After a few weeks off due to none rugby events this week it’s back with a double-helping of North Mids members.

This week saw a trip to South Yorkshire again but this time slightly further along the M18 to Castle Park, the home of the Doncaster Knights for their Green King Championship (GKC) encounter against London Irish.

The after match food provided what is one of the best post-game pies I have ever had. Joining at Castle Park was North Mids’ other official currently operating in the GKC Mike Patz.

Mike is one of the more experienced ARs in the GKC and was a great help throughout the game whether that was on the field or as my translator – Yorkshire and Black Country doesn’t mix very well.

This week see a trip to Kingsholm for my first encounter in the Premiership Rugby Cup where I will be operating as 4th official for Gloucester vs Wasps.

See you soon






NMSRFR On The Road

This week saw a trip down the M40 to Reading where an opening Green King IPA Championship game for London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

On arrival you go into the players lounge where you are greeted with trays of sandwiches and a lot of tea and coffee which is something I could really get used too.

After making the small walk down stairs into the belly of the stadium you can see there was a bit of an offering in the dressing room. If I’m honest the sweets were a contribution from all of the officials.

A really good experience being in such a professional environment where my twin brother and nephew got the joys of the hospitality as well.

The coming week see a trip to Nottingham under the Friday nights of Lady Bay and then another  trip down the M40 on Saturday for the Green King IPA Championship live stream game at Ealing Trailfinders.


NMSRFR On The Road


Welcome to the first instalment of “NMSRFR On Tour” this article will be giving you an insight to my rugby Journey this season taking inside the various dressing rooms across the rugby world.

Our first trip took me to South Yorkshire to recently relegated from the Green King IPA Championship Rotherham Titans’ Clifton Lane.

As you will see as the season goes on the NMSRFR water bottle popping up in the photos. So what do you get on arrival to a National one? Firstly the thing that struck me was sense of a “community club”. Offerings in the dressing room this week Bananas, Jaffa cakes & plenty of water which was well received given the fact that during the game the temperature was upwards of 25c.

Next week will see a drive down to Reading to run the line in the Green King IPA Championship at the Madejski stadium.


Melissa Wright: Playing and Refereeing

NMSRFR Member, Melissa Wright, presented to the monthly meetings during the 2017/18 season on subject of being a female rugby referee. She took the time to give NMSRFR some further thoughts to share via the web. Thanks, Mel!

What’s your rugby background?

I’ve been playing rugby for 11 years after starting at university and was always a bit of an obsessive when it came to watching rugby and understanding the laws. Eventually, I decided I should stop being a sofa referee and just reading the laws on an app and actually get out and ref some real life matches – so in 2016 I did my referee courses and reffed my first match a few weeks later. Having played at nine and flanker, I’m rather familiar with the tricks and cheating you see at the breakdown – which comes in useful when bringing players in line!

What were your first matches as a referee like?

It was quite a wake up call! As a player you can focus on your one role and your experience of the game, but as a referee you need to have your eyes on as many aspects of the match and the players as possible. When you work out the thousands of possible infringements that could happen across the course of a game which you have to be alert to, it blows your mind. So my first few matches were overwhelming trying to get used to that different experience of rugby.

What’s it been like being a female referee?

I’ve barely noticed any difference in how players treat me than from my male colleagues – they’re still just as quick to let me know when they’re not keen on my decisions. Although I do get asked “Is it Sir or Ma’am?” before every single match without fail…! More noticeable is being shorter than most players – it makes seeing any cheating on the opposite side of the scrum a little harder…!

What would be your advice for would-be referees?

The younger you can start the better! Other referees are always extremely willing to support you and help you when you come across any issues – I have multiple colleagues in my phone I can call at any point with a pre or post match worry and they’re always very happy to give advice or simply have a chat.

Also, refereeing doesn’t mean you have to bring an end to your playing days. I still play for my team on Sundays and also referee on Saturdays and the occasional Wednesday. It does mean my life is pretty rugby-centric, but that’s no bad thing.

What do you love about refereeing?

It puts you right at the heart of the game in a way that no player or coach can experience it. You’re right there for the big hits, the magic passes, the fantastic tries. It’s also a constant intellectual challenge, both in the moment when you’re making your decisions and in the work around understanding and interpreting the laws. The camaraderie with the players is also one of the best things about the sport – they may not agree with everything you decide, but nine times out of ten you end up having a brilliant chat about the game in the bar afterwards anyway.

NMSRFR Referee Melissa Wright
Melissa Wright

Are you a player who is thinking of refereeing? If so, get in touch and we can help you start your refereeing career, just like Mel.

Andy Wigley on RFU Panel

Andy Wigley on National RFU Panel
Andy Wigley in Action

North Midlands Referee Andy Wigley was accepted onto the RFU National Panel of Referees at the end of the 2017/18 season.

Having refereed for 6 years, Andy started from the grass roots of the game and worked his way up through the society over 4 years. The hard work paid off when he got onto Midlands Group at Christmas 2015, and has since undergone a great learning curve to enable selection for the Panel.

Commitment and enjoyment is at the heart of his success, being appointed to 61 games last season. Highlights of his season included refereeing at Twickenham, Reserve Referee & 4th Official in the Greene King IPA Championship, Assistant Referee at Rugby Europe and Premiership 7s.

The promotion onto the National Panel has seen Andy’s refereeing style significantly change, as he worked closely with his coach Kelvin Roberts to adapt to the requirements at National League 2.

With the speed of the game changing and the players becoming more challenging, Andy has utilised the resources at his university to improve is performance. Enlisting the help of expert strength and conditioning coaches and nutritionists, alongside sports psychologists to adapt his management and work life balance, he has developed as a person and is able to deal with the demands of the game at this level.

We wish Andy every success in the future and look forward to watching him progress through theNational Leagues and beyond.