12 Oct 2007

I'm with Wayne Barnes

U11s run a lot faster than U10s and this season sometimes referees - even super-fit triathletes - find it hard to keep up. So, at two tries each, with three minutes to go, when the super-fast left wing was caught by the full back in the far corner, well I was just very glad I had a touch judge, and when his flag shot up it was a simple matter to call a line out 5m back.

"Line-out??" said the TJ indignantly, "Line out????? He wasn't out! That was a try!"

Now, I might not have the prestige of Wayne Barnes, but on my side I have many more years of experience, and I knew what I was doing:

"But..", said I, "...but you put your flag up!"

"Yes of course I did! I was signalling a try!"

There was a short pause, punctuated only by very troubled 11 year olds

"Ummm, yes,.. sorry about that, ref", he said, (delightfully sheepish, now) "I was, um, excited ... but it was a try"

I don't suppose this situation comes up very often for it's not mentioned in the Continuum. So I pondered for a moment, surrounded by 11yr olds with points of view, and it didn't take me long.

"Sorry boys, silly mix-up. Try given"

The boys were fine about it, I relaxed, problem solved.

Except for ....except for.... over on far, touchline a small group of parents were incensed "Oi Ref! But he put his flag up! Oi Ref, what are you doing? It's a line out, surely"

There are a great many hand signals available to the rugby referee, but they don't include anything for "Sorry, everyone, but the touch judge is a prat"

So I had to make one up. I'm altogether not certain it worked, but touch judge understood which, after all, was the important thing.