Young Match Officials (YMO)

YMOs fly the flag for Luke Pearce and the North Midlands RFU & Ref’s Society.

The North Midlands RFU organised their centenary celebrations at Ellesmere College on Wednesday 27th November and our very own YMOs Ash and Paddy had the great pleasure of Assistant Refereeing for Luke Pearce and meeting Sir Bill Beaumont. Both of the YMOs did a fabulous job of representing the society, see write up on the experience below.

“On the 27th of November of last year, I had the privilege to assistant referee at Ellesmere college against Wrekin college for Luke Pearce. It was a surreal experience which will be hard to top in my refereeing career. It was great to watch a professional do what they do best, and strange to see someone you see on the tele standing right in front of you. It was an amazing celebration for the centenary of the midlands rfu, in which I was also lucky enough to meet Sir Bill Beaumont, ex-England captain and ex-student at Ellesmere, which was also a surreal experience. I am honoured to have been a part of the celebration, and look forward to where refereeing will take me.”

Paddy, YMO

“To hear those golden words, ‘we have a ref’ is like winning the lottery for us, so thanks to the ‘young whistler’ who I thought had an excellent day.”

U14’s Team Coach
One of our first crop of YMOs in action at the North Mids Junior Finals Day DK RFC 2019

Following their day officiating at a Worcester Festival our YMOs were given the opportunity to meet the Professional Match Officials after their Worcester Warriors vs Sale Sharks game.
Worcester Valkyries development Referee Team. 

“Big thanks to two of our YMO’s for acting as ARs at Sixways as I refereed a charity match between West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police. They gave great assistance and both teams were full of praise for their efforts!”

James Ranford, North Midlands Referee

“There currently is a small group of YMOs available in the north midlands, I am totally amazed at the amount of support they have, Saturday afternoons they turn up to help senior games as an AR then Sundays try to take what they have learned from their mentors at junior level with a senior referee on the side giving valuable advice. The parents of the YMOs help and support each other too. Just shows the spirit of the game is fantastic. Onwards and upwards!”

Proud Dad of a North Midlands YMO

Upcoming YMO Opportunities

Warwickshire Girls County Festival, NB: Change of venue to Coventry RFC 8th March – U18s and U15s Girl’s County festival, there are opportunities for both experienced (U15s 15-a-side games) and novice (AR for U15s games) YMOs. There will be a round robin of 15-a-side games in the morning and 7s/X7s in the afternoon which will be suitable for all levels of YMOs to get involved with as the organisers are trying to put out teams of three. This should be a really fun event which will also include the Warwickshire Referee’s Society’s YMOs.

North Mids Girls County Festival, Telford RFC (TBC) 22nd March – U18s and U15s Girl’s County festival – the U15s inter-county games will be more suited to the more experienced YMOs with a few games already under their belts this season. Expenses paid on the day by the organisers.

Worcester Warriors Junior Festivals These are ideal opportunities to take that first step in to refereeing if you haven’t taken the plunge since completing the ERRA or if you are feeling a bit rusty after some time off. Our other YMOs have started out at these festivals and found them fun and really useful learning opportunities. 

21st March – U9, 10, 11 & 12 festival

11th April – Girls festival

25th April – U7 & U8 Festival

30th May – Schools Tag festival- U13s Festival at Sutton Coldfield

These events (previously known as “Pitch Up and Play” are ideal refereeing opportunities for newly qualified YMOs

YMO Mentors

Our team of YMO Mentors are active and experienced society referees who kindly offer their valuable time to ensure the next generation of match officals get off to the best start.

Without these superstar volunteers the YMO project simply wouldn’t be possible: Tony Jones, Paul Salisbury, Nancy Wilkin-Mead, Rab Cooper, James Ranford, Jamie Richards, Paul Owens, Peter Hunt, Kieran Bateman, Rod Blaine, Mike Vaughan & Leonie Pryor.

“I get loads of support from the society, I have my own mentor and she’s just incredible, she gives up so much of her time for me. The other referees are all really supportive. There’s quite a few female referees within our society who we can look up to and take inspiration from.”

