First, the press release:
Members of the Eastern Counties Management Committee made a club visit with a difference on Sunday 29 January when three of them travelled to Southwold RFC.
The occasion was the U15 Suffolk v Norfolk Inter-county Cup match, and the visitors arrived as a ‘Team of Three’ to officiate for the game.
Ross Cowie, Chairman of the Club Player Development Committee, Andrew Sarek, Chairman of the Facilities & Funding Committee and Representative to the RFU, and Roger Pierson, Honorary Secretary, felt that this was an opportunity to put aside the notion that committee men are chair-bound, and take a much more hands-on approach to supporting Youth Player Development.
All three are appropriately-qualified Referees, and between them have over 50 years’ experience with the whistle.
Afterwards Ross, who refereed the game with Andrew and Roger as Touch-Judges, said: “The game was played in a great spirit, with exemplary behaviour, and all players showed great skill”. Robert Temple, Southwold President, said that it was a pleasure to welcome all three Eastern Counties Committee men, who are well-known and regular visitors to local clubs, and the County Coaches felt that the Young Players, who had an opportunity to discuss Rugby development with all three Members, would engage better with the CB as a result
For the record, Suffolk won the match 33-12.
It seemed like a good idea it the time, trying to demonstrate that ECRU committee members do get involved. I haven’t refereed for over a year and I miss it although the players probably don’t! Running touch seemed like a good way of getting back into it gently but I hadn’t reckoned with the sub-zero wind-chill on Southwold Common which meant I couldn’t feel my arms by half-time, and that the considerable amount of weight I have gained in the past couple of years has severely hampered by ability to break into anything more than a comical trot-cum-shuffle.
However, plenty of supporters more used to seeing me in blazer and tie took the opportunity to direct banter of varying degrees of humour towards me which I accepted with good grace. I managed to survive the game without any major mishap, neither in terms of touchline decisions nor personal injury, so I rewarded myself with a couple of pints of the local Adnams.
The banter has continued online after Annette Edris from West Norfolk RFC posted this less than flattering, but regrettably accurate, picture of me taken at the game. If you are on Facebook you can view the comments by clicking this link.