Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Double Trouble

England v Wales day at Twickenham brings a heady excitement to Richmond and Old Deer Park, the short journey from the end of the M4 and HQ means that it is a natural place get a pre-match beer or search for a ticket. For the Welsh exile it is the day that home goes to you. It was thus that volunteering to referee my old team mates verses a touring Vets side from Torquay seemed a good way of getting a game and getting into the atmosphere early.

At least the cold wind meant that a good deal of those in the club house kept close to the beer and I avoided a crowd of hundreds passing judgment on my game. The large touring party meant that it was to be game of four quarters, to give every one a game. This proved to be hugely disruptive as players and referee don’t have time to develop a rapport. The only continuity was with the Welsh fly-half and captain who openly bares his frustration with no-longer playing at a level that warrants top referees. The consequence was a constant torrent of questions and comments that has taught me that a zero tolerance for such behaviour is the only approach; ex-colleagues or not. It’s clearly an area I must take stronger hold in my game.

I established with both captains that whilst it was friendly and I was prepared to play good advantage and take a liberal view on knock-ons and forward passes, foul play and breakdown discipline would not be compromised. The reason for this is that these are the flash points in any match that inevitably lead to trouble if not firmly handled.

One thing I failed to establish was the restart protocol following the quarter-end. Was it to be a pause in play or a re-start? When I ended the first quarter with what would have been an attacking 5m scrum to Welsh and walked to the centre line, there was a good deal of frustration. Fortunately, the opposition sided with Welsh in that they were happy to continue with the scrum.

Welsh established a two try margin in what was an even game, they held their own whilst down to 14 men following the binning of the scrum-half after he kicked the ball from the base of the No8 at a defensive scrum 5m out. The second half saw the visitors start a comeback that would be replicated later in the afternoon. A break down the left wing, with a pass that might have been called forward on a regular afternoon saw the first try for the oppo, the visitors forwards started to establish a better platform which saw the second try, with 5 minutes to go. Both conversions gave the game to Torquay


JamesH said...

My totally impartial view is that the ball was definitely out of the scrum and was fair play.
Bad call sending the poor scrum half off.

Total Flanker said...

Hi just a note to say I've added a link to your blog on

A reciprocal link would be nice...

Incidentally - when dishing out cards do refs at your level take into account how knackered, crap or unkowledgeable the players might be? I'm interested as, in my 4 games back so far this season, there hasn't been a single card despite some fairly blatant offences at times, and I wondered there was a certain amount of leeway given based on the standard of the game?

Also - spot on with your comments about whingeing and backchat - there appears to be far more than when I previously played...


David said...

Thanks for the link and yes I have reciprocated
At this level cards are usually dished out less frequently than higher up (particularly at rucks) because of factors 1 & 2. I am unlikely to card someone outside the red zone and not without considerable warnings, foul play excepted. Cards are a tool helping the ref in controlling the game when other mechanism aren't proving effective.
Not wanting to generalise, but must cards go to back rower who know exactly what they doing and hope they can get away with it! Which accounts for factor 3.