Stephen Hendry and Shaun Murphy call for major snooker rule change

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Snooker icons Stephen Hendry and Shaun Murphy have called for the fundamental rules of the game to be changed at the UK Championship. They have bemoaned the amount of “dead time” taking place during tournament matches and have provided a solution that they believe will benefit the sport.

On punditry duties for the BBC during this week’s tournament at the Barbican in York, Hendry brought up the idea of matches coming to an end once snookers were required by the trailing opponent. In snooker, if a player needs more points than available on the table then they can attempt to snooker their opponent in order to force them into a foul for some bonus points.

This occurs fairly often during high-profile matches and often ends with the player requiring snookers unable to get them, with the result going to their opponent who already had the sufficient lead. Murphy and Hendry have criticised the amount of time during matches this takes and called for an alteration to the rules to end games when they get to the stage where snookers are required.

Hendry explained his desire to witness a tournament played that would see each match end once snookers were required. Furthering his point, Murphy said: “I tweeted that last week and got widely abused for it. But I think I am onto something, I mean the frame is over! Let’s rack them up and let’s go.”

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When asked how they plan on moving forward with that idea, Hendry replied: “With difficulty I think. But certainly for you guys, TV, you just know when frames are going to finish and that’s it. There’s so much dead time, isn’t there? Who enjoys watching when someone is three or four snookers ahead?”

BBC commentator John Parrott and fellow snooker star Ken Doherty made their opinions known shortly after Hendry and Murphy proposed the rule change. “Typical, two players who don’t know what a snooker looks like want to change the rules,” Parrott said, before Doherty added: “It’s called snooker for a reason, John, isn’t it?”

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Fans have largely been against the proposed major change called for by Murphy and Hendry on social media, as on X (formerly known as Twitter) @EssexPharoh wrote: “Some of the most exciting frames in history have been when snookers have been required. Love Hendry but I massively disagree.”

While Eurosport commentator Mark Valledy insisted that the fundamental rule change would be detrimental to snooker.

“Ripping the heart and soul from the sport with this idea,” they said. “One of the most fascinating (and skilfull) parts of the game is the art of laying Snookers, and as Ken rightly said…‘It’s called Snooker for a reason!!’”

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