Referees - 2014 European Championships
16 England Referees ventured to Swansea to take part in the Euro’s. England was well represented within the group on 72 referees, we had junior referees all the way through to Team Leaders and Assistant Team Leaders, a Go to Coach and a Sheriff amongst us - but we were a team, us England refs may have been split up but we were all very excited and waiting for the big event to begin.
There was lots going on at the start of the week and none more important than the Junior Euro’s. England’s own Jake Hill and Kathy Van de Rijt were present for both days and put in amazing performances! Jake and Kathy were joined by several other England Referees on the second day to help lighten the workload. Jake and Kathy both walked away with goals achieved, their heads held high and more enthused than ever. Both also had the support of their families present to watch them succeed. Jake refereed the final of the Junior Euro’s between England and host nation Wales and Kathy for her consistent solid performances achieved her Level 2 badge upgrade. We are all very proud of both of you!
(L>R) Jake Hill, Shelley Grace (NDR), Kathryn Emily Davis, Jac Griffiths
So the Junior Euro’s now complete, the next item on the agenda is the Opening Ceremony. The flag bearer for the 2014 Euro’s was an England referee (an England referee had the privilege in 2012 Euro’s). This honour is one recognised by others and a major contributing factor is the contribution to the sport and none other is more deserving than Stephen Dubreuil. Stephen has run more referee courses for England Touch, more than most put together. He works continuously to ensure those who attend his courses are followed up with coaching, feedback and assessment. England has reason to be proud again!
Initial formalities aside, it was now down to business. Time for us to show all that we’d been preparing for.
As referees our team changes constantly, we are a team, within a team and within a team again. Every game is a new team in fact, and despite our dynamically changing teams, we then come up against all teams in all divisions, from all countries – every game and every day is different for us.
We took on the Open divisions, the Senior divisions and even the Junior games – there were no easy games for us. We knew that each team and each country were going to come out fighting, but we were prepared. We’d spent all year preparing for this. As a squad, we travelled far and wide (racking up many mile in the car in the process), followed the NTS/CTS Series around the country, attended every All England Squad Training camp and refereed in all weather conditions.
With new selection criteria and requirements introduced this year, we each needed to get selected – at some NTS/CTS and at every All Squad session, fitness was the order of the day. On a whole the England referees were fitter, more of a team and more determined than ever before. Grand gestures were made to show the England Referees what the players, coaches and all other interested parties thought and that was - we are part of Team England. England Referees were presented with their own Euro’s shirts that they could wear at the event at the same presentation that all the representative players received their shirts. We are Team England. Each of England’s successes during the Euro’s were also our own successes and similarly our successes at the Euro’s were also England’s successes. We each depend on the other and the admiration and respect is stronger than ever.
There was a formal referee dinner after the opening ceremony, and it was lovely to see all referees turn out in their finest! How good we all looked. The dinner also served the purpose of announcing the very special Lucas Von Hoff Award nominees. There were six nominees from 5 countries and England was nominated through Shelley Grace.
So there was nothing more to do now until the start … Game 1, Day 1 – who would be up first! Nerves and excitement were overwhelming. Referee appointments were unknown – which division, which country, which field, which timeslot, which other referees, who will water carry, which referee coaches will be out there – the questions were endless. And each day would be exactly the same.
It’s amazing how people can bond together so quickly, new faces were regarded as old mates in a matter of minutes, everyone was there for each other and to see and achieve the best that each can do.
With a work load of between 2 and 4 games a day –it’s tough going, but we love it. England’s referees did extremely well and each should be proud of their efforts, the struggles that they had to overcome during the week, battling niggles, injuries, different referee combinations, let alone the thought of a night out at a beach party and then missing fancy dress boxes to contend with.
At the end of the day, England walked away with:
- 3 black badge (Level 5) upgrades
- Shelley Grace, Shane Hills, Nick Richardson
- 4 red badge (Level 4) upgrades
- Uma Ramawsami [s], Ian Syder, Nicolas Van de Rijt, Matt Hobbs
- 2 yellow badge (Level 3) upgrades
- Gareth Hinds, Aubrey Collins
- 1 green badge (Level 2) upgrade
- Kathy Van de Rijt
- Most Improved Referee Award
- Aubrey Collins
- Top ranking Level 2 Referee
- Aubrey Collins
- Leading Female Referee
- Shelley Grace
- 6 referees ranking in the top 21 for finals appointments (out of 72 referees)
- Shelley Grace, Shane Hills, Nick Richardson, Ian Syder, Matt Hobbs, Aubrey Collins
- 3 referees with Open finals games
- Shelley Grace, Shane Hills, Nick Richardson
- 16 referees putting in a tremendous effort which did themselves and England Touch proud.
- Jake Hill, Kathy Van de Rijt, Shelley Grace, Sarah Porcelli, Uma Ramawsami, Nick Richardson, Shane Hills, Ian Syder, Gareth Hinds, Aubrey Collins, Nicolas Van de Rijt, Bruce Lockie, Stephen Dubreuil, Matt Hobbs, James Shanahan, Graham Smith
All in all it was an extremely successful event. There are many people who are deserved of a special thank you within England Touch and with the Touch Europe Referee Commission and on behalf of the England Touch Referees we do thank you all for your continued support, encouragement and all the good times we all have together. To the ENGLAND REFEREES thank you for being such a wonderful team – it was a pleasure and look out Euro’s 2016!