if the green is nearest to the cue ball.

Answer (a) No. When the ball-on is snookered by more than one ball the effective snookering ball is the one nearest to the cue-ball, green was not the nominated free ball.

Question (b) What happens if the green and brown are equidistant from the cue ball.


Answer (b) It is a foul because both green and brown are both effective snookering balls.

Scenario 2

Question After a foul, each of the last two reds are snookered by different balls not on. Striker nominates one of the snookering balls as his free ball and rolls up gently behind it, touching it in the process. Is this a foul or a fair stroke.

Answer It is a fair stroke the other red ball on the table is not snookered by the nominated ball. For a foul to be awarded the nominated ball must snooker the striker on ALL balls on.

Answer illustrated:

Position before Stroke is played:

Side Cushion
_______________________________________
O O O O O

Red1 Green Cue Ball Blue Red2


Player nominates the Blue Ball and gently rolls up behind it and touching it in process ( unable to do it in this drawing but imagine it so).

Position after the Stroke is played:

Side Cushion
_______________________________________
O O O O O

Red 1 Green Cue Ball Blue Red2

Clearly Red 2 is snookered by the nominated Blue ball. Red 1 isn’t. Therefore it was a fair stroke.

Re: Free Ball

Postby elnino

Apologies for the diagrams not replicating as intended. Formatting colours has obliteratedthe spaces between the balls!