View Full Version : Ref ruled a no-call 'safe' a called pocket?

phil in sofla
05-08-2003, 03:32 PM
In our 8-ball league, we play call pocket, which is required, unless the shot is obvious.

In the playoffs, the league provides a ref to rule whenever the players cannot agree on a call, with his/her call final, no appeal or protest allowed, which I understand.

Our player was down to two balls, middle of the table, with one ball close to the eight and with the two of them lined up for the 8 to the corner. He had no obvious shot, and to my mind, was clearly looking to play safe, looking at just nudging off that ball to go to the long rail in a spot he would snooker his opponent on his last ball. He didn't indicate any ball or pocket he was trying, did thin his ball, got to the rail where he wanted to go based on how he had sighted the shot, took one look to verify he'd snookered his man, and then left the table.

At the same time, the ball he thinned caromed off the 8, and trickled into the nearby side pocket. While he could see his remaining ball, there wasn't any reasonable shot on it, and the other team demanded he shoot again. To my mind, they were pulling a fast one, since if I knew he was playing safe, it should have been quite clear to them as well.

The situation was degenerating into a lot of outraged yelling, and the ref was not making a ruling, waiting for it to be resolved, but mentioned if we couldn't resolve it, she could direct a re-rack and playing the game again. Her final decision was that since SHE had no idea what he was doing, the ball would count as a called pocket, and he had to shoot from there.

It seems that if she didn't know what he was doing, and if the other team didn't know, he clearly hadn't called a pocket, meaning that even though the ball went, it wouldn't count for him. I'm confident had he gotten shape on his next ball in that situation, the other team would have argued the other way, that it wasn't obvious and wasn't called, so he should sit down.

Two additional factors might be considered. One was, they said, that he hadn't called anything before, either. (Not entirely true, since I heard him call one or more shots. But they were all obvious up to that point, straight ins or simple cuts directly to a pocket.) The other was that he plays well, hadn't miscued, and clearly ended up where he wanted to, where he had no decent shot.

Do you agree with her call, or should she have ruled the other way?

05-08-2003, 03:42 PM
Hard to say without being there, but in her shoes I THINK I'd agree with your opponents. If all it took was a tiny nudge to get the ball into the pocket, then your player should have known that it was likely to go and should have made the clarifying call. While it might have been a good safe opportunity, it seems he also could have been "out" had he made the ball with some effort to play shape. Since he failed to make a call, no reason to let him say "oops, that was a safe" after hooking himself (opponent's point of view).

Always try to avoid leaving these things open to interpretation.


05-08-2003, 04:05 PM
No I don't agree. If she didn't know what was going on the game should have been replayed. That IMO is the fair way to settle something like this. Sometimes a little carom off another ball might look obvious to another player (it only takes one). Since it was a playoff things take one a new meaning. Sometimes others are just looking for any excuse for an advantage. That's the way it is and always will be in leagues. Not everyone of course but it happens.

What I don't understand is the last sentence about no miscue etc. I can't see how that is even a factor. He either played the ball or didn't. Since that can not be positive yes or no, I go with replay the game.


05-08-2003, 06:20 PM

First of all, BCA rules also call for "called pocket" when it isn't obvious, and when a safty is intended. Were you playing by BCA rules? Was a ppocket called or a safety?

At the same time, the ball he thinned caromed off the 8, and trickled into the nearby side pocket. While he could see his remaining ball, there wasn't any reasonable shot on it, and the other team demanded he shoot again. <hr /></blockquote>

Did he call this shot or not? You said he didn't. Can you give us a WEI table diagram because it's really hard to picture this set up.

He didn't indicate any ball or pocket he was trying, did thin his ball, got to the rail where he wanted to go based on how he had sighted the shot, took one look to verify he'd snookered his man, and then left the table.
<hr /></blockquote>

But found out he pocketed a ball from the previous quote. Clearly from this explanation, he had intended to perform a safety and hadn't called it. Is that all right to do so in your league? Ouch if it is.

When the ref is called over after the fact, and cannot truly establish the situation in contention, it is correct to demand a re-rack of the game.

And yes, you cannot question the legality of the ref's ruling if they have been established as the authority in the tournament.

So, I concur that the rack should be re-played.


05-08-2003, 06:41 PM
I just looked up the rule. I was quite surprised that the player who didn't call safety and sunk one of their balls is forced to shoot again, I was under the impression that it was the opponents choice to either shoot or send the guy who sunk the ball back in. Either way I would go with your opponents being right.

For tactical reasons, a player may choose to pocket an obvious object ball and also discontinue a turn at the table by declaring "safety" in advance. A safety shot is defined as a legal shot. If the shooting player intends to play safe by pocketing an obvious object ball, then prior to the shot, the shooter must declare a "safety" to the opponent. It is the shooter's responsibility to make the opponent aware of the intended safety shot. If this is not done, and one of the shooter's object balls is pocketed, the shooter will be required to shoot again. Any ball pocketed on a safety shot remains pocketed.

