Rab Cooper

Rab at WarriorsWhat’s your day job ? Learning mentor – I work in a primary school, where my main duties is working with students suffering all sorts of issues e.g. bullying, depression, bereavement etc. I also sometimes teach normal lessons as an in-house supply teacher.

How long have you been refereeing ? Five years

First match you can remember? Camp Hill U17’s vs Market Harborough U17, watched by our current chairman! (sorry Kelvin!)

Why did you start refereeing ? Partly it was to try and understand the game better, but as someone who suffered with confidence issues, I threw myself in it to try and get on top of it. I very quickly caught the buzz, and very rarely play anymore. My wife also hated seeing me getting hurt and encouraged me to do it.

Favourite venue to referee at? I’ve reffed at Sixways (Worcester Warriors), but I also like Moseley, Bournville, Walsall and Birmingham Uni. Basically I love 4G to ref on (not so much to play on though!)

Best refereeing moment so far? 1) Reffing the Varsity game between Aston Uni & BCU – crowd of at least 500 was some atmosphere.
2) Reffing B’ham Uni 2’s vs Loughborough in a uni cup semi- final – was a big step up for me in terms of skill, but was highly satisfying as I was more than capable.
3) Was an assistant referee for B’ham Moseley vs the Army. Got to see and listen in to a current championship referee, which changed my perspective a lot on how to go about the job.
4) Gained two world records as part of team of refs for the longest games of 15’s (29.5 hours) & 10’s (24.5 hrs).

The last game you refereed? Veseyans 2’s (28) vs (26) Stafford 2’s. Extremely well matched game, fast and good skills & tactical awareness. Two YC’s, 1 RC.

Pre-match meal? Four Weetabix & a banana – jelly babies at half time (idea nicked from the champ. ref!)

Any pre-match rituals or superstition ? As I’m getting ready, my shirt must go on last even after putting watch, whistle etc. in pockets. I also seriously dislike checking studs & doing the brief in changing rooms, preferring to do them on the pitch.

One piece of advice for new referees? You are going to make mistakes, and that is ok. Seriously, truly. In the future, all correct decisions you make will be the result of making the mistake in the past.

Best piece of advice you were given ? Every decision is going to annoy at least half of everyone there. Sometimes you are just the bad guy, regardless of whether you are right or not. Have fun!

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