I always played rugby in and around Bath and was lucky enough to play for Bath RFC before it went pro. I eventually found myself at Avon RFC playing local county rugby and when kids came along thought I’d take my son to play minis. The plan was bacon sarnie coffee and the Sunday paper while he burnt off some energy, that lasted 1 week before I was involved in coaching. Part of that role meant picking up the whistle too.
While still playing I managed to pick up a nasty ankle injury that ended my playing career and put me out for a whole year. In that time, I’d go and watch Avon play, but became very frustrated watching and thinking I could do better than the man with the whistle, so I put myself through the ELRA course and started refereeing the following season, that was 11 years ago!
Although I live technically in Wiltshire it never occurred to me to ref for anyone other than Somerset as that was where I played my rugby. I knew that I was also known by more than a few refs!
I have worked my way up to Level 6 as a ref (highest level within the society). To get to L6 took a lot of peoples help within the society, from assessors coaches and training officers. It also took a lot of miles driving around the south of the country to get the exchange appointments in too. Oh yes and a very understanding family, to realise that during the rugby season, I’d be off first thing on a Saturday and wouldn’t sometimes be back until 7 or 8 o’colck at night, by which time any frustrations would have been discussed with my fellow refs on the phone while driving back down the M4/5 loud music blaring away. Wouldn’t change it for anything!
My highlights came when I first got to ref at The Rec in Bath for one of the combination finals. I’d played at The Rec on numerous occasions, but to ref there, kind of filled the last part in my rugby journey. More recently I have taken an active role within the committee, helping with the appointments. I have gained so much being part of the society it feels right to give something back as well.