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Calling When Billiard Coach Commits A Foul


Calling When Billiard Coach Commits A Foul

Greetings all. New here (with some persistence) (webmaster knows; G. did a great job!) I like the site and all who elevate the game with their knowledge and civility.

I found myself parsing the rules on a couple points not clearly covered. One was hypothetical. The other created some drama which was fielded by my captain (a long standing board member, local league).

My question: This involves local league play. Yes, we have a rule book, but it is way small compared to other official rules and does not give too much in the way of specifics. So, if these came up in say BCA or TAP or APA how would it be handled?

  • Hypothetical: player is lining up a shot on the eight ball, about to shoot, pocket has been called, opposing team has a player on a practice table adjacent to league play (common occurrence), shooter has the butt of his cue bumped by the practice player and commits what looks like a cue ball foul. What is the call? How to proceed?
  • Drama: this happened to me during a regular league night. I was in the chair. My opponent called a time out for a coach. The coach came to the table and gave advice and in the process of pointing to the cue ball indicating how much English, inadvertently moved the cue ball with his finger. I immediately asked (in a voice that can be heard by all) "So, how does that affect the game? Moving the cue ball like that?"

The coach gave a guilty look and before everyone was aware of what had happened picked the cue ball up and re-positioned it, as if to make everything right. My captain called a foul (BIH).

Some low level grumbling continued as I went on to win. With time, the grumbling morphed into "SHOW ME in the rule book where it says...!" And my sportsmanship was called into question by each of their team declaring that "they would never call such a foul" and that I had done it as a cheap way to a win. I take offense to that in spite of the fact that I did everything to defuse the situation. It is firmly in my value system to call fouls on myself, even if no one is around!

I didn't call the foul and I wasn't desperate in any way (it was a shutout!). In part to keep the peace, I let my captain who has more experience and is a board member do the talking. But, the guy who moved the cue ball and was trying to save face said something that was valid in spite of the trash talk. He wanted to see the rule in writing. Maybe not possible if its not covered. I'm already 'over it', but I was offended when sportsmanship was called into question because I continue to demonstrate the high moral ground typified by calling fouls on myself even when nobody is around!

I hope somebody here would like to weigh in. I anticipate your questions about our rule and after scouring the pamphlet I found this: "If in the course of shooting, a player touches or moves the cue ball with his/her hands, clothing, cue, etc., it is a foul and the opponent has ball in hand."

On this site under general billiard rules I found 3.21, 3.25, 3.35, 3.22 to all be relevant, but even then there is room for discussion.

In summary, I agree with the person on this forum who said rules require a penalty phase and rules are not for our picking and choosing which to comply with. That said, I always measure the 'gravity' of a match with my verbalization; That is, choosing to hold tournaments to a higher standard. League is generally friendly but carries the seriousness of qualifying by win averages to compete in an annual citywide tournament.

This question relates to the following billiard rules:

Calling When Billiard Coach Commits A Foul

Replies & Comments

  1. MudbellZeke on 7/15/2015 6:32:59 PM

    Rules covering things like this need to be announced BEFORE they occur. If there's money involved - even a beer, it's a foul. If you're playing for bragging rights only - and everyone agrees to permit a waiver on this sort of foul, make sure it is uniformly enforced.

  2. MudbellMudbell on 7/15/2015 7:57:23 PM

    Hello Zeke.

    It sounds like you and I are on the same page. The implications of your reply point to the shortcomings of our local league. Play is generally friendly but the stakes are still high in the sense that matches during the year determined by win averages qualify (or not) entry into the big annual tournament. In that tournament the rewards are money, trophies and bragging rights.

    The reason I posted this question is to find out if there is any concensus in APA, BCA, TAP or the like. That would be helpful when it comes time to improve our rule book. In addition, my post listed some key rules from the General Billiard Rules on this site. They are not entirely clear on this either. Would love to hear from somebody who has refereed a major tournament and had to apply the "intent of the law" so to speak in real time.

    I hear you when it comes to other types of games. Wager games usually don't involve coaching unless its like "table talk" during a card game.

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Calling When Billiard Coach Commits A Foul

  • Title: Calling When Billiard Coach Commits A Foul
  • Author: (Doug Ebert)
  • Published: 7/15/2015 2:08:50 PM