Jan Verhaas*


Ask The Ref


We tracked down Dutch official Jan Verhaas at the Masters and got him to answer some of the questions you posted on the 606 website.

Q. I remember seeing an incident where a player had played a shot with the rest. After potting it he left the rest on the table for the referee to put away, however the balls were still in motion and one was going to hit the rest.

The referee had to pick the rest up quickly to avoid contact. Should he have done this or should he have just let the ball hit the rest and call a foul?

A. I think he should leave the rest where it is. If it's evident the ball is going to hit the rest then it's the player's responsibility.

A lot of players leave the rest these days for the referee to take away, but usually if they are fully aware the ball will not hit the equipment.

Q. What are your feelings on the miss rule? Some of the interpretations of it by referees are unfair in my opinion.

I can understand why it is implemented if there are reds open which are easier to hit, but when there's only one object ball, and it's difficult to hit, a miss surely cannot be called if a genuine attempt is made.

A. If it's a genuine attempt then fair enough, it won't be ruled a miss. There might be a situation on a red where he chooses a certain shot even though there's an easier option.

For example, he could have gone for two cushions rather than four. If he goes for the harder option then he has to hit the ball. But if he has only one option available to him then he shouldn't be penalised.

Q. Is there a grading scale for referees like there is in football?

A. There is a grading system on the amateur circuit, but on the professional circuit it's different. The professional referees get assessed by Eirian Williams and myself - we then make a decision.

If an amateur referee is ready to make the step up, then it's up to us whether to give him/her the green light or not.

Q. If a player requires an unlikely number of snookers to win, can the referee force him to concede?

A. In a nutshell, no. The concession lies with the player, even though sometimes we want them to give up.

Q. Do you ever get the temptation to groan in disappointment when a difficult pot is missed?

A. You don't groan or at least try not to. When a player gets a terrible kick at an important moment it's tempting to let out a noise.

Q. Who do you think is the greatest ever snooker player?

A. You have to say Stephen Hendry. He's won seven world titles, made a huge amount of century breaks and was Mr Consistent throughout the 1990s. Ronnie O'Sullivan is the most talented but Hendry is the best.

Q. Why do you wear gloves?

A. We wear normal cotton gloves to keep the balls grease free. Trust me, you sweat under those hot lights.



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