I felt that my first ever game of refereeing went well the previous Saturday with Karaka and Bombay U12’s. However, I was taken aback when Danny sent through the text asking if I could ref the Pukekohe v. Rosehill U69 then Pukekohe v. Glendowie U60. I was keen but didn’t think I’d rise above U12 and U13 until at least my second season. When I text back saying I was a bit surprised that he’d put me up to college level after one game his response was simply “Kevin, its u or nobody”.

The very next thought was shit! I’d better swot up on the rules and improve my fitness. The rules were the easiest part having downloaded the app and Sky (Land Rover Ist XV rugby). We won’t talk about the fitness.

The weather forecast was pretty foreboding so making sure I made sure I had what I needed should it be bucketing down was high on the list. Thermal t-shirts to counter the cold rain and an Aqua pad for recording the score were two essentials high on the list.

Game day! First game up, Pukekohe v. Rosehill. The Puke coaches told me that their team wasn’t that strong and Rosehill had posted 100 points the week before. The Rosehill coach told me that the last time these teams met had been a scrappy affair and he was trying to instil discipline within his boys. The game went well. A fairly even game which Rosehill won. The only niggle being a mouthy spectator keen to let me know what I was doing wrong – I simply told him I didn’t need his input with which he shut up and even apologised to me after the game.

The game didn’t have as much running as the Under 12’s the week before which was a relief considering both my fitness and a second game to ref straight afterwards. During this game Brandon gave me a few pointers at half-time which were basic errors – being less on the blind side and more in the open, and get my signalling in the right order; primary then secondary! 

The second game started at the same time as the rain but thankfully the rain was brief and apart from one more shower in the second half was fairly fine. This game was very one-sided as Puke ran up 69 points to Glendowie’s 7. Even so, the game flowed well and trying to remember Brandon’s advice I tried to ensure my positioning was better but I still got confused with my signalling.

Next up, grab some lunch and head to Karaka to AR for Ants with Karaka v. Bombay U21. Ants gave me the low-down on what took place the last time these two teams met but Ants handling of the game kept the game flowing without any incident. Being AR that close to the game afforded me the opportunity to watch an experienced ref but also be there to support him. The big take aways for me from the game were Ants’ signalling and how he wanted me to AR; marking the 10 m. mark at lineouts, etc. and the 5m. mark at scrums. In the games I’ve refereed I’ve only had parents running the touchline who have marked where the ball went out. Suggesting to them to mark the 10 & 5m. marks might be beneficial, not so much for me but for the boys to ensure they get themselves onside.

All in all, a great day but was I buggered at the end of it! Back to the fitness issue …