What was it that got you into refereeing?
I had played rugby for Moseley but then after a broken ankle, leading to several operations, I had to admit my playing days were over, so I took up coaching. I completed Level 1 and 2 and currently coach at Spartans Rugby Club in Warwickshire. A conversation with a referee after a game suggested that I give refereeing a try. So, I booked on the ELRA and have not looked back.
Although I qualified around 8 years ago, I have only really been actively refereeing for three seasons. This season in particular I’ve taken a step away from coaching to concentrate on refereeing.
What’s the most rewarding thing about refereeing?
I get to run around on a rugby pitch! Whilst I really enjoy coaching, I still missed being an active part of the game. Refereeing has given me the opportunity to be back on the pitch, even when it is cold, wet and windy I love every minute of it.
Tell us about your favourite photo
I have a number of photos that I could have used but this one came to mind straight away. I am referring Warwickshire v East Midlands at Webb Ellis Road. I can’t remember what was said but it sums up how I feel on a rugby pitch.
Tell us about your local referee society
I am a member of Warwickshire Referees Society. They are extremely supportive and innovative in their approach. Currently I am the Training and Development Officer, a role I took on at the start of this season and, as a teacher, it seemed like a natural role to have.
I enjoy delivering training, organising training events and working closely with the RFU team. We meet monthly with a different focus for each session. Referees are coached and observed and using Dartfish there are a large number of learning and development opportunities. We have recently started using Google Classroom as we are unable to actively meet in the current climate.
I’ve made some really great friends and referees of all levels are happy to share their experiences and support you on your refereeing journey.
As a referee how do you manage the work / life balance?
As a full-time teacher and mother of two, refereeing is my outlet. I look forward to Saturday afternoons and if I am lucky also Sunday afternoons. Both my boys play rugby so I will often referee their school/club games which I also enjoy. Recently my son played his first senior game at Spartans and I was able to referee and share the field with him. I don’t expect there are many Mom’s that can do that!
Fitness has been something I have worked hard on. Coming to refereeing late this was important to me so I have a PT instructor and attend Fitness Junction Gym. I manage to get to the gym at 6am and back home before the boys leave the house for school and I need to leave for work.
How are you keeping fit during lockdown?
Simon McNeilly is my Physical Trainer from The Fitness Junction and we have three virtual sessions a week. Myself and my hubby (also a referee) have found enjoyment in beautiful walks on our doorstep. I have also increased my running and found it important to challenge myself as I am working towards progressing with my officiating and moving up to the next level.
I’m currently on the Advanced Match Official Award which is really exciting and interesting; making me explore my ethos and philosophy of refereeing.