Ronnie O’Sullivan has said it “ain’t right” that Mark Selby was able to benefit from a controversial re-spot in the World Snooker Championship final against Shaun Murphy.
Selby got a taste of his own medicine during the 19th frame of the World Snooker Championship as Murphy had him in a world of trouble with a very sneaky shot with the cue ball rolled in behind the brown, leaving a horrible snooker.
Selby, renowned for his somewhat cynical tactical play and having regularly caused re-racks in seemingly endless safety exchanges during the tournament, saw the other side of it on Monday afternoon as Murphy tied him up in knots.
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But after three misses on the tricky snooker from an extended ‘spider’ and ‘swan’ rests, Selby was strangely suddenly able to use a normal rest to eventually get out of the shot at the fourth time of asking.
Using freeze-frames in the Eurosport studio, experts O’Sullivan and Neal Foulds made it clear that the re-spot was not correct and the normal rest should never have been a possibility to get out of the original situation.
In O’Sullivan’s mind, it clearly was not right that Selby was suddenly able to play the shot with the different rest – and he was shocked that Murphy did not get out of his chair to flag the incorrect re-spot.
‘Horrible shot’ – Selby gets in all kinds of trouble with rest
- ‘Do you want to carry on?’ – Ref intervenes as Selby and Murphy get stuck
- ‘Sit back down!’ – Selby leaves seat just as mad Murphy fluke drops
“If the white was put back where it was originally, this shot is just not possible,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “Because you can’t hit enough of the white, and if you did, you would probably miscue and the white would go towards the yellow.
“So if this shot was playable in the first place, he would have done. But even still, even when the white has moved [from the re-spot] quite considerably, really, he still couldn’t hit enough of the white to come that side of the red.
“So that shot was just never possible. You try not to blame the players, but in that situation, if the player has got the spider out originally and then he is using the rest, surely they should be able to use the technology to see the balls are not right. Because if they were right, you [Selby] would still have the spider in your hands. So maybe they should have used the technology to get it right.
Personally, if I was playing and I was Shaun, I would have been out of my chair and I would have asked to see a freeze-frame to say that shot was not on in the first place. That’s what I would have done, but Shaun obviously did not choose to exercise that option.
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“You have to blame Shaun in that situation. Selby is maybe just trying to gain a little advantage, and unless he is pulled up on it, maybe he is going to try and take that advantage.
“I know straight away, when you are cueing over with that spider, that’s the worst shot in snooker. The first two shots, he would probably do that [scuff it for a miss] 100 times out of 100. So if he is getting the rest out, why didn’t he do that in the first place? Now I’m thinking that the balls must be in the wrong position.
Let’s get it right, because that ain’t right. To me, the first decision would always be the rest over the spider [before the re-spot], no question about that.
Foulds added: “Listen, you don’t want to get too involved in blaming players, but the balls were not put back correctly, we know that because we saw how they were put back and it was not correct, so the referee, the marker and the player at the table really have the responsibility.
‘Selby is willing to wait longer than everyone else’ – Murphy
“Murphy didn’t leave his chair; he will always take it on trust from the other player, but I’m a little surprised that happened the way it did because the shot was not on that he ended up playing.”
Thankfully, Murphy won the frame after Selby’s three fouls and the controversial re-spot, which allowed him to get away from the situation, so justice was done.
- ‘Horrible’ – Selby ‘gets Selby-ed’ with nightmare snooker from Murphy
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Should Selby have shown the same sportsmanship that Murphy showed earlier in the tournament in a similar situation and flagged the incorrect re-spot? Did he not notice? Or was it not up to him to flag it up? The debate will rage on.
As it later turned out, Selby sealed his fourth World Championship with an 18-15 victory over Shaun Murphy in front of a packed crowd in Sheffield on Monday night.
Having won in 2014, 2016 and 2017, Selby ended his four-year wait to move level with John Higgins on four world titles as he halted a late Murphy fightback in a thrilling final session.
Murphy, the 2005 world champion, could hardly have played better in the match but, according to Eurosport’s Jimmy White, was ultimately “stopped” from being himself by the steely Selby.
‘Selby stopped Murphy from playing’ – White on what decided final
“I wouldn’t say he [Murphy] lost it – I think on Sunday night Selby won 7-2, but that was because he was brilliant,” White told Eurosport after the final.
Selby was phenomenal. He closed it down and he stopped Shaun from really playing.
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