What was it that got you into refereeing?
I started playing at university, and when a space came up on a refereeing course run by the RAF (I was also an Officer Cadet), I thought it would be a great opportunity to improve my playing by understanding what the rules actually were. One of my coaches at the time was also refereeing in Yorkshire, so I asked him if I could come along and give it a go.
By the time I’d finished my first full season with Hertfordshire I’d discovered I made a much better referee than a player and was sold from there.
What’s the most rewarding thing about being a referee?
There are several answers I could give to this, but ultimately it’s the sense of achievement I get from refereeing. The sense of achievement of a job well done on a Saturday, whether I’ve done a Women’s Premiership or a third team vets game or anything in between. Knowing that you have been a part of a successful game of rugby and that you have facilitated this is a wonderful feeling.
On game day we have a responsibility as referees to the players, the coaches and the spectators to perform to the best of our abilities and help provide the best game we can. It’s such a rush to walk off the pitch and know you’ve been a part of that.
I’m naturally quite a competitive person, so I love the challenge of being a female referee in the rugby world and proving that yes, the girls can do this too!
Tell us about your favourite photo?
I love this photo because it’s one of the few action shots I actually have of me refereeing – I seem to have a knack for avoiding the camera! It was taken by one of our Hertfordshire referees at the annual Harpenden Pub 7s tournament a couple of seasons ago. It’s a simple photo but for me, it reminds me of so much I love about the game.
I’ve had some amazing experiences with rugby so far in my career, including being a match official for women’s internationals, the A League and international 7s, but this photo helps remind me about what’s behind it all. We often get caught up in trying to become the best referee possible and climb the ladder, but it’s so important to remember where we came from and why we started this.
Tell us about your local refereeing society
I’ve been a member of several referee societies during my time, which has caused some entertaining moments when I’ve been asked who I belong to. Ultimately Hertfordshire is my home, and I’ve been a member Hertsrefs for all of my five seasons so far.
For a small county we have a very positive, ambitious and welcoming society with a diverse range of referees who are involved in all different parts of the game. There’s a good support network for new joiners and development referees alike, and we’re lucky that we have a broad pool of experienced coaches and referees to draw upon. The feeling of belonging and family in Hertfordshire is second to none, and we love sharing that with the rugby world too. #HertsRepresent.
What’s refereeing done for you personally?
If you’d told me five years ago when I started refereeing that it would have changed my life this much, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I look at everything now and I can say without a doubt that refereeing has had a hugely important impact on me. Firstly, the people. I’ve gained friends all over the world from the international refereeing community, as well as surrogate brothers and sisters from the Hertfordshire family.
Refereeing has also given me the confidence to be the person I am today. You don’t realise how many soft skills you take away from it: I’ve definitely used some of my player management techniques in the office before now! But alongside that it’s taught me to believe that I can perform, achieve the high standards I set myself, overcoming challenges and learning from them. And finally, of course, to be the fittest person I can be!