Norwich Bar Billiards

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Norwich 4-Pin Bar Billiards League Rules


Downloadable Score Sheet Downloadable Rules

***Please note: these rules are in process of being updated after being debated at the AGM's.***
Details are here:
AGM notes

    The game to be played will be 4-pin bar billiards. It is intended that players and teams should play bar billiards in the true spirit of the game and in a sportsmanlike manner. The referee will be the sole judge that the game is played in accordance with these rules. The referee’s decision is final.
    The game will be played on a 4-pin or converted 3-pin table. The game timer should be between 14 and 18 minutes. The following equipment should be provided by participating venues:
    1. One red and seven white balls. Matches can be played if only six white balls are available.
    2. Four pins, one of which should be black.
    3. At least two cues.
    4. Cue chalk.
    Players are entitled to bring and use their own cues and chalk. The home venue or home team will be responsible for paying for the frames within a match.
  3. 4-pin Bar Billiards Table Layout

    Note: For consistency between venues, the alternative baulk lines (drawn across the baize) are ignored for the purpose of this league.

    4-pin Bar Billiards Table Layout Full Size Image

    A league match will consist of six frames of singles followed by three games of doubles, with all players to be drawn randomly at the start of the match. No player may play more than one singles frame and one doubles frame in the same match (except where Rule 7b (a) applies).
    The home team is responsible for providing a referee for the first frame. Provision of a referee should then alternate between away and home teams for each subsequent frame. A player should ideally referee no more than one frame per match.
    Matches are to be played in the order they are drawn except if both captains are in agreement that the order can be changed.

    A coin toss is used to determine who breaks first. The home team will flip the coin and the away team will call. The winner of the coin toss has the option of performing the opening break shot or assigning it to the opponent. Breaks will alternate thereafter.

    When there are no balls on the table, a break-off shot will be played. The red ball is to be placed on the spot and a white ball is to be placed in the centre of the “D”. The break-off shot is initiated by striking the white ball into the red ball.

    1. The break will be deemed a legal break if the white ball makes contact with the red ball, regardless of whether a foul occurs after the cue ball is struck.
    2. The break is not a legal break if:
      1. The white ball is not played from the centre of the “D”; or
      2. The white ball does not make contact with the red ball (the white ball is deemed to have been played into space); or
      3. The red and white balls are racked and played the wrong way round. All three of these constitute a foul break. Play passes to the fouling player’s opponent who will have the option of replacing the white ball and red ball and performing a break-off shot, or leaving the balls where they lie and playing on as normal.


    1. If a ball(s) is potted and no foul is committed, this entitles the player to one additional shot and this continues until the player fails to make a pot or until the player commits a foul.
    2. In order to carry on play, the player will draw a ball from the trough and place it anywhere in the “D” (only a break-off an end-game shot are required to be played from the centre of the “D”).
    3. If the red ball is available in the trough, it must be retrieved and played prior to any white ball being retrieved. If no ball is available in the trough, the referee will return the ball nearest to the baulk line (unless two or more balls are deemed the same distance from the baulk line in which case the ball closet to the centre of the “D” is returned). The referee’s decision on the ball returned is final.
    4. A player’s visit continues until a non-scoring shot is played, at which point play passes to the opposing player.

    It is a foul if a ball leaves the playing surface and does not return by its own means (other than being potted).
    “By its own means”

    1. It is not a foul if the ball leaves the playing surface, runs along the top off a cushion and drops back to the playing surface. It is not a foul if the ball leaves the playing surface, makes contact with the backboard/scoreboard and drops back to the playing surface.
    2. It is a foul if the ball leaves the playing surface, comes into contact with a person or objects that are not part of the table and then returns to the playing surface.
    Any ball that leaves the playing surface and fails to return by its own means is returned to the trough.

    If any balls and/or pins are moved during a frame:

    1. By a person other than the players taking part in the frame; or
    2. As a direct result of one of the players being bumped;
    3. Due to any other event deemed outside the player’s control.
    No penalty will be incurred for the above situations, and the referee will try to return the balls and/or pins to their original positions – the referee’s decision on placement of ball(s) is final.

    Ball on edge of pocket:

    1. If a ball falls into a pocket without being hit by another ball, a peg or the cue, it shall be replaced and play shall continue. The replaced ball will score no points and, if applicable, any other balls potted legitimately during the shot will score as normal.
    2. If a ball stops momentarily on the edge of a pocket (after having come into contact with a ball, pin or cue) and then falls in (within 5 seconds), it will count as in the pocket and not be replaced (whether potted legally or as a result of a foul). If potted legally the ball will score as normal.

