The incident occurred at a crucial moment of the world number 34’s World Championship qualifying victory.
It’s apparently Judgement Day both on and off the table today as Liang Wenbo faces cheating in snooker claims after suspect video emerged of his late triumph over Fergal O’Brien.
Liang held off the Irishman for a dramatic 10-9 success that saw him qualify for the World Snooker Championship for the first time since 2017.
The former English Open champion produced a marvellous 141 total clearance in the 19th frame when the pressure seemed to be at its peak.
But earlier in that decisive frame, Liang appeared to make an obvious foul that went unnoticed by the two players as well as the referee.
With every ball still on the table and the match delicately poised, Liang played off the pack of reds up into the baulk area – but inadvertently hit another red with the tip of his cue with no foul awarded.
Whether or not the incident would have had a major bearing on the outcome of the contest is of course unknown.
But if a foul had been called, O’Brien would have had the option to put Liang back in and face what was a tricky safety shot.
Wondering whether this foul by Liang in the decider would’ve made a difference had it been called… pic.twitter.com/vtWude9ep4
— Mikey Hawley (@HawLion) July 28, 2020
Social media reaction surrounding the shot has lit up on Tuesday, which is the last day of the World Championship qualifiers known as Judgement Day.
It’s fair to say that the overall consensus is not kind on Liang, with fans, players, and even other high-profile sports stars offering their opinions to the possible cheating in snooker claims.
Professional golfer Ian Poulter tweeted: “I hate this.. Blatant cheating… he knows that touched the cue… should be banned. End of conversation.”
Three-time world champion Mark Williams and recent Championship League runner-up Ben Woollaston were two fellow snooker competitors to react in surprise too.
Upon viewing the footage, it seems unlikely that the Chinese cueist would have failed to feel the complete contact made between his cue and the ball.
The referee, who was standing directly behind the shot when it was taken, has also faced criticism for failing to make the call.
Nonetheless, Liang will feature in Wednesday’s Betfred World Snooker Championship draw, where he’ll be paired to compete at the Crucible with one of the top 16 seeds.
For O’Brien, the Dubliner was painfully denied at the final hurdle of the preliminaries for the fourth time in the last decade and faces an anxious wait to see if his progress from round two was enough to secure tour survival.
I hate this.. Blatant cheating… he knows that touched the cue… should be banned. End of conversation.
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 28, 2020
— Ben Woollaston (@Ben_Woollaston) July 28, 2020
Hopefully he’ll lose first round at The Crucible, no time for cheats in this game.
— snookerbacker 🗣️ (@snookerbacker) July 28, 2020
You know 100% that you fouled on this type of shot. He won’t want to be playing off the back cushion in a decider Vs Fergal, that’s what’s going thru his head in that instance. If he botched the safety he might declare it.
— Douglas Hogan (@douglashogan) July 28, 2020