Do the Rules of Snooker cater for an ‘impossible’ snooker?
In snooker, it is possible for a player to be faced with a snooker from which it is, literally, impossible to escape. Obviously, such a situation is rare, but could occur, say, if a player pots a red and the cue ball becomes surrounded by a cluster of reds, or if the cue ball comes to rest in the jaws of a pocket and becomes obstructed by a colour. Either way, a player cannot anything but a foul stroke.
However, Section 3, 14 of the ‘Official Rules of Snooker and English Billiards’ explicity covers this scenario. Initially, the rule states, ‘The striker shall, to the best of his ability, endeavour to hit the ball on.’ Nevertheless, in a situation ‘where it is impossible to hit the ball on’, for whatever reason, the striker should play ‘directly or indirectly, at the ball on with sufficient strength, in the referee’s opinion, to have reached the ball on but for the obstructing ball or balls.’
Regardless of the outcome of the shot, the referee will call ‘Foul’, but, provided the player has played the shot with enough pace to hit the nominated object ball, not ‘Foul and a Miss’. Obviously, the ‘referee’s opinion’ is subjective, so it still possible that ‘Foul and a Miss’ may be called, in which case, the non-offender has the options of requesting that the offender plays again, from the original position, once the balls have been replaced, or from the position left, or to take his turn to play.