    4g. SCORING
    White balls score the value of the hole whilst the red ball is worth double. The referee will audibly announce the player’s cumulative break score after each shot has been played. The referee will only update the scoreboard once a player has banked their break.
    There will be no change to scoring once the bar drops: white balls will still score the value of the hole and the red ball will continue to score double.

    If a peg is knocked over during a player’s shot, it will constitute a foul and the applicable penalty will be incurred. If a peg and a ball are wedged in the same pocket, the peg is removed first and the ball is allowed to drop. If a peg is knocked from its correct position during a shot and remains standing, it shall not be reset for the remainder of that player’s visit.
    Resetting pegs
    Pegs that have been moved from their starting positions are reset only once the player’s visit is completed, subject to:

    1. If the peg(s) is touching a ball that is occupying or obscuring the pegs starting position, the ball will be considered to be in play and will NOT be removed from the table (the peg will remain where it stands).
    2. If the peg’s starting position is occupied or obscured by a ball but that ball is not touching the peg, the ball will be considered to be out of play and will be returned to the trough. The peg(s) will be reset to its starting position.
    Note: The only exception to the rules concerning disturbing pegs is if they have been moved as a result of interference, in which case Rule 4e applies.

    The frame will end once all balls are potted (and no balls are available in the trough). The player to have banked the most points will be declared the winner. Should points be tied, the frame will be shared.
    If there is only one ball remaining in play and no other balls available, end-game rules will apply if the difference between the two players scores is 200 points or less (400 points or less if the last remaining ball is the red). If the difference in points is greater than these cut-offs, the remaining ball is ignored and the frame is considered over (though the wining player has the right to invoke end-game play if he/she wishes). End-Game The following rules will apply:

    1. The scoreboard will be folded down to cover the back holes, and the two 50 pins will be placed in the 50 holes. Pins for the 100 and 200 holes will be placed on their starting positions.
    2. The player whose current visit it is takes the first shot, to be considered a continuation of their break (if the last ball is correctly played but not holed, the player retains the score of that break).
    3. The ball must be placed in the centre of the “D”.
    4. The ball must be played off a cushion with the intention to rebound (double) the ball into either the 100 or 200 holes (the player does not have to nominate which hole is being played). The ball may be rebounded off more than one cushion (cross-double).
    5. The ball cannot be played straight toward a hole in the attempt to use the weight of the ball or bend of the table’s slate to pot it – it must have made contact with a cushion for it to be considered a legal shot.
    6. A shot will be deemed illegal if the ball makes contact with the edge of the scoreboard. A shot will be deemed illegal if the ball leaves the table, regardless of whether it returns by its own means or not.
    7. Legally potting the ball in ether the 100 or 200 holes ends the frame, even if the ball has made contact with a pin.
    8. If a pin is knocked down, a foul has been committed and the penalty for that pin applies as normal.

  6. FOULS

    Playing a foul causes the fouling player’s visit to end and will result in either the loss of points for that break only (if any have been scored) or the loss of all points accumulated up to that point in the match (including all points that have been banked).
    Pins are reset to their starting positions (except where Rule 4h (a) applies). Any balls coming to rest in baulk will be returned to the trough.
    If a combination of fouls occurs, the foul incurring the highest penalty will apply.

    On all shots, the player must attempt to play a ball that is in play, or in the case of an end-game attempt to pot the ball. Purposely cueing a ball into space or purposely targeting a pin would constitute an illegal shot and would be a deliberate foul.


    1. Causing the black peg to fall over.
    2. Potting the final ball during end-game play without first striking a cushion.
    3. Committing a deliberate foul (when a player deliberately and intentionally plays a foul, or clearly and intentionally fails to attempt a legal shot).
    4. Not playing in the true spirit of the game or in a sportsmanlike manner, e.g. purposely time wasting, forfeiting the frame prior to the frame coming to a complete end (Rule 4i), etc.
    Note: In the case of (c) and (d), the referee will issue a warning and will only call the foul if the warning is not heeded. The referee’s decision is final.


