More Referees award 2008/09
Winner: Ruislip RFC (Middlesex RFU)
In 2008, Ruislip RFC found that they had a strong vibrant playing side with a membership of several hundred, including almost 400 juniors (mini, midi and youth) and four active senior sides including Vets, but just two qualified referees. The club decided that this needed to change if all their games were to be enjoyed and played safely.
The club’s Youth Chairman completed the Entry Level Referee Award course in 2008 and set about organising an Entry Level Referee Award course for Ruislip RFC. The four week ELRA programme was strongly supported by the Ruislip RFC committee and a budget of just over £1500 was allocated to the project, a substantial sum for any club. This commitment demonstrated how seriously the club takes player welfare and the standard of refereeing at all levels.
Ruislip RFC’s plans were strongly encouraged by their regional RFU Referee Development Officer and supported by the Referee Coordinator at local club Ealing RFC, who had won last year's President’s XV More Referees award who offered advice about encouraging and developing referees. Members of the club responded enthusiastically and coaches, parents and players enrolled for the course all of whom passed. Ruislip now have 35 qualified referees and boast a minimum of two referees in every age group from U7s right through to Colts and Seniors. From this solid base it is intended to continue to build on the number and quality of referees to over 50 by the end of next season.
Runner Up: Cockermouth RUFC (Cumbria RFU)
Since it began, the referee section has become an integral and successful part of Cockermouth RUFC. All the clubs’ mini, midi, youth and girls coaches have been trained to the ELRA standard. The last eleven coaches recently completed the course, arranged by and held at the club, to which other local club referees were invited. Having all coaches qualified helped the players to better understand the laws and as the coaches are able to explain the laws during training, this led to a marked improvement in the attitude of young players to referees and the decisions made. All referees, whether from the club or outside, are treated with respect by all players, officials and volunteers due the deeper understanding gained.
Law interpretation is now an integral part of training sessions and the club provided guidance on the new ELVs to other clubs and school referees with the implementation of these at mini/midi and youth levels. The club has begun discussing the sharing of impartial and good quality referees with other clubs and this season has regularly provided a referee for one of the local secondary schools.
The section is currently committed to undertaking the Continuous Referee Development Award, showing its continued commitment to training referees to the highest standard. The section is developing links with the Lakeland Referees Society with one current member and two more to join for next season. The club’s Regional Referee Development Officer has been invited to the club to referee and observe the section’s referees and is assisting with the development of continuous training opportunities. The section regularly contributes referees to officiate at Mini/Midi Festivals within the county.
Runner Up: Kidderminster Carolians RFC (North Midlands RFU)
Having only five qualified referees in the senior section and three in the mini junior section, the club decided to concentrate on increasing referee numbers, having concentrated last season on increasing coaches.
Through their Training Development Plan and CPD questionnaires, they identified twelve volunteers interested in becoming referees; focusing on the U16 and U17 squads to encourage more youngsters to become actively involved in the club. As a result, they have run a course at the club which has ten people training as referees including three U17s. Two further U17 players have already qualified as referees and been involved in refereeing U12 and U13 games on a Sunday under supervision of a senior referee watching and advising from the sideline. Opposing teams and parent/supporters are all briefed on the newly qualified status of the referee so that ‘understanding’ prevails. This means that the newly qualified and young referees gain valuable experience and confidence in refereeing.
Through this program, the club have increased their referee numbers from seven to 20, including five U17s who will hopefully develop themselves further by completing further training courses including First Aid training and Child Welfare, as well as the next level referee course. The youngsters have lead by example and are now encouraging other players to follow this course and become referees themselves.
The next step is to develop them as coaches and three of the five U17 players are interested in completing a Level 1 coaching course. By helping and encouraging them to become referees and coaches, they are being kept in the game and more importantly part of the club and their future.