Flags & Whistles – February 2019

St Helens Rugby League Referees Society Newsletter – Edition 33

New Beginings

New beginnings seems a very apt title for the launch of the new 2019 season, with a big reshuffle in the professional game and amateur leagues. The society has also seen a re-shuffle with members stepping up to the committee and members leaving likewise. Brian Cummings has taken up the Vice Chairman role following Phil Rigby stepping down, the society passes its thanks to Phil for his influence during his tenure. Another change on the committee is Ryan Cox joining as Online Media Officer, this following Stuart Fraser’s departure from the role. Stuart completed numerous Newsletters and ensured our social media was pushed to its limits. Stuart will still be present on the committee for 2019.

Grand Final venue, Old Trafford, was the stage for the 2019 Super League season launch in late January. This saw famous faces such as IBF Featherweight champion, Joshua Warrington and former England International footballer, Stuart Pearce , all talk about their love of the sport and how important it is to improve the image of the game Pearce said ‘From my point of view, the two toughest professions to play as a sportsman are Rugby League and a jump jockey- the players in Rugby League probably come out on top of the two. You’ve got to have a level of physical presence, technical ability both in your hands and in your feet. I think the two sports have got parallels but, in some ways, they’re a mile apart. The physical attrition that players have to go through on a game-by-game basis and recovery is nothing like football’. Just a few months prior to this the Rugby Football League announced that ex England football manager Tony Adams would become the president of the sport, taking over from Andy Burnham MP in the summer of 2019

Challenge Cup and National Cup dates for members

The society has a rich history of providing members for Challenge Cup games, including Mike Woodhead’s Wembley appearance in 2016 in the game between Hull FC and Warrington Wolves, this year was no different with members travelling the length and breadth of Britain; Challenge Cup Round 1 appointments were as follows;w

  • Drighlington VS All Golds – Denton Arnold (Referee) & Stuart Fraser (TJ)
  • Dewsbury Moor VS Skirlaugh – Tolver Arnold (Referee), Liam Jones & Mackenzie Maddison (TJ)
  • Distington ARL VS Torfaen Tigers – Shaun Pickering (TJ)

 2 weeks later Round 2 took place and yet again our members were present on games the appointments were as follow;

  • Distington VS RAF- Denton Arnold (Referee) & Ryan Cox (TJ)
  • Ovenden VS West Bowling- Tolver Arnold (Referee), Mackenzie Maddison & Stuart Fraser (TJ)
  • Congratulations to Shaun Pickering who was appointed to his first RFL game with his Challenge Cup game at Distington
Shaun making his Challenge Cup Debut.
Tolver, Liam and Mackenzie before kick off in Dewsbury.
Denton & Ryan pose with the two captains ahead of their Challenge Cup Round 2 clash.

BARLA National Cup 2019 and Dan’s first game

National Cup is also a big part of our members season and 3 members were involved in the prelim rounds and round 1 alike;

  • Waterhead Warriors VS Wakefield Hawks (U16 Preliminary round) – Stuart Fraser
  • Thatto Heath Crusaders VS Wibsey Warriors (U16 Round 1) – Stuart Fraser
  • Blackbrook Royals VS Skirlaugh (U16 Round 1) – Mackenzie Maddison

Congratulations to all our members who have been rewarded for their big efforts in pre-season.

Big congratulations must also go to Dan Bamber, Dan refereed his first game ever on 10th February at Blackbrook.

‘Leading up to the game I was experiencing mixed emotions. I was nervous and excited in the same breath. As the game started I guess I was still experiencing the same emotions, after a couple of sets had passed I felt I was calmer and focused on the job in hand. At full time I suppose there was a slight sense of relief but mostly a sense of achievement. I very much enjoyed refereeing and I’m looking forward to  my next appointment!’

Dan Bamber
Dan Bamber refereeing his first game.
Dan refereeing Blackbrook v Clock Face Miners

Meet Your Referees – Ryan Cox

Ryan Cox


Years Officiating

Highest Levels officiated;
NWC Under 16s (Referee)
Under 16s Scholarship (Touch Judge)
League One (Reserve)

Why did you start refereeing?

‘Well quite frankly I was rubbish at playing, this has been shown at training many times. I have a real passion for rugby league so what better way to be involved.’

