When a final shows alarming signs of developing into a real drubbing in the afternoon session, contingency plans to placate potentially short-changed punters swiftly kick into gear. With Ronnie O’Sullivan leading Ding Junhui 7-1 going into the concluding set of frames tournament director Mike Ganley had Willie Thorne, Darren Morgan and Dominic Dale on standby at the Newport Centre to do a Big Break-style exhibition if the contest ran for four frames or fewer from 7pm, or not beyond the mid-session interval. As it turned out, their presence was required, which could be seen as an act of supreme benevolence from World  Snooker seeing as the delirious crowd had just witnessed history with O’Sullivan making a record 12th career maximum break to win the match.

Most people using the Newport Centre on the Sunday of the final were happy enough, with a showpiece featuring Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui. But there was one casualty of quite possibly the last Welsh Open at the venue. The Newport and County Horticultural Society were unable to hold their regular weekend meeting due to the snooker, and had to move it to the following Wednesday. At least if the tournament moves to Cardiff that will no longer be a problem. And as commentator Phil Yates pointed out, there had at least been plenty of plants during the previous 12 days. Amazingly, this was not his worst joke of the day.

The Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘forgotten chalk’ narrow escape at the mid-session interval of his BetVictor Welsh Open semi-final against Barry Hawkins saw the world champion rush back to his cue case and back with around 15 seconds to spare before the players were ushered into the arena.

But with the Rocket himself raising the infamous Shaun Murphy/Stephen Maguire situation, now fully a decade go at the 2004 Grand Prix, in his post-match press conference it is probably worth clarifying both the rules and what actually happened in that incident.

There are effectively two ways a player can be docked a frame on this issue, by the tournament director for not being ready to play, or by the referee once the frame has started. Maguire was penalised for not being ready in the first place, so would have been docked a frame whether or not Murphy had spoken to referee Johan Oomen.

The fact that he did has caused him a lot of damage to his reputation, because other players were always going to see that as an unsportsmanlike attempt to ‘steal’ a frame. Murphy himself protested he only asked where Maguire was. The referee fed back to the tournament office that Murphy had brought up the question of the rules, so it became almost a case of who to believe.

Once the frame has started the referee is in charge and has discretion, and does not have to ask the opponent if they consent to a player going back to get their chalk. They can make that decision themselves, and either let the player go immediately, or make him wait until the end of the frame. Technically the referee has the power to dock a player a frame for this, but that is not the advice currently given and in practice would be very unlikely to happen.

Dominic Dale saw his wish to wear a daffodil on St David’s Day, the semi-finals Saturday of the BetVictor Welsh Open in Newport, scuppered by the fashion police in the TV studios. Having been handed one by the make-up team the powers-that-be decided the bright yellow of Wales’s national flower clashed with someone’s shirt, and all were removed from the presenting and punditry team.

Barry Hawkins’ progress at the BetVictor Welsh Open followed a fairly familiar and well-trodden path, with the Hawk happy to fly below the radar and leave most of the talking to everyone else. With a ranking title, a Crucible final and a career-high world ranking under his belt, the left-hander from Kent increasingly has very little to prove to anyone. But one of the reasons Hawkins remains popular with his peers was evident after his 5-0 win over Marco Fu in Friday night’s quarter-finals. Hawkins remained in the arena to watch stable-mate and friend Joe Perry trying to close out his win over world No2 Mark Selby, and even after being called for press duties could hardly keep his eyes off the screens during the tense final stages which were being shown in the media centre. A few minutes later there was a big joint On Q Promotions celebration, with boss Paul Mount leading the party.

Let’s hope Ronnie O’Sullivan did not offend anyone at the Emirates this week, where he has been known to enjoy the odd day out in one of their excellent hospitality areas. The Rocket compared his titanic quarter-final clash in Newport with John Higgins, two players with nine world titles, 41 other ranking titles and seven Masters crowns between them,  as like “Manchester City against Chelsea”, the two financial powerhouses of English Premier League football currently. At the time of his comments O’Sullivan’s own team, Arsenal, stood in second place, just a point adrift of Chelsea and ahead of City. Unlike O’Sullivan though, the Gunners could really do with a trophy or two in the cabinet.