Tuesday, 11 March 2008

National Schools Sevens

I opted out of refereeing at the weekend as the pub beckoned to watch Wales chase a Triple Crown and I needed to keep some energy for all day Monday at the National Schools Sevens at Rosslyn Park. It is the largest rugby tournament in the World with games played over 4 days on 12 pitches. Most of the top rugby playing schools from the UK participate, as well as invitation teams from Spain, Nigeria and Eastern Europe.

I have volunteered to referee for the past 4 years and I recommend it to any refs who can spare the time. Each year they contrive to find the worst weather available in March. Usually is it a bit of cloud or some wind. This year ‘the worst storm of the winter’ stuck. The force 9 gale was blowing down the pitch, blasting icy rain into my face, whilst branches fell from trees around us. The pitches began to resemble swimming pools as the lightening. Not a great day to christen my new Mizuno boots!

As I approached what was to be my final match (the afternoon’s play was abandoned) I commented to a teacher that they could force their little charges to run around in shorts but why had I volunteered!

As the two 13 year captains approached, one dress in a maroon shirt with brown stripes and the other in maroon with mustard stripes, I informed them that as they shirts where so similar we would first toss a coin to see who would play in skins! The look of horror on their little faces brightened my day.

Maroon and brown turned around 21-0 and the opposition coach asked to make a quick 5 minutes for the second half. I was happy to oblige, I have never played or refereed in worse weather.