English and European officials team up at Ryvita Touch Nationals

This year’s Ryvita England Touch Nationals was the biggest ever event and not just for the players; #TeamRef also had a memorable weekend!

The highlight of the ETA calendar for players competing for their national squads, Nationals is also a key event for referees who work hard throughout the season to prepare for this unique challenge.

As well as being physically demanding (running multiple games each day – but without being able to sub off for a break!) it also requires refs to adapt their skills to suit each of the different divisions. Referees are also working towards their own personal achievements, being developed and coached throughout the season to prepare the assessment opportunities only possible at major tournaments.

Thanks to our full-time referee coaches, all of the referees benefitted from individual feedback and coaching to develop their skills. And congratulations to the following referees who received upgrades!

L1: Max Raymond
L2: Adrian Fear, Ben Powell, Charlie Meredith, Dominic Shaw, Julia Kang and Robin Budd
L4: Alice Watchorn, Mike Green and Francois Marboeuf.

Although not everyone was shooting for an upgrade, there were plenty of ‘fines’ to go around. These were collected each morning by the Sheriffs (Melissa Day and Niklas Grupe) for such offences as falling over on the pitch and forgetting your whistle! Between them the refs did enough silly things to raise over £150, which will be split between charity and a donation to the Junior Referee Academy. This is a fantastic training programme for developing referees under the age of 20 across Europe.

This year the referee team consisted of over 40 referees and referee coaches – the biggest team of all! Recruiting enough referees to cover three days of competition (on a sunny bank holiday no less) was always going to be challenging, but with 28 teams competing across four divisions, we had our work cut out for us. Thank you to all the England referees who chose to spend their weekend with us supporting the Touch community:

Adrian Fear, Alice “Scooby” Watchorn, Bronwyn Wake, Chantel de Senna, Charlie Meredith, Chris Wearmouth, Gareth Hinds, Genevieve Mitchell, Gregg Cropper, Ian Syder, Jack Hawken, Jonathan Grossman, Julia Kang, Kathy Van de Rijt, Kevin Hill, Layo Aromire, Matthew Walker, Melissa Day, Mike Green, Nicolas Van de Rijt, Robin Wylie, Stephen Dubreuil, Uma Ramaswami.

Unfortunately this was not nearly enough referees to staff such a rapidly expanding event, but thankfully we had a great response from our European friends, who joined us in force despite not having a bank holiday to rely on! We are very grateful for their support in making England Nationals such a success:

Austria – Derek Fisher
Belgium – Phil Holliday
France – Marine Douaud, Sylvain Charras
Germany – Renat “Randy” Iskahov, Francois Marboeuf, Barbara Garcia, Niklas Grupe, Robert MacGregor
Guernsey – David Strawbridge
Ireland – Molly Whelan
Scotland – Lani Baird, Peter Faassen de Heer
Spain – Jorge Aranda Diaz
Switzerland – Irene Waelti, Matthew “Shanghai” Boesen, Nick “Disco” Richardson
Wales – Jon Francis, Matt Reid

Thanks to everyone in our European Touch family for the support, and we look forward to working with you more in the run-up to next year’s EFT European Championships in Nottingham next year!