Name: Michaela Tabb
DOB: 11th December 1967
First Pro Match: 2002 Welsh Open (Ken Doherty 5-2 James Wattana)
147’s Officiated: 4
Career Highlights: 2009 & 2012 World Championship finals, 2008 Masters final, 2009 & 2010 China Open finals, becoming the first woman to referee a world ranking final at the 2007 Welsh Open
Scotland’s Michaela Tabb is not only snooker’s most prominent female referee, having achieved several milestones in the game, but having now officiated professionally for over a decade, is one of the most respected officials in snooker.
It was in another cue-sport where Michaela made her name, however, as she initially forged a successful career as a pool referee, starting in September 1997 during the St Andrews Cup as organised by Matchroom Sport. This would prove to be the start of a long association between the two and one that still exists today, as she takes time out from her snooker schedule to referee the Mosconi Cup competition.
Michaela at the Crucible in 2011
Her involvement with snooker was to begin in 2001, when she was approached by World Snooker with a view to officiating professionally. As a snooker fan since she was a little girl, Michaela did not need to be asked twice and quickly moved up the ranks, taking charge of her first ranking event match at the 2002 Welsh Open, between eventual finalist Ken Doherty and Thailand’s James Wattana.
Another significant moment came for Michaela at the Welsh Open five years later, as she officiated a dramatic final between Neil Robertson and Andrew Higginson, becoming the first female to referee a ranking event final in professional snooker.
Michaela took charge of her second ranking event final at the 2009 China Open, as well as refereeing her first Masters final in 2008, as Mark Selby defeated Stephen Lee to win the title for the first time at the Wembley Arena.
Perhaps her greatest achievements however, have come at the Crucible Theatre, where in 2003 she was selected to take charge of the first round match between Mark King and Drew Henry at the season-ending World Championship.
Michaela at the Crucible in 2013
Since then, Michaela has gone on to referee at the semi-final stage in 2007 (Murphy/Selby), and 2008 (O’Sullivan/Hendry), before in 2009 it was announced that she would take charge of her first World Championship final, becoming the first woman ever to do so as her compatriot John Higgins defeated Shaun Murphy to lift the trophy for the third time.
Michaela has continued to play a prominent role in snooker’s major tournaments, while also becoming one of the faces of the Snooker Legends series which has seen the likes of John Virgo, Dennis Taylor and Cliff Thorburn tour the country since 2009.
On 2nd April 2012 it was announced that Michaela would take charge of her second World Championship final at the Crucible and as was the case in 2009, it was another legend who would take the title, as Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated Ali Carter to win his fourth world crown.
Earlier in the tournament, there had already been another ‘first’ as Michaela and colleague Zhu Ying were both selected to officiate during the evening session on 24th April 2012, representing the first time that two female referees had taken charge of matches simultaneously at the Crucible.
|China Open||2009, 2010|
|World Championship||2009, 2012|