Society Newsletter

Flags and Whistles – October 2019

St Helens Rugby League Referees Society Newsletter – Edition 40

Denton Arnold & Shaun Pickering on International Duty

On the day which saw St Helens lift the Super League trophy for the first time since 2014, at Leigh Miners there was an International game taking place which two of our members officiated. Denton Arnold (Referee) & Shaun Pickering (Touch Judge) took charge of England Lions Youth v Scotland Under 19s in a Community International.

Shaun Pickering (left), Denton Arnold (centre) & Alan Billington (right – Widnes RLRS) pose after officiating English Lions Youth v Scotland U19s | Photo by Kings Pix

The game, streamed live on Our League & Twitch, was a physical encounter which ended dramatically with England scoring in the last few minutes to draw the game at 12-12.


Finals Galore

As well as International representation in October, the Society was represented across the country with members featured in many finals that took place as the season drew to a close.

The same day, as Denton & Shaun took to the field at Leigh Miners, Tolver Arnold was in action at Manchester Regional Academy were he was appointed as Referee for the Women’s Championship Grand Final. Warrington Wolves Ladies beat Barrow Raiders Ladies.

Tolver Arnold poses with his team ahead of Warrington Wolves v Barrow Raiders in the Women’s Championship Grand Final | Photo by Pete Smith

The National Conference League finals that took place at The LD Nutrition Stadium, Featherstone saw three of our members take to the field. Shaun Pickering and Mackenzie Maddison were appointed to Touch Judge the NCL Division 1 final between Featherstone Lions v Stanningley. Stuart Fraser was appointed as In Goal Judge to the NCL Premier Division final which saw West Hull beat Thatto Heath in Golden Point Extra-Time.

Shaun Pickering Touch Judging NCL Division 1 Final @ LD Nutrition Stadium

Adam Johnson and Phil Thomas both officiated at the North West Men’s League finals held at Asics Victoria Park Stadium, Warrington. Adam Refereed the NWML Division 3 final between Wigan Spring View v Thatto Heath B which saw the Wigan side win 13-10. Phil Touch Judged the NWC Division 4 final between Blackpool Scorpions v Cadishead Rhinos.


Meet Your Referees – Tony Brown

Name: Tony Brown

Age: 73

Highest Level Refereed?
‘“In my day” the system different. I was an “A” team Referee for two years but was not good enough to become a Grade One. I did Referee at first team level twice. At Hunslet when they played at Elland Road I took over from Kevin Allatt when he got injured and also when Referee Jim Smith arrived late at Salford. I refereed the first half and Jim took over at half time. Theend of the game was funny in that Jim was booed off but some shouted that I should have Refereed the whole game’.

Highest Level Touch Judged?
‘I was very fortunate in that I Touched Judged on some fantastic games;
– Wembley – x2 Challenge Cup Finals, x2 World Cup Finals & x2 Test Matches
– Old Trafford – x6 times across various Premiership/Championship Finals
– Villeneuve France – International Game
-Anfield – World Club Challenge
– First-ever Super League game in 1996 PSG VS Sheffield Eagles’

Best Moment of your career?
‘Appointment to my first Challenge Cup Final 1992’.

Funnest Moment of your career?
‘So many funny moments!!!! I found out about my first Wembley appointment via a phone call from Fred Lindop very early one morning while I was at work in school. Fred asked me what my chest size was. I had no idea what he was talking about. He then told me I had to go to a tailor in Castleford to get measured for a Wembley blazer’.

What would you say to someone starting out as a Match Official?
‘2019 is a different world/different game/different expectations. I always tried to Control the controllable- Fitness/ Availability/Commitment/ listened to advice and coaching/Respected the game and my colleagues/Accept the inevitable criticism/Accept the lows move quickly on from them/Recognise and Accept my errors-LEARN from them-Move on/Ask questions. Best thing I ever did becoming a match official-helped me grow up and achieve in my professional life as a teacher/made some lifelong friends/shared some special moments with my family/used the passion I had for the sport of Rugby League.’

Tony Brown – Life Member

‘Teammates’ with George Johnson

George Johnson (left) poses with Shaun Pickering & Denton Arnold after the Touch Judging Year 10 St Helens Schools Final 2019.

Who is the cleverest member of the Society?
‘Innes Arnold. He is the person you go to who will always give you a logical and correct answer’
Who do you think is the hardest working member of the Society?
‘Shaun Pickering. Whether it’s preparing clips for meetings, helping out with the newsletter or his high levels at training; this would definitely be Shuan for me.’
Who is the best rugby player within the Society?
‘Craig Smith. He has a decent pass and can score from anywhere when it is needed.’
Who is the worst rugby player within the Society?
‘100% Ryan Cox. He wouldn’t be half as bad if he could catch a ball, throw a pass or take the ball in without knocking on.’
Who is the most organised member of the Society?
‘This one has to go to all of the Arnolds. They always have spares of spares and are there with a back up if it is needed.’
Who is the worst organised member of the Society?
Me! I always forget either pens or pencil for the scoring or the coin for coin toss but I’d also give a shoutout to Shaun Pickering for constant forgetting his socks.’
Who is the most enthusiastic member of the Society at training?
‘Could go to a number of people this. I’d say Stuart Fraser.’

George Johnson – Young Member

Development Meeting Update

A decision was taken by Brian Cummings to only hold development meetings when requested by members. This decision was taken due to a decrease in attendances in recent months along with cancellations.


Society ‘Get Together’

St Helens RLRS will hold a ‘Get Together’, for all members past & present, at Greenalls Sports & Social Club on Friday 8th November 19:00 start. This will be a great opportunity for officials from different generations to meet up, discuss their careers and have a laugh with each other. All are welcome and the Society Committee looks forward to hosting everyone.


Important Upcoming Dates

Next Society General Meeting – Tuesday 3rd December 2019
Annual RFL Fitness Test – Sunday 8th December 2019
Annual Society Awards Night & Christmas Meal – Sunday 8th December 2019

Future Editions

Please send all future stories to Shaun Pickering so these can be added to newsletters.

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