Hi guys, I am new to your forum and have been going through a lot of the old threads and I have found quite a few that seem to be left dangling with unanswered queries. I tend to be a stickler for details and very much consider myself a "rules guy". I know that most would find reading the rule book cover to cover akin to watching paint dry, but I have done just that quite a few times now. So when a question like this is out there, I am compelled to leap into action.
The rule in question has been revised as a direct result of the referenced situation with Ronnie and John Higgins. The most recent rule regarding this, Section 3. Rule 14., now states:
(e) After the cue-ball has been replaced under this Rule, and the striker fouls any ball, including the cue-ball while preparing to play a stroke, a miss will not be called if a stroke has not been played. In this case the appropriate penalty will be imposed. The next player may then elect to play himself or ask the offender to play again from the position left or the original position. If being asked to play again, the ball on shall be the same as prior to the last stroke made, namely:
(i) any Red, where Red was the ball on;
(ii) the color on, where all Reds were off the table; or
(iii) a color of the striker's choice, where the ball on was a color after a Red had been potted;
If the above situation arises during a sequence of miss calls as described under paragraph (d), any warning concerning the possible awarding of the frame to his opponent shall remain in effect."
I have emboldened the particularly relevant passages. So what this is saying is that if a "foul and a miss" sequence has begun, then the returning, fouling striker commits some other type of penalty, such as moving any ball or anything else really, then it will not be CALLED as a "foul and a miss"(just called as a "foul"), but that is essentially how it is treated...exactly the same as if it was "foul and a miss" with the balls put back and all if that is what the incoming striker wants. It is just a technical nuance....it can only be a "foul and a miss" if a stroke is played so this is how it is handled if a foul is committed before the stroke is actually played.
So to put this in perspective to the original post, what the proper ruling is depends on if a "foul and a miss" sequence has yet begun. Re-reading the original post, I will assume that no "foul and a miss" has yet occurred so the situation is simply a straightforward foul like any other, that is, "foul, five away" (because of the blue involved) and the incoming striker has choice to play or pass back the shot at hand (meaning that putting the fouling striker back in now puts him on red, not colour).
If the original poster's situation had already had at least one "foul and a miss" called, the situation is modified slightly in that the incoming striker would then have three possible options: 1. play the shot at hand (on red as the balls lie) 2. put the fouling striker back in for the shot at hand (on red as the balls lie) or 3. put the fouling striker back in with balls replaced and still striking colour. Note that if the incoming striker chooses option 3., then the returning fouling striker is NOT obliged to play at the same colour; he can nominate any other colour as the "ball on" so in your case, he does not necessarily have to remain on blue.
To qualify myself for this information, I am a Yank living in the USA who fell in love with the game of snooker when I lived in North Yorks for three years in the mid-80's. I have taken a basic referee training course though I am not a certified referee. I fell away from snooker for a lot of years due to lack of an information link, but the age of the Internet allows me the pleasure of following this great pastime again. Having just found your forum, one of the things I love is the apparent honesty and integrity of the contributors. To look at the "American" snooker forums (which in reality have mostly Canadian contributors), you find that every other contributor seems to run a century every other time they pick up a cue. And if they don't, it is obviously because they got a kick or whatever some such nonsense. It is good to find people who seem to understand the real game of snooker, not just an internet facade.