North Midlands YMO

YMO Appointments Info

Paul Scott is our Sunday referee appointments secretary and below are some of his top tips to making sure you get a game:

Simply log in to the WHOSTHEREF (WTR) website and on the ‘Contact Availability’ calendar change the red cross to a green tick, or select AM/PM. From this I can see that you want a game and I can then try to find a local game for you that is a suitable age group and level for your current experience or grade. Once you have been allocated to a game, you will get an email asking you to ACCEPT or DECLINE the fixture. When you have accepted your appointment, WTR will automatically send an email to the home club inviting them to make contact with you to confirm arrangements (it is important that your contact information on WTR is accurate and that you ensure WTR emails don’t disappear in to your junk mail box).
Simply getting an email/text/voicemail is NOT confirmation, you must respond to the club (in effect confirming the confirmation!)
The club will confirm location, Kick Off time, changing facilities etc and you get the opportunity to ask questions, i.e. what colours will both sides be wearing.
If you do not hear from a club by 48 hours before kick off time, you must contact me to advise. Never turn up without confirmation. After that, just turn up and enjoy yourself!

YMOs “flying the flag” and putting their recent AR course in to practice.

Peter’s Pointers

One of our YMO Mentors Peter has put together the following lists of useful pointers:

Before the Match

Try to arrive at the venue 1 hour before kick off. Search out the coaches and introduce yourself. Check the following with the coaches:

  • Do they have a full squad.
  • Do they have a first aider – identify that person if possible and introduce yourself.
  • Do they have a designated mentor who will be responsible for controlling touch line behaviour.
  • Ask when it will be convenient to check studs and talk to the players. It is usually easier to do this on the field after you have changed.
  • Check colours – no clash with each other and ensure you will stand out.
  • Will they go back into the changing room after warm up.
  • Confirm kick off time.
  • Call in captaings to do the toss.

Get changed – ideally be changed 30mins before KO. Check the pitch – flag posts, post protectors, condition of pitch. Warm up

Pre-Match Talks

Check studs and that soles are not cracked. No jewellery. Ask to speak to the following:

  • Anyone likely to play front row
  • No.9
  • No.10
  • Captain
Front Row
  • Ask them to confirm they have been trained for front row.
  • Explain sequence – Crouch, Bind, Set and that you will expect a good bind with stable position.
  • Determine who will be front of line out and explain you will mark his position when defending. Ask him to be available for the toss when responsible for number checking.
  • Explain you will whistle sharply if something is not right and they must stop pushing immediately.
  • If conditions are difficult ask them to let you know if they can’t hear you at scrum time.
No. 9
  • Tell him to wait until the scrum has set and is stable
  • Credible feed
  • If he/she asks when the ball is out then confirm
  • If they want to take a quick penalty let you know and make sure its from the mark
No 10
  • Make him/her responsible for 5m at the scrum and 10m at the lineout and keep the others onside. You might suggest you will keep your arm up at the lineout until the ball has left the lineout
  • Any questions
  • Be available for the toss when you have spoken to the other team
  • Advise how long to kick off
The Toss
  • Make sure you have a coin!
  • Winner of the toss can either chose ends or kick off (not chose to receive)
  • Explain we will work together to keep discipline – they are responsible for discipline of their team and you only want to be talking to the captain, and front rows at scrum time
  • Make a note of who will kick off
  • Watch with stop watch facility and elapsed time. You WILL forget to restart the time after a stoppage so elapsed time will give you a good back up. Casio make a good referee watch RFT-100
  • Whistle – Acme Thunderer
  • Wrist lanyard for whiste
  • Score card. The NMSFR website has downloadable score card. Card holder can be bought on Ebay for a couple of pounds
  • Sharp pencil x2
  • Flags
  • Drink

Off the field arrive looking reasonably smart. On the pitch:

  • Clean Kit
  • Shirt with North Mids logo if possible
  • Shorts
  • Socks
  • Enjoy!

This page is maintained by our YMO Co-ordinator, Leonie. You can contact Leonie using the form below:

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