Hey Ref! An ‘Official’ Q&A

By Barry Faguy

HEY REF! What happens if I was given time to fix a bleeding cut in the first game—but in the second game it starts to bleed again?

LessonCourt_HeyRefYou are out of luck and you must forfeit the second game— because play may not continue while there is bleeding. This is unfortunately (in my view), a fairly draconian provision that would have been better handled with the simple application of the Conduct Rule—but as things stand, the match is at risk of premature termination. The lesson to learn here is that when you have the original time off to fix the bleeding, take the time to make sure it won’t start again, because that would cost you that game. Also, make sure the bandage won’t fall off during subsequent play, because that will cost you a stroke. And a final, tongue in cheek suggestion; because time for bleeding always precedes any allowable time for injury time—if you’re injured, hope that it bleeds!

HEY REF! Between rallies, my opponent signaled her father that she wanted a different racquet—and after the next rally, he threw it in. It was very quick, with no time lost, but I say the ref should have penalized her for that. Am I wrong thinking that it was unfair?

Your question touches a gray spot in the rules. The basic rationale given in the guidelines about equipment change speaks of ensuring that one player doesn’t get “an unfair rest interval.” Clearly, there was no breach of that principle here—and as well, the player didn’t even leave the court. On the other hand, there was no demonstrated “material dete­rioration” and it seemed to have been simply done because that player had a “preference for another racquet”—some­thing that is not allowed. So, it’s one of those things that come down to referee judgment, and not appealable. If it’s of any consolation, I have actually seen this done several times with no fuss having been made about it and, as a matter of fact, without either the referee or the other player having even noticed.

HEY REF! I thought that any appeal stops play—and that what­ever happens to the ball afterward doesn’t matter? I was head­ing to the right rear to return a lob and had a legitimate colli­sion into my opponent—so I asked for a let. I would have clearly made it into back corner—but the ball nicked back there. I ac­knowledge that I could not intercept the ball before it got to the back—but still, I said ‘let’ before it got there.

“The ball has no ears” as the old quote goes. This decision was correct because, although the appeal stopped the play (the movement of the players)—nothing you said affected what was going to happen to the ball. Would you have said the same had the ball gone out? If you think about it, this is the fair result—the “over-riding principle governing the Rules of Squash.”