    1. Causing any peg other than the black to fall over.
    2. Playing a foul break (Rule 4b (b)).
    3. Cueing a ball outside of the “D”.
    4. The cue ball fails to strike another ball.
    5. The player fails to cue the red ball when it is available.
    6. Any ball returns to the “D” or to baulk. A ball may overhang the edge of the “D” or hang over the baulk line. This is considered to be in play (no foul) unless that ball makes contact with either the “D” or baulk (i.e. a ball is touching the edge of “D”/baulk, or touched the edge but rolled back).
    7. The player causes any ball in play to move other than a shot cued correctly from the “D”, except in the case of interference (Rule 4e).
    8. The ball leaves the table and does not return by its own means (Rule 4d).
    9. The same shot is played MORE than three times in succession.
    10. A break-off cue ball or end-game cue ball is not played from the centre of the “D”.
    11. Intentionally jumping the cue ball.
    12. Playing a push shot (when the tip of the cue remains in contact with the cue ball once it has commenced its forwards motion).
    13. Striking the cue ball with anything other than the tip of the cue.
    14. Playing a shot before all balls has come to rest from a previous shot.
    15. Playing a shot before the referee has returned balls or reset pins.
    16. Playing out of turn.
    17. Double-hitting the cue ball (causing the tip of the cue to come into contact with the cue ball more than once in the same shot).

    The referee is the sole judge that the game is played in accordance with the rules.
    Responsibilities of a referee during a frame are as follows:
    1. To accurately keep score on behalf of the player, and to audibly announce the cumulative break score after each of the players shots.
    2. To call all fouls that is committed.
    3. To record banked scores on the scoreboard, and to adjust scores for penalties arising from fouls.
    4. To return balls and reset pins as applicable.
    5. To ensure that the final score for the frame is recorded on the match scorecard.
    The referee is also permitted to advise the player of potential situations which may result in a foul (e.g. the red ball not being played when available), and should attempt to announce when the bar has dropped, though the referee should not be held accountable should either of these not occur.

    A player may consult the referee at any time to clarify the score or difference in points between players. The referee should not advise a player on the type of shot to play and should not exhibit bias towards one team.


    7a. FORMAT
    The season will consist of two leagues running consecutively. The top league will consist of six teams and be known as Division 1. The bottom league will consist of six teams and be known as Division 2.
    There will be a two-up/two-down promotion/relegation at the end of the season. The winner and runner-up of Division 2 will be promoted to Division 1. The two teams finishing bottom of Division 1 will be relegated to Division 2. There will be no play-offs.
    Teams will be awarded two points for a match win or one point if the match is a draw.
    League standing will be determined first and foremost by number of points earned from winning and/or drawing matches during the season. If a tie occurs, frame difference will be taken into consideration.

    A match requires a minimum of five players on each team to proceed. If a team does not have five players then the match cannot go ahead. A team can temporarily draft in players to make up numbers as long as the player(s) that is drafted has not or will not play for any other team that season.
    Playing with five players
    If a team cannot temporarily draft a sixth player, they will play the match with five and the following rules will apply:

    1. Names are drawn randomly for six singles frames and three doubles frames as usual, with the team who is missing a sixth player only putting the name of five players into the “hat”.
    2. For the sixth singles frame which will have had only one player drawn for it, the team with a player for that frame automatically wins the frame. The frame will only be played at the request of the team with six players in which case the opposing team will nominate one of their five players to take part. The team with five players will not take any points or breaks from that frame into the match result. The team with six players can enter their frame score to the match result and register any high break scores. Regardless of whether the frame is played or not, it will constitute a 1-0 victory for the team with six players.
    3. For the third doubles frame which will have had only three players drawn for it, the player on his own will act as two players and will alternate play with each of the opposing teams players. Points and breaks, etc. are scored as normal.

    If any match on the fixtures is cancelled, it must be arranged ASAP at a time that is convenient to both teams. Teams should try and give at least 24 hours’ notice when cancelling a match.
    If a match is continually cancelled (up to a maximum of three times), the team that tried to arrange the game may be awarded the match.
    Best effort should be made to attend a scheduled match, even if this means playing with five players or temporarily drafting players onto the team.


    1. For season start, end and cut off dates, please refer to the calender on the League page
      At close of play on cut off date the league table will stand as it is!
    2. Teams are to arrive for a match between 19:30 – 20:00. Match start time is 20:00.
    3. Contact lists will be made available to all team captains and retained behind the bar of each pub.
    4. The captain or nominated deputy of the home team will be responsible for submitting the match scorecard.
    Important! ***RESULTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED UNLESS A SCORECARD IS SUBMITTED*** Failure of the home team to submit a scorecard may result in the match being awarded to the opposing team.

The easiest way to submit your match scorecards is to post them on the Norwich Bar Billiards Facebook page