Snooker: Barry Hearn reduces toilet breaks to slam lid on gamesmanship



World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn is cracking down on toilet breaks to avoid gamesmanship, having grown tired of the top stars wandering off mid-frame to spend a penny.

Former world champion Graeme Dott criticised Peter Ebdon for prolonged toilet breaks during this year’s World Championship.

From next season, Hearn said there would be a maximum of two breaks per session of any match. “There’s no compromise,” he said. “It’s unacceptable to have any break during a frame because it looks like gamesmanship.

“Anyone with prostate problems has my sympathy. I am 65 next birthday but I cannot believe the number of toilet breaks these players take and it’s got to stop. They want to go to the toilet and give themselves a talking-to or talk to someone else.

“Tennis players wouldn’t stop a rally. Darts players have more reason than anyone to go to the loo but they never do.

“It smacks to me of things going badly. If you say ‘I need to go’ to your opponent, he is not going to say no and have a row. But if the paying customer has bought a ticket and play suddenly stops, he or she will think ‘what’s going on here’

“People at home watching on TV are suddenly watching a screen with no action. We live in an age of action.”

One of this year’s Crucible semi-finalists, Judd Trump, is in favour of the new rules but admitted: “It depends how long the game is. If someone has to go, they have to go, but a lot do go out to waste time and it has to be sorted. But how you do that is difficult. You don’t want to be followed into the toilet.”

In Friday’s action, defending champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan was just three frames away from his fifth World Championship final after ending the day 14-10 ahead over Trump

The game’s two great entertainers were locked at 4-4 overnight and 6-6 at the mid-session interval yesterday morning, but the more experienced O’Sullivan reeled off three frames in a row to take a 9-7 lead heading into last night’s third session.

O’Sullivan then faced a ticking-off from referee Michaela Tabb but regained his focus to move within sight of a place in the final.

The defending champion lost all his concentration and looked bored as the penultimate frame of the night became scrappy.

When he missed a ball he expected to rifle into the pocket he ran his hand up the shaft of his cue between his legs and Tabb stepped in to issue a brief reprimand, with O’Sullivan seeming to say “I wanna go home”. He denied trying to cause offence, arguing his cue was sticky and he was trying to solve the problem. He lost the frame but took the last of the night to go 14-10 in front.

He had breaks of 51, 62 and a closing 89 to punish Trump for a series of misses that suggested he was feeling the pressure of the semi-final occasion.

The quality of O’Sullivan’s tussle with Trump was not being replicated by last-four debutants Barry Hawkins and Ricky Walden in the second semi-final, with the pair limping through their afternoon session, Walden going from 6-2 to 9-7 in front despite his opponent remaining without a half-century break in the match.

Chester-based Walden fired in 106, his third century of the match, to lead 8-5, but then saw Kent cueman Hawkins claw his way back.

Hawkins had struggled badly yesterday, managing a top break of just 36, and his break-building trouble persisted as the match progressed. Eventually he managed to improve on it, allowing himself a small fist pump during a break of 47.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before