Monday, 3 March 2008

Uplifting Afternoon

It was to be two games this weekend, a Surrey 4 league match for Saturday and U16 game for the Sunday.

A crisp and clear afternoon in Egham with the home team up against Wandsworthians and what looked like a very square pitch, plenty of width, anyway. Being ushered into the home-side’s changing room because there is no referee room is always disappointing. It’s comfortable having somewhere to escape to reflect on the match, especially if you have a tough match. Still, they were a friendly bunch and there was plenty of excitement about a tour to Hong Kong, Australia, NZ and LA; it sounded a good one.

Reflection from recent matches meant I wanted to focus on avoiding back-chat and a Society tutoring session from Wayne Barnes on the misdemeanours of the tackler were the key areas to think about. Part one was soon challenged by the Wandsworth South Africans, but a couple of sharp warnings saw pitch comment down to an acceptable level. I read over on rugbyrefereeblog that there is recruitment problem for SA refs, it is hardly surprising given the chippiness of your average SA player over here.

The game progress well with Egham enjoying good possession and territory but a couple of neat interception tries giving the visitors a comfortable margin. The rucks were a little loose and the Wandsworth back row took advantage, coming in at the side. The chippy SA openside eventual caught my attention at a defensive scrum 5m out. I called him back as he detached and then, as the scrum wheeled, he burst around the back and pounced the ball. The look of bewilderment as I showed him yellow was a picture, I later explained that there were one of three penalties from his actions and he could pick any one for his card given the general warning I had already issued

The home team took advantage of the extra man to add two tries to bring some balance to the scores.

I learned at half time that I was being officially assessed; I was confident with my first half display and continued that into the second. It has been two years since my last assessor visit so it was great to get some objective feedback. Generally, I did well; good positioning but a few too many penalties, stop these with an earlier whistle at scruffy rucks. Furthermore, I need to work on my pitch authority (I’ve been working on this but clearly more to do) and I need to improve my speed off the mark (fewer pies)! He was impressed enough to recommend an upgrade, so there something to look forward to.