Tabb and Shuman comment on Mosconi Cup

Michaela Tabb was born in Bath, England on 11th December 1967 and has made many milestones for female officials in Professional cue sports. In May 2009 she became the first women to officiate at a World Snooker final. The sports highest honor.

Michaela played on the Women's 8 Ball UK circuit in the mid 90's winning a number of titles as a solo competitor, and as a member, and later as captain of the Scottish Ladies Pool Team. Michaela won the UK Women's Title in 1997. The following year, she won the European Women's Pool Championship in Gibraltar.

Michaela made her refereeing debut at the St. Andrew's Cup Nine Ball Tournament in 1997. She has gone on to become one of pools top officials.

In 2001, Jim McKensie, then Chief Executive of the World Professional Billiard and Snooker Association, stated that he wanted to change the dowdy, all male image of snooker referees and recruited Michaela Tabb to his roster.

His decision at the time, I am sure was thought of as pretty radical, but as Michaela's popularity has grown. It clearly shows that it was a great decision for both, the fans and players, as well as snooker in general.

“I remember my first Mosconi Cup so vividly! It was in 1998 and my first time in front of live TV cameras, and what with the intensity and the aggressiveness from both teams; I was absolutely petrified. I had never experienced such hostility between teams prior to that. I could not believe just how competitive the players became in this event. Plus, I remember that in those formative years, I felt that I did not want to offend the players with my decision making, which seemed to add pressure to the job at hand. Hopefully, I hid my frailties in those early years and it went unnoticed, but believe me, it was very scary out there.
I must say that over the years, I have gained such a level of confidence, that I can honestly say, I do not suffer from nerves at all when refereeing Mosconi Cup matches. Of course, we now have the sophistication of viewing questionable shots on the spot with Slow-Mo technology, which was not always the case. I can remember that first year making a decision that resulted in a foul, which the crowd and the penalized team really got on my back over it. As it happened I was correct and the commentary team were applauding me, but the crowd couldn't hear that.
I remember when I got the call to referee in my first Mosconi Cup. It was such an honor, especially as I had only been refereeing for Matchroom Sport for a year back then. The Mosconi Cup is the No. 1 event on my calendar and is still as exciting to me, as that first experience back in 1998.
The event is a real roller coaster, full of tension, pressure and full of talented players. I must say that the USA side used to unnerve me just a little with the way they become such a close knit team and had such a strong focus on the goal at hand. Because of this extreme intensity that they take on each year, I always feel that this makes the USA Team a force to be reckoned with.
People are always asking me, how I can quiet a rowdy crowd with just one look? Well, there is not a secret to it in my eyes. I always want to avoid verbal banter between the crowd, mainly due to the fact that it will get picked up by the TV mikes. Therefore, I try to use a simple hand gesture, which over the years has worked for me. So when Michaela puts up her hand, it means be quiet. Of course, they know that the bottom line is that they could be ejected if they do not comply; which in itself is a really good motivating factor.
My goal when refereeing is not only to make good decisions regarding the shot calls, but is also to maintain good behavior by the fans that ensures that the players are not distracted while down on their shots. Generally, this is not hard to maintain, as the Mosconi Cup fans are for the most part very knowledgeable about the game and have a great respect for the referees.
I cannot wait to get into action on the 8th December, and look forward to splitting my duties with Ken Shuman, who is joining me this year at the MGM Grand.
Do I have a prediction - Yes ! - The best team will win !!!
“Shortly after arriving at the U.S. Open, Matchroom Sport informed me of my selection as a referee for the 2011 Mosconi Cup. Although this was more than a month ago, only recently has the magnitude of this appointment sunk in. Because this was something I had been hoping to attain for so long and it means more to me coming at this stage in my career.
First and foremost, it means that the decision makers were aware of my ability to do the job. It's gratifying to know that all those years of hard work did not go unnoticed. But equally as important, it also means Luke, Sharon, and Mr. Hearn knew of the mutual respect I share with the players and other industry leaders and how much I value those relationships.
With the rich history of the Mosconi Cup, and it's worldwide reputation, it sort of feels like I am representing the USA at the Olympics. It's an indescribable feeling of pride and I can't overstate how excited I am to work along side Michaela Tabb! She is the ultimate professional and in my opinion, the best international official in the world!
For the past 25 years, I've been fortunate to have officiated and directed many of our sport's highest profile events. But it was always my career goal as an official to be part of what I refer to as pool's ‘Triple Crown' – The U.S. Open, a WPA World Championship, and the Mosconi Cup.
Thank you, Matchroom Sport, for now I can check that last remaining box and complete the final leg of my journey!!!
Thank you, Geoff!
Ken Shuman