- Staffordshire RDO Tom Bartram takes up whistle
- Burton centre makes rapid progress as referee
Photo: RFU Archive
Tom Bartram, the RFU Rugby Development Officer for Staffordshire, is making a name for himself as an up-and-coming referee in the county.
Bartram played senior rugby for Birmingham & Solihull, Nuneaton and Burton having graduated from the Leicester Tigers Under-21s side.
But persistent knee injuries have threatened to end Bartram’s career and so he has taken up refereeing as a member of the Staffordshire Society.
He had already taken the Entry Level Referee Award as part of his RDO duties and has made rapid progress in the seven matches he has officiated.
Having started by refereeing a second team match involving the second teams of two clubs at level eight in the league structure, Bartram has since taken charge of an RFU Senior Vase match and last Saturday he refereed Leek v Shrewsbury in Midlands Two West North.
"I’m still undecided about my playing future. I’ve got to have another operation on my knee so I will decide after that," Bartram said.
"I can still run, it’s just taking contact that’s the problem, so I decided to take up refereeing to keep fit and have a bit of fun on a Saturday. It’s gone well so far and I’m quite surprised how much I’ve enjoyed refereeing to be honest.
"The feedback from the assessors and the sides that I have refereed so far has been good. But I’ve not gone into it with any pre-conceived ideas about wanting to referee the World Cup final in four years time or anything like that.
"I’m giving it a go, I will see how far I go with it but the main thing is that I am enjoying it and it keeps me involved in the game."
Bartram, 30, will be controlling a colts match between Lichfield and Telford Hornets on Saturday November 26 as the Staffordshire Society attempt to give him a spread of matches as part of his development as a new referee.