SCOTTISH snooker referee Michaela Tabb has spoken of her pride after learning yesterday she is to take charge of the Betfred.com World Championship final at the Crucible for the second time in her career.
Dunfermline’s Tabb, 44, the sport’s top female official, will take charge of the final in Sheffield on 6 and 7 May.
Tabb has refereed professional snooker since 2001 and officiated the world final for the first time in 2009 when John Higgins beat Shaun Murphy 18-9.
“I was absolutely elated when I found out I was doing it again this year,” she said.
“I loved it when I did the final in 2009. It went really well for me without any mistakes so I just hope it will be the same this time. It’s such a huge tournament with a lot of history and potentially hundreds of millions of people watching on television. And there’s no venue like the Crucible in terms of the atmosphere. When it falls silent it is so intense.
“The good thing about the Crucible is that once you get to the semi-finals and the one-table set-up, you breathe a sigh of relief because there is so much more room to move around. In the early rounds it’s really difficult because it is so tight for space.
“Sometimes you have to stand in the wrong place because you’ve just got no choice, otherwise you’d bump into a wall or one of the cameramen. Once you get to the one-table set-up it’s much easier to concentrate on the match as you have to think less about your position.”
Tabb is one of the most successful female officials in sport, and has paved the way for more female snooker referees, including China’s Zhu Ying who has established herself on the pro circuit this season.
“It’s amazing to see the difference between now and how things were when I started, when refereeing was dominated by men, and I’m very proud of the part I have played in that,” Tabb added.
The Betfred.com World Championship runs from 21 April to 7 May and will feature 32 of the world’s best players battling for prize money of £1.1million.