Ronnie O'Sullivan struggles with the rules of snooker at World Grand Prix

Ronnie O’Sullivan not only picked up a win over Barry Hawkins at the World Grand Prix on Wednesday night, but also learned something about the rules of snooker after a chat with the referee.

O’Sullivan beat Hawkins 4-1 in Milton Keynes, starting off the match very impressively but then falling over the line somewhat, with both men struggling a bit in the second half of the contest.

There was a strange incident in the third frame with the Rocket on the baulk cushion and failing twice to come off two cushions and roll into reds on the bottom cushion.

Referee Ben Williams replaced the white for a third time and warned O’Sullivan that if he misses a red again then he would lose the frame on the ‘three-miss’ rule.

Ronnie was trying to come off two cushions to hit a red, but in fact there was a clear line to a red which he could hit. If you can see a red and miss it three times, you lose the frame.

The confusion came in as O’Sullivan could not hit both sides of the red he could see, so he thought that rule was not applicable. Williams explained to him that it just needs to be a full ball contact with the red.

The six-time world champion couldn’t believe that he didn’t know the rules, repeatedly asking the referee and checking with Hawkins if he knew that rule.

He then double checked with marker Leo Scullion, who backed up Williams.

After the prolonged debate, the Rocket chose to play the shot in the same way he had previously, risking losing the frame if he missed a third time,

However, he hit it hard enough this time and was fine, going on to win the frame.

Every day is a school day.

The foul and a miss rule in question

If the striker, in making a stroke, fails to first hit a ball on when
there is a clear path in a straight line from the cue-ball to any part
of any ball that is or could be on, the referee shall call FOUL AND
A MISS unless as described under Section 3 Rule 14(a)(i).

(d) After a FOUL AND A MISS has been called under paragraph (c)
above when there was a clear path in a straight line from the cueball to a ball that was on or could have been on, such that central,
full ball, contact was available (in the case of Reds, this to be taken
as a full diameter of any Red that is not obstructed by a colour), or
when the cue-ball is touching a ball that could be on after a Red
was potted, then:
(i) a second failure to first hit a ball on in making a stroke from the
original position shall be called as a FOUL AND A MISS
regardless of the difference in scores;
(ii) in the event of a second failure as in (i) above, if asked to play
again from the original position, the offender shall be Warned
by the referee that a further failure will result in the frame being
awarded to their opponent. However, a frame cannot be
awarded if a Warning has not been issued. If the referee has
not issued the Warning, provided the sequence of FOUL AND
A MISS calls has continued, the striker will be Warned at the
first available opportunity.

O’Sullivan made breaks of 108, 58, 57 and 51 in the victory over Hawkins to set-up a quarter-final clash with Kyren Wilson on Thursday in a repeat of the World Championship final in August.

World number one Judd Trump also progressed to the quarters, edging out Stuart Bingham 4-3 to book a clash with Martin Gould in the last eight.

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