Smith of the Star: Snooker-mad ref is happy to be doing the job he loves

Snooker referee Brendan Moore, from Meersbrook, Sheffield at the Crucible ahead of this year's World Snooker
Snooker referee Brendan Moore, from Meersbrook, Sheffield at the Crucible ahead of this year's World Snooker
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EVERY snooker player dreams of appearing in the World Championship Final at the Crucible.

So does every snooker referee.

Snooker referee Brendan Moore, from Meersbrook, Sheffield at the Crucible ahead of this year's World Snooker

Snooker referee Brendan Moore, from Meersbrook, Sheffield at the Crucible ahead of this year's World Snooker

For Sheffield’s Brendan Moore a chance to wear those iconic white gloves at the biggest game in the world would be the fulfilment of a burning ambition.

And one he may not be too far away from fulfilling – gloved-fingers crossed.

For the last three years Brendan has officiated at quarter-final level and will again fulfill that role this year.

A step, he hopes, towards the big one.

“It’s my ambition to do the final in Sheffield,” said 39-year-old Brendan, from Meersbrook.

“I’ve done three quarter-finals and I hope to do one again this year. I know I’m there until the quarter-finals then I’m done, so I won’t get a semi-final this year.

“I can’t say it’s disappointing because I would never take anything for granted. I would love to think I might be in the frame for a semi-final next year but if I’m not, I’m not.

“It’s an honour just to be refereeing here at all. But I am at the level now where I would hope to be considered to do a final during the next two or three years.”

You can see the desire in his eyes as he says it.

Snooker fanatic Brendan knew from an early age that he didn’t have the talent required to be a professional player but has been a member of Sheffield Transport’s snooker team for many years now and is current captain.

“A friend of mine became an amateur referee years ago,” said father of three daughters Brendan.

“I decided I would have a go and in 2002 I passed my first refereeing exam.

“Later I refereed in the Yorkshire League then got the chance to referee at the European U-19 Championships at Wellingborough in 2004.

“Len Ganley was the senior referee then and he liked what he saw in me and told his son, Mike Ganley, World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association tournament director and that’s how I got my foot in the door with world snooker.

“In 2008 I refereed my first game at the Crucible. It was fantastic. I was scheduled to referee Steve Davis against Stephen Hendry, both of whom have been my snooker heroes. That was on the Monday – and then I was actually called to do a game on the Sunday because someone dropped out.”

So does he get nervous before big games?

“No. I once got nervous because I wasn’t nervous,” laughs former Sheffield Transport Club bar manager Brendan.

Has he ever dropped a clanger during a match?

“There have been no disasters yet, but I’m sure there will be,” said Wednesdayite Brendan.

“A referee shouldn’t get his rules wrong but what we’re most scared of is something like spotting the pink on the table among a crowd of balls and dropping it and scattering the balls across the table.

“I’ve not done that, yet, but that’s the one we all dread.

“Once your concentration slips you can make a mistake, like you might put a ball on the wrong spot.

“I don’t want to mention any names but you might also pick up a ball off the table when you’re not supposed to!

“At the Crucible, you have to be on your game.”

So how long is a snooker referee’s career?

“Alan Chamberlain has just retired and he’s 66 or 67 so I can go on for a long time yet,” said Brendan who has been going to the world championships for the last 20 years as a fan with his dad Derek.

“My dream is to do a world final while it’s still here at the Crucible. I’m hoping the tournament never leaves Sheffield. The Crucible is a special place – it has such an aura about it.

“Snooker people from all over the world say the same.

“The way I feel at the moment I will go on refereeing for as long as I can, either until I’m 65 or until they get rid of me.

“I would not leave voluntarily. I love it too much.”