Referees – UK Championships
In time gone by referee’s were as popular as the players, probably the two most well known referee’s were John Williams (Who still runs event up at Pontins in Prestatyn) and Len Ganley (Father of current Tournament Director Mike Ganley)
One referee who put his gloves away from World Snooker events in 2005 will next week be back on our screens, not that we have not seen him on the TV and internet streams as he has still been refereeing The Premier League Snooker event, Paul collier In December 1991 became the youngest member of the Professional Snooker Referees Association, he took charge of the 2004 Embassy World Snooker Championships between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Graeme Dott he has also refereed both 9 Ball Pool and English Billiards World Championships.
The last event that Paul refereed was The Northern Ireland Trophy which fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens won, Matthew is playing on Saturday and it would be a great first match back for Paul to preside over Matthew Stevens and Ding Junhui.
Paul Collier’s website LINK
As Paul is back on tour next week we will be missing a regular face Michaela Tabb, she is will be refereeing at The 2010 PartyCasino.com Mosconi Cup from the 9th – 12th of December in Bethnal Green.
We caught up with Michaela a few weeks ago for a chat.
Kevin – Can you remember the first game you refereed and who was playing that match?
Michaela - Yes it was on The Challenge Tour in Harrogate, table 8 in the corner and the players were, Darren Lees and Darren Walker.
Kevin - A question that is asked quite often is where do referees get their gloves from?
Michaela – I get mine from a specialist glove company that hand make then (no punn intended I am sure) because all the others get theirs from Dents but they do not do ladies gloves and their small gloves are too big for me, I was getting mine from a company which has since gone into liquidation, what I did was to get in contact with the liquidation company and bought up all of their ladies gloves because I now know that I am stuck. I got about 90 pairs which should last me for the rest of my career to be honest, I had been looking for a alternative supplier already because they were getting so expensive, they are like £10 a pair, so when I found the liquidation company it was like all my Christmas’s had all came at once.
Kevin - So how many pairs do you get through in a average season?
Michaela – I probably start with 10 brand new pairs a season and keep those for TV work until they go a little bit bobbles, then I use them for qualifying.
Kevin – Are you happy with the move away from Pontins for the qualifying?
Michaela – I got mixed feelings about it I like Prestatyn, I liked the fact that you had the freedom to cook your own meals because I never went out for meals, everybody else done that, I liked the freedom you had in your own chalet as far as food was concerned. I am sure Sheffield is going to be great, don’t get me wrong I am not going to miss the traveling down to Prestatyn as Sheffield is a little closer but I liked it, at the end of the day when you get into these booths you could be anywhere, they are all the same so the working environment is the same.
Kevin – You used to play for the Scottish Ladies Pool team so you know the other side of a table quite well but have you played any of the pros on the main tour?
Michaela – No I have not, I have played the referees before, when we used to go to York, The Barbican they had a table in the hotel so we used to play there but I have not actually played any of the pros.
Kevin – While doing some research I found out that you were born in Bath, can you tell us about your move up to Scotland?
Michaela – My Dad got a promotion from The Naval Administration in Bath to Rosyth Dockyards in 1971, I was only 3 1/2 so I don’t really remember Bath at all.
Kevin – Is there any rules that you would change or remove completely form the rule book?
Michaela – Yes, the one personally because I come from a pool background that I can’t stand in Snooker because it is not being applied correctly is the push shot rule, there has been leeway given to players when they clip off the edge of the pack to get back up to bulk but the leeway has got a bit more and a bit more over time, it is a shot in my Pool career I would call a push shot but in Snooker we just do not do it and I think we should just get rid of it, as far as I am concerned it is not being adhered to properly.
Kevin – Is that a rules which is hard to judge?
Michaela - Well yes it is, it is mainly down to the players, whats happened is when the leeway has been allowed to get more and more when I stand there and think that it is a push shot the player coming to the table is not looking at me to make a call neither is the player walking away so they both do not think it is a push shot, its got to the point where they are more acceptable and if the players are happy then it seems silly to have the rule. It seems silly to have it the way it is written as a push shot is being played regularly.
Kevin – Do you have any input to changing the rules at all?
Michaela – The referees who were on the rules committee were the senior referees, Jan Verhass and Eirian Williams, if there was anything to discuss we would discuss it as a group, we would agree what the correct wording would be because some of the rules it is the wording that needs to be adjusted then Jan and Eirian would take it forward from there.
Kevin – If you were not involved in Pool or Snooker what do you think your alternate career would of been?
Michaela – Well what I did before was, I was a sales rep before I became a referee and to be fair I was darn good at it, so I would probably be still involved with sales.
Kevin - I attended The Snooker Legends event down in Reading with a few lads from Jesters in Swindon where you have refereed on The Challenge Tour, there was a incident where you picked up the cue ball off the bed of the table instead of the green from the pocket. YouTube Link I can see why you may have done it after watching you at The Snooker Legends because with The Legends you are interacting with the players, there was a raffle ticket winner and you picked up the object ball for him and moved it right in front of the pocket so he could pot it, so do you think that has transpired from The Legends to your work on the main tour.
Michaela – lol no, what happened with the cue ball was, it was 10 O’Clock in the morning, not completely awake but because I was talking to the audience at the same time and trying to pick the green out of the pocket I have gone in the wrong direction, I don’t think Stephen minded and we had a giggle about it. What we like to do with The Snooker Legends is have a bit of a laugh, what you want to do is make sure your raffle ticket holder and your player who has qualified to play gets a few shots on the table and the audience always love it it when you pick up a ball and move them around, the idea is to let the players have a little run, it is rare that The Legends will go on and knock in a century and not give the two guests a chance.
Kevin – If there was one game from history that your could referee which one would it be?
Michaela – That is a hard one but realistically it would have to be the 1985 final, because that is such a iconic match, failing that from a selfish point of view to say that I had done it the 1982 final that Alex Higgins won, but I am sure at the time I would not of enjoyed doing it.
Kevin – Do you engage in any other sports outside of Snooker?
Michaela – Not really, I like to go to the Gym when I can which is not as much as I should do and I play a lot of poker but I don’t think you can class that as a sport!
Kevin – So how has the poker transpired? is that from playing it with the boys on tour?
Michaela – Actually it started off because when I refereed the 9Ball the sponsor was one of the big gambling firms, I can’t remember which one but it was like Ladbrooks or PartyPoker.com and I had downloaded the software onto my computer adn I realised that you could go online and play but you were hidden behind a name so if you made a mistake nobody knew it was you, so I got into it that way but more through the Snooker refereeing now because alot of us do it while away as we all have a lot of dead time when you are away, that’s one thing I liked about Prestatyn, I used to take the poker boards and chips down with me and every other night we used to get together and have a poker night.
Kevin – Spike form TheSnookeForum.com would like to know ‘What has been your most exciting match you have refereed so far?’
Michaela – I have had a few absolute crackers but the match that has always stood out to be one of my all time favorites was a semi final at The World Championships between Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby in 2007, it was the first time in my Snooker career that I felt I had the atmosphere of the pool table around the Snooker table, it was one of those close 17-16 matches and for the last few frames the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck, the atmosphere was great and a really memorable moment in my career.