Border Rugby Referees’ Society
Regional Development Manager
Wednesday 25 March 2009
Recruitment and Retention
Once again recruitment is a problem. We have had a new member join us who has considerable experience refereeing within the Combined Services. We have also had two former members re-joining the Society although one of these is not available on Saturday’sWe have three new young members who are working well at Under 16 age group and below with good reports being received. I have had an enquiry from someone keen to start refereeing but he is yet to do his Level 1 course so we will wait and see. Also a couple of other contacts to be made.
We continue to have a very experienced group of referees’ within the Society. As with my report last year the problem is how much longer these guys will go on. We will definitely have one retirement with the possibility of a further two. This will not have a huge effect as John Steele does mainly SRU games and David Dods was mainly helping out in emergencies but it is a worrying fact these are two very experienced officials.It does mean we need to be much more pro-active as a Society in recruiting new members. We now have an established weekly training night where people showing an interest can come along and meet fellow members. You are the people who are in your local clubs and know people who may be interested. Please start to really encourage them to take up refereeing.
Allocation, Grading and Coaching
Once again a very tough task on the allocation side. Thanks go to Iain Houston and George Murray for their assistance in allocating the referees each month. This meeting takes on average two hours and a lot of thought does go into the appointments. As ever we have had to field a fair bit of criticism from clubs who complain about the allocation. It will continue to be the policy of the panel that we will decide on appointments and not the clubs.A special mention to Jim Lauder who does a huge amount of work re-allocating referees who turn back appointments and also appointing to last minute games. I think if Jim and I had one gripe it would be that a number of referees still do not accept fixtures when they are published and also do not declare their unavailability on the ABW system.I appreciate there has been a problem with the e-mail alerts but I would ask you use common sense and do a regular check as the appointments are usually published around the same time each month. This system costs the Society each year. As Ronnie has outlined the new funding situation we need to show the SRU we are getting value for money for what we spend. For next season let’s try to make Jim’s job easier by marking any dates you are unavailable and then accepting appointments within a week of them being published.Coaching and Grading has been somewhat restricted this season. We currently only have 4/5 coaches who are available most weeks. Unfortunately Roy Veitch has been “injured” for most of the season leaving us with 4. The others have had various commitments meaning we have not been able to watch as many referees as we would like.As it stands most get watched as a form of “MOT” but if we do get more recruits we will need to get these people coached.
• David Changleng also been involved at Magners and European level as well as Six Nations.
• Andrew McMenemy has had a very good year. He was appointed to referee at the IRB Edinburgh Sevens and is of course at present in Hong Kong with Adelaide next week. He refereed his first International between Georgia and Romania. This involved a Team of 3 all from our Society.
• Cammy Rudkin has had an excellent season taking charge of both his first Prem 1 games and also his first Women’s International. He is heading to France next month for an Under 19 International and also down south to referee the Royal Navy v RAF.
• David Crudge has also come on leaps and bounds this season. His first Prem 1 games have gone well and he was given the Boroughmuir v Ayr match which was probably game of the day that weekend.
• Our Touch Judges have again been active at the Senior Level with Ronnie Dumma and Alan Forrest involved in a number of Heineken Cup, Challenge Cup and Magners League games. As well as International games both at Senior and Age Grade levels.
• Just to show once the legs go it is still possible to get top level games Iain Ramage and Iain Heard have been TMO at a number of European and Age Grade International matches.
In addition to these guys who always seem to get the mentions a number of our “Society” members have shown great commitment in refereeing every weekend as well as sometimes twice a week. Without these guys the Society would not function.A special mention to the large number of Society members who turned out for the Melrose Sevens Festival. We covered 76 matches over two days. Assistance was received for touch judging from licenced referees however this was a huge effort especially on the Friday in the downpour.
Another very good season with a continuing presence at the top level. As a Society we have 45 “active” referees’ and to have 12 of our members involved most weeks at SRU level is a great achievement.
• One joint foundation course held in September attracting 14 Foundation licence referees’.
• Eight Level One courses attracting 87 new Level One licenced referees.
• Andrew Mitchell and Graym Hunter successfully completed their Level 2 courses in the summer and Colin.
• Touch Judge Course is to be run on Monday 30th March.
• The course structure has remained the same. We will of course have to look at this due to potential law changes.
• The current Joint Foundation Course is being rewritten.
Another very busy year with courses. It was agreed with the Club DO’s we would try to get as many new licenced referees at the start of the season as possible. As such a concentrated effort over the first 8-10 weeks saw the majority of the towns covered.It is intended that the new Joint Foundation course will be delivered by the Club DO’s in the future. I would expect to try and run more centralised courses next season to save on time.
