What was it that got you into refereeing?
John Voss of the Army Rugby Union Referee Society got me into refereeing. I had a few injuries after some sevens outings and so the plan was to keep as close to the game as possible without the risk of re-injury. As a referee, I know I’m not officially retired from the game!
What’s the most rewarding thing about being a referee?
I get great satisfaction knowing I can give something back to the game I enjoy.
I love the camaraderie within the Bristol Society and seeing seasoned referees training with up and coming referees. It gives those of us trying to move up the ranks the belief that anything is possible with a little bit of hard work.
I’ve always told myself that if I referee well for the guys at age group, then in a very small way I’ll have helped to mold players who in later life may become the future stars of England, Wales or whatever nation. Knowing that I was the guy they turned to when they were growing up in the game and said “good game ref”, makes it so worthwhile.
My sons wants to play for England, they are the wind behind my refereeing sails. They are the reason why I give this everything I can.
Show us your favourite refereeing photo
In my first Sevens season for Bristol Society I was fortunate enough to be a part of the two-man squad selected to represent Bristol Society at the South West 7’s 2016 at Exeter.
The talent and levels that were in the referees changing room was exceptionally good, but my great friend Jim (pictured) and I (both over 30) decided to do our ultimate best. We managed to secure appointments for the Cup Semi and Final.
The biggest lesson I took away from this was knowing that age is never a barrier. It all boils down to how much you want to get to where you’re going as well as how much you’re willing to work for it.
Tell us about your local refereeing society
I love the challenges these two societies present as ultimately my midweek appointments for the Army provide me with the training I need to sharpen-up for my weekend appointments for Bristol. Likewise, the areas of improvements that I get from my commitments with Bristol provide me with the knowledge I need for midweek appointments with the army.
The current fitness program with the Bristol Society has to be the thing that makes refereeing that much more different and cutting edge. It’s the ability to train and challenge amidst senior referees that keeps us all developing as a cohesive unit. I believe that this makes us better referees which in turn makes for a better game.
I love the exposure I’m getting with the Bristol Society, the places I have been to and the others I will visit. Ed Morrison is our president and that alone should make an up-and-coming referee want to join Bristol. From a refereeing perspective, it’s the personification of “walking amongst giants”.
What’s refereeing done for you personally?
I have matured so much more. I have literally found that niche where I can throw myself into situations that require so many different qualities all at once: patience, self-control, stamina, resolve, empathy, solitude and mental strength.
In doing so I’ve been able to apply these things to being a father (I have 8 & 6 year-olds and each thinks he is the better rugby player) and being a mentor at work. The list is endless and my self-confidence as a result has strengthened. Who would have thought!