Why should people take up the whistle?

‘I have met many lifelong friends through rugby, you earn some cash and learn valuable life lessons. Get involved!’

Ryan Cox
Ryan Refereeing the U12s NWC Plate Final in 2018 - Wigan St Pats v West Bank
Ryan Refereeing the U12s NWC Plate Final in 2018 – Wigan St Pats v West Bank | Photo by Mark Stringer

Teammates with Stuart Lloyd

Stuart Touch Judging Wales v Scotland U16s in July 2018
Stuart Touch Judging Wales v Scotland U16s in July 2018 | Photo by Mark Stringer

Who do you find the funniest member in the Society?
‘Mackenzie Maddison, because he has made me laugh the most since I joined.’
Who is the most boring member of the Society?
‘Definitely, Shaun. All he talks about is ringing Frank every day!’
Who has been the best trainer this year?
‘This season it must go to Shaun, he’s not the quickest but for me, he is the one trying his hardest every week.’
Who is the society sick note?
‘There’s a few I’d hate to mention any names.’
Who has the best changing room banter?
‘Definitely, Mackenzie Maddison. He’s a right laugh.’
Who is the best dressed member of the Society?
‘Well, I think it’s got to be me, right?’
Who is the worst dressed member of the Society?
‘Adam Jackson, he trains in his work clothes!’
Who wouldn’t you want to be stuck on a desert island with?
‘Stuart Fraser, he would have me doing laps to stay warm.’

Stuart Lloyd

Development Meeting Update

February’s Development Meeting took place on Tuesday 19th February, during this meeting members watched a clip of an incident during a Championship fixture. Members watched this clip through once and made notes that would be needed in a dismissal notice. Attendees then filled out a dismissal notice as they would if they were the referee on this game, reports were then read through and positives were picked out from each, likewise, there were development points from each one taken for future reference. Thanks were put to Shaun Pickering for organising the clip and Brian Cummings for running the meeting.

Stuart Fraser to run Virgin London Marathon

Away from refereeing, after his bike ride through Europe to Spa De Francorchamps, Belgium in 2017 Stuart Fraser is embarking on an equally difficult test in 2019, this to complete the Virgin London Marathon. Stuart is doing this in name of the National Autistic Society, after many attempts to enter Stuart was accepted in 2019 as part of a 40,255 strong list of runners, including Olympic Gold medal winner Mo Farah.

Stuart riding his bike in Belgium, 2017.
Stuart riding his bike in Belgium, 2017.

‘After working with children with Autism for the last few years I want to help raise money so that the National Autistic Society can continue to provide life-changing work. Please make this challenge worth it by donating what you can and helping me reach my fundraising target!’

Stuart Fraser

Contact Stuart if you want to donate to this great cause, good luck Stuart!
More to follow in April’s newsletter.

Inaugural Disability Super League Game

Sunday 17th February saw 3 of our members officiate the very first Disability Derby between Wigan Warriors and St Helens. The 2 games, taking place at Robin Park consisted of a Learning Disability team and a Physical Disability team from each club playing a 30-minute game. Wigan Warriors winning the first game by 44 points to 36. Following this game, the PDRL teams took to the field in a full-contact game. St Helens took the points from this game winning 20-8. Ryan Cox refereed the game with Nick Hart and George Johnson on the line.

‘The first game was a very slow game but with everyone enjoying the rugby. It was a difficult game to referee but once everyone got up to speed it was a good game. The second game was very quick with players making breaks and big hits going in. It wasn’t too dissimilar from a
usual game of rugby, tensions were high at points also. A crowd of around 200 took to the stand which made the occasion just that  little bit better!’

Ryan Cox

Important Upcoming Dates

General Meeting – 5th March 2019
Development Meeting – Tuesday 19th March 2019

Future Editions

Please send all future stories to Ryan Cox so these can be added to newsletters.
Please send all notable appointments to Denton Arnold so these can be added to the honours list.

One thought on “Flags & Whistles – February 2019

  1. The latest society newsletter is great , well produced and the contents great reading , well done to every one concerned in this ,,
    All the best for the comings season
    Mike Hesketh**** Life Member ***** Down Under ***** Western Australia

Comments are closed.