Cheers - qSHAFT

05-08-2003, 07:07 PM
We don't know that they were playing BCA. Even so there is this part of the sentence, (If the shooting player intends to play safe by pocketing an obvious object ball,)

We don't know it was obvious and he didn't call a safe. Even if you were there it may or may not have been obvious. Some may say yes and some say no. Who knows, I don't.


05-08-2003, 07:12 PM
Ok guys, here's the shot. The 2 ball traveled cross side here so it wasn't an obvious shot ticking off the 8 ball.


This is the shot that was left. An obvious safety.


I stayed out of it. The referee had no idea what happened.


05-08-2003, 07:37 PM
I don't know how that ball travled across side and left the c/b there but it does look like a safety play. The c/b only traveled about 8" after hitting the 2, right? BTW it was the 10 ball you have shown. He was shooting solids?

~~~ rod, doesn't see a way for that ball to bank and leave whitey there.

Fran Crimi
05-08-2003, 08:26 PM
The problem I think, is that this isn't a real referee situation. A ref is either reffing the game or they are not reffing the game. If they are standing there watching every shot, then they should be reffing the game. The way you stated it is that the players are actually reffing their own game and the ref is there only to resolve disputes. So, it seems that if both sides agreed on a wrong ruling, then the ref couldn't say anything. That's ridiculous.

Second, a screaming match should never have taken place in front of a ref. That says to me that the players had no respect whatsoever for the presence of a ref.

Third, the ref didn't know when to intervene because of the nutty rule that she can't until it's obvious you guys aren't going to agree.

IMO, her ruling was wrong, because if she was standing there watching the shot and didn't know what the player intended to do, it obviously wasn't an obvious shot. In that case the pocketed ball shouldn't have counted. But the way the whole situation was set up was doomed for disaster from the start.

If you're going to have a ref, then please let them ref the game, and get one that's qualified while you're at it.


05-08-2003, 08:51 PM
Rod, the 2 ball went to the OPPOSITE side. Sorry I didn't explain that better on the diagram. None of us even realized it went in.LOL We were all shocked.


phil in sofla
05-09-2003, 04:02 PM
Fran, I think you got it exactly right.

Among the problems was that the ref didn't know her role. If the PLAYERS disagree on the ruling on a shot, the captains get involved to try to decide it WHEN THERE ISN'T A LEAGUE OFFICIAL THERE. But not when an official is there, as they are in all playoff games. Then, the official short circuits the wrangling of the captains by making the ruling as the first resort, not the last resort.

Discussing it with her later, she made it clear to me that she was holding back, to allow us, the two teams, to come to some agreement. It shouldn't have been left to anyone, even a minute, once the players disagreed. She should have just made her call, one way or the other, or, maybe, if she wanted to see if it could be sorted out, told everyone but me and the other captain to sit down, shut up, and let us two talk only.

In some rules, I have seen what constitutes an 'obvious' shot, by reference to what are automatically considered NOT obvious: combos, banks, kicks, and carom shots. If that standard had been applied, this was a carom shot (his solid ball going in off a carom from the 8), and therefore NOT obvious, and therefore NOT a shot that if made, without a call, means his turn would continue.

The one factor weighing against us, besides the ref's ruling, was that the situation wouldn't have arisen even in theory if our guy had only called 'safe' before shooting. Maybe, since it was avoidable by something that almost all of us do when we're playing safe, even if no ball is remotely seen as possibly going in the hole, our 'bad' in that way takes away from our complaint that we were robbed on the call.

phil in sofla
05-09-2003, 04:17 PM
My point about the miscue question is that IF he got the shape he wanted, the shape he gave himself on his next ball was bad, the leave he left the opponent was a snooker on his last ball, which supports the view that he was playing safe. IF he had miscued, and dribbled into a position, then the position wouldn't indicate what he had planned to do, necessarily.

Maybe, had he miscued, he could have been thought to have intended to make his ball, leave himself a better shot than he got, and just screwed up his stroke and failed to get his shape.

Since he shot it with no problem, got the cue ball to exactly where he had intended it to go the way he lined it up and sighted back to the opponent's ball before shooting, common sense and general pool knowledge (and his pre-shot indications of where he wanted the cue ball to end up, as it did) would indicate he had indeed played safe on the shot.

phil in sofla
05-09-2003, 04:29 PM

This is a better look at the situation. The 2-8 combo was about dead to the corner pocket, and I was worried even before the shot that glancing off the 2 might make the 8. Frank hit the 2 quite softly, on an angle, to keep the 8 from going down, and to get and keep the cue on the rail when it came off the 2.

All of that happened, and then the 2 had just enough on it to get to the hole and barely drop in. So it wasn't as if a bare nudge would surely make the 2 drop. Hitting it enough to be sure the 2 would go would likely have made the 8, IMO.

And, although the 90 carom line SEEMED dead to the side, getting the cue ball to the side rail as was done required hitting the 2 off that line, and it was only that the ball was so close to the hole that the line it went down pocketed it.

05-10-2003, 07:05 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote phil in sofla:</font><hr>

....the situation wouldn't have arisen even in theory if our guy had only called 'safe'.... <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="red"> BINGO </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Will we never learn....

For that reason alone I would tend to rule against your player if I were the ref. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

I always call safes. Avoids a lot of problems.