Referees training day

The Referees held a training day to that coincided with the culmination of the Commonwealth Cup in Plymouth; it was attended by 25 society members travelling from all parts of the country. The Day started with the presentation of the annual Society awards. Firstly Geoff Howells was recognised as the Referee of the Year; collecting the Admiral Royds Trophy. Geoff has made great progress through the year juggling a busy operational job with refereeing both Service and civilian matches; 2008/09 culminated in him being promoted to Level 6. The Newcomer of the Year award was made to Wolfie Power, who in his short time as a referee has been promoted rapidly to level 9; Wolfie turns out for the Royal Navy, Combined Services and Dorset & Wiltshire Societies. The Training Day’s theme was “Making Decisions Under Pressure”. It kicked of with a lively question and answer session with Ex Bath and current Plymouth Albion coach Graham Dawe. He was extremely candid and gave the referees a fantastic insight into the inner workings of a Championship Rugby Club and what he wanted (as a coach!) from referees. Not all of his requests were within the gift of referees but he certainly provided plenty of food for thought. With a change of direction Gp Capt Spiv Mason OBE game an entirely different perspective on making decision making under extreme pressure. He is a highly decorated SF Chinook pilot who recently commanded the Joint Helicopter Force in Afghanistan. He gave an extremely thought provoking presentation on making accountable life and death decisions; he certainly brought blowing a whistle on the pitch sharply into perspective, although many of his observations on training, experience and confidence could be read across to refereeing. A good friend of the Society and a RFU Referee Development Manager Steve Harland rounded off the classroom section of the day with some syndicate work, challenging the referees do some thinking themselves on how pressure affects them in match situations. As always his points were backed up using pertinent DVD clips. The day was concluded by decamping to Brickfield to watch the Navy BaBas v Devon & Cornwall select coached by our new friend Graham Dawe. Picture: Geoff Howells receives Referee of the Year Award