Shaun Murphy questioned the referee during his first-round match at the Gibraltar Open after being told he had five shots to end a deadlock situation.
Murphy was trailing Ashley Hugill 2-0 when the players began to spar over a red tucked on the baulk cushion.
With the red an easy option, and the other reds dotted about in risky positions down the other end of the table, the pair were reluctant to do anything but tip-tap around until official Ben Williams intervened.
Why Selby’s unapologetic pursuit of greatness gives snooker headache
Williams told the players they had five shots each to end the impasse or he would call a re-rack.
With Murphy 32-0 ahead in the third frame, it meant the burden of trying something different rested with him, knowing all too well that Hugill would happily play for a re-rack. And he wasn't best pleased, as the following exchange highlights...
- 'It's the rules' - Referee has 'very strong word' with Si over dress code
- 'You just wait for an early night' - O’Sullivan on unstoppable Higgins
- 'The best ever' – Higgins lauds O’Sullivan after winning title
'I’m 32 points ahead, why is the onus on me?'
Ben Williams: "We can’t keep going on like this. We have to resolve the situation."
Shaun Murphy: "Isn’t the onus on Ashley to play an attacking shot?"
BW: "Well, the onus is on you to play an attacking shot as well."
SM: "But I’m 32 points ahead, why is the onus on me?"
BW: "Well… that’s the situation we’ve come to. That’s why I’ve given you five strokes."
SM: "So what you’re saying is if he played this another four times, the frame starts again and my lead goes."
SM: "So you’ve basically told Ashley what he can do for the next four shots."
BW: "That’s why I’ve given you both five strokes each, because of your 32-point lead. Now we need to carry on Shaun please."
Whoops! Shaun Murphy produces brilliant snooker... on himself!
'I agree with the referee'
The Eurosport commentary duo of Phil Studd and Neal Foulds sided with the referee over the furore, although Foulds did suggest it might have been wiser to give Murphy the final shot in the overall 10-shot limit.
Neal Foulds: "I agree with the referee. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what Ben Williams has done there.
Phil Studd: "Yeah, I don’t think the onus is on Hugill for sure. It’s got to be, by definition, on the player who has the numerical advantage in the frame because they want to benefit from that advantage. Clearly, their opponent doesn’t want to change the status quo. So it’s got to be the player who wants the frame to progress to alter the situation."
After returning to the table, Murphy broke the deadlock with his next shot - sort of - by leaving Hugill with a difficult red along the top rail.
And an engaging affair had a limp finale when Hugill’s shot found the jaws and bounced to safety, with Murphy swooping in to win the frame before winning the next three to progress 4-2.
World Seniors Championship
World Seniors Championship - White and Hendry among snooker legends eyeing glory
'Wow!' - O'Sullivan, Selby and Murphy with Shot of the Tournament contenders