The question that comes to mind at the end of the first half of the season, is does playing in D. E. & F grades preclude those players from following the rules, that is club and playing rules, of snooker. Judging from some reactions experienced lately that would seem to be the case. My contention, of course, is that no-one is exempt from observing, what are, to a great extent, some very simple rules. There are some rules of snooker that cover situations that do not occur very often and for that reason only are slightly obscure and are deemed to be difficult. This is absolutely not the case. Obscure, they maybe, difficult, they are not.
Yes, I agree that to memorise all the rules is not easy but memorising the rule for what is, or is not, a push shot is no more difficult than memorising that the rule for legally potting the black ball is the awarding of seven points. I believe that every player in this club has an obligation to all other players, and especially to those in his own grade, not only to know the rules, but to be able to interpret those rules properly in the execution of his refereeing duties every week. Now maybe this is showing to much optimism on my part and I will concede that not everyone has the desire to memorise all the “obscure” rules, this I can accept and I don’t believe that anyone should be penalized for this lack of desire, but I would suggest that when something unusual, or outside the accepted norm, occurs, advice should be sought and heeded. In the same vane, I would also like to think that when the players who know the rules point them out to the players not using them, that the offending players would take the advice in the spirit in which it is intended and that the intention of the advising players is always to assist and not to criticize.
Of course there is always one exception, and the exception to simplicity is the foul and miss rule. Let me try to change “complication” and bring this rule into the “simple” fold of all other rules. Quite simply do not use it. Now I hope it will not escape you that I am speaking a little tongue in cheek here, naturally we cannot discard official playing rules but this rule is very ambiguous in its definition and is open to interpretation in cases where a player is snookered, in this context I would suggest that in 99% of situations the foul and miss should not be called as long as the player has tried to hit a ball on and with sufficient power to reach that ball. When no snooker is involved in the foul and when snookers are not required, then, as we all should know, there is no ambiguity in the rule, and interpretation is, again, simple. Let me say again that I am always happy to assist any member with questions on the rules and am open to discussion on the interpretations.
The other question that comes to mind is the obligations of playing members. As mentioned earlier, knowing and being able to interpret the rules is one, another is actually being in attendance to be able to referee. Playing your game and then disappearing is not on. A condition of membership and one of V.M.S.Cs rules is that all games will be refereed and marked by the players in either round not playing on any given table. (Rule books are available to any member who does not have one, if not, why not?)
To end on a lighter note I would like to remind all members that the premier grade players have all expressed their willingness to provide coaching at basic levels after games have been played on Thursday nights.