The 2023 Masters got underway yesterday, with the biggest names in the sport heading to Alexandra Palace in London to take part in the event.
Considering that only 16 players are invited to take part in the competition each year, there is no doubt that this is among the most difficult tournaments to win. It is also guarantees that some big names will be exiting in the early stages.
Yesterday was a prime example. Mark Selby and Neil Robertson, who are ranked second and third in the world respectively, have already been eliminated after the opening day.
Selby would lose 6-2 to tournament debutant Hossein Vafaei, with one memorable moment being provided by the referee over the course of the game.
Mark Selby hands referee 'impossible task' at the Masters
In the second frame of the match, Vafaei was faced with a difficult shot after being snookered. He wasn't able to pull off the escape, making contact with the yellow ball and moving a number of other balls around the table.
Mark Selby wasn't exactly left with many appealing options after the shot, meaning it was always likely that he would ask for his opponent to take the shot again.
Of course, this would mean that referee Tatiana Woollaston would have to perfectly reposition all of the balls on the table. Everyone in attendance had a chuckle as they realised what a difficult and potentially lengthy task that would be for the official.
The Eurosport commentators, Neal Foulds and Phil Studd, perfectly summed up the situation.
— Eurosport (@eurosport) January 8, 2023
Foulds: Oh dear, oh dear. This is one where I can you that Tatiana Woollaston is dreading what is coming next. This could be a while.
Studd: Mark Selby looks scared, but he won't be as concerned as the referee. It looks like all sorts moved there...
Foulds: It's going back, isn't it?
Studd: This could take some time, goodness me.
Foulds: It's very difficult this for any referee. It's really difficult to get right. This is why I'm glad I never chose to be a snooker referee, there are moments like this that you just don't need.
With the help of marker Olivier Marteel, Woollaston would actually do a phenomenal job to get the balls back in place in a very timely fashion.
Unfortunately for Selby, this move made little difference in the end as he was convincingly beaten.