As reported last year exchanges are becoming more difficult to arrange. There is very little development and therefore scope to send referees within Scotland.With regard to the external exchanges we were unable to send anyone to Manchester due to other commitments.Craig Smith represented the Society in Liverpool and survived to fight another day.Thanks to a longstanding contact with Andy Melrose we managed to send a couple of guys to Dorset & Wilts and I would like to think this will continue. This is to be viewed as much more of a social exchange. The Dorset & Wilts guys came to our dinner and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.
I see no real change in thinking from last season. Whilst it is much tougher to get people to exchange within Scotland I would like to keep the external exchanges going. The one are of concern is the funding based on the new proposals for parts of our income. This has the potential to have an impact on our ability to pay the share of these trips. However as Ronnie has mentioned we are still in a very comfortable state financially and would like to think the Society will continue to assist in funding these exchanges.
Scottish Rugby Union
My role with the Academy has increased considerably this season. I now manage 11 referees including two Society members. This entails regular meetings, dvd analysis of games, planning of coaches, watching games, appointing to various fixtures and having regular contact with these people.As such I have spent a considerably larger proportion of my time on Academy matters this season. As such I would like to thank John and his committee for the assistance in taking away work from me and carrying this out themselves. As previously mentioned Jim Lauder has done a huge amount with the allocations.The Academy itself appears to be making progress. All of the Senior Academy members have shown improvement this season with both higher level appointments as well as being much more comfortable at their normal level.The Junior Academy has seen two of the five already promoted to the SRU panel with the hope one other will be offered a place for next season.The other two members are two of our female referees. They are also improving and have been running touch at all three of the Women’s 6 Nations games in Scotland.The aim of the Academy both now and in the future is to improve the quality of referees’ whether it be from District to SRU or SRU to High Performance. Roy and I want this to continue to perform and grow so that I will continue to spend more time on.
• The Referees Department has increased by 4 since last AGM. We now have two full time referees in Peter Allan and Andy Macpherson. Also on board are Colin High and Bill Calder who are Part-time coaches with a main responsibility for the HP Group but assist with the Academy referees when available.
• A number of “weel kent” faces left the Union earlier in the year and I am sure their experience and knowledge will be missed.
• Budgets have been submitted for next season and we have tried to reduce our spending on non-essential items. I am happy to report I have produced savings within my budget however these should not have any great effect on the work done locally.
• Once again a successful season both on and off the pitch.
• We have had more issues this season than last however I think the committee and appointments panel have dealt with them. One in particular was of concern especially as there was an intimation from a club that a referee was responsible for a player giving up the game. This was responded to in a straightforward manner to re-affirm the referee does not kick or punch players and that coaches have a duty of care for their own players.
• Monthly meetings were held throughout the season with various topics being covered. Thanks to our guest speakers for assisting.
• Training nights have continued although average numbers have reduced. These nights are good fun as well as a good workout. It would be good to see numbers increase next season.
The Society continues to be well run and thanks to the committee for this. Once again thanks to John and his committee for the work they do during the season.Members have also been extremely hard working during the season.The only area of concern I have is that the attendances at our Monthly meetings have started to dwindle. These meetings are an important source of information and also a way of sharing experiences between fellow members.I appreciate that people have other commitments but if anyone has any ideas of how we can improve I would be more than happy to listen. It may be that monthly from December onwards is too much.
• The main priority has to be the recruitment of referees’ The preference would be for promising youngsters however anyone interested will ease the burden on the existing members.
• Whilst this season has been quiet on the abuse front it does not mean that it has gone away. We need to continue to work hard on this.
• There are a number of our more senior referees’ who will make excellent coaches however until we increase the membership we need them to continue refereeing.
• Continue to cover all matches in the Borders.
• I will require to spend much more time dealing with the National Academy next year therefore I will have to prioritise the work I do for BRRS and will have to hand certain tasks back to the committee.
In my second season in the post I feel more comfortable in dealings with everyone as RRDM. This is in no small part down to the Society members who have show the support they have. As I have said the Academy is taking up more and more of my time but I will continue to do as much as possible towards the development of referees in the Borders.My understanding of people’s other commitments has increased considerably although as stated earlier this would increase even more if people would use ABW more.I hope in the coming season we will be able to recruit more referees and that they will be welcomed into the Society. I would be grateful if you, the members could be more proactive in trying to recruit people to our Society.Finally my thanks go out to everyone who has refereed games this season. This includes those who do the odd game every month right through to those doing Saturday and Sunday on a regular basis. Without you guys not only would the Society not exist but Borders rugby would not exist. I still don’t think the clubs appreciate fully what we do for them and probably never will however within the Society your efforts are much appreciated.
Regional Referee Development Manager
25th March 2009