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SimonSmith
03-09-04, 14:09
I'm not claiming the credit for this one, it's an idea that someone else ran by me....

There is a growing emphasis on materiality as a concept - allowing hands in the ruck to free up the ball at the back, allowing slightly not straight - we all have our little examples.

Scenario: high kick goes up, and full back is underneath it. No-one else at all close by. He knocks the ball SLIGHTLY forwards trying to catch it, and then regathers it, and makes ten yards before encountering the opposition.

We'd all blow for the knock on. Why? It wasn't material. No-one was denied advantage or competition for the ball. There was no opposition around him....

I'd love to hear the opinions on this particular example, before we descend into the concept of materiality and our pet peeves....

League mate
04-09-04, 10:09
I think the attacking team would disagree and in fact the whole concept of attacking kicks would be negated .
Does that help ?

Davet
05-09-04, 19:09
But he failed to catch the ball, the material fact is that he then had another go at it. If we say that this doen't matter then maybe he would be better advised to simply bat the ball to the floor than trying to catch it, and then pick it up from there, after all there was no competition anywhere near him so why not....?

I can't accept that this would be OK.

We need to reward skill, and lack of skill should lead to difficulties for the unskilled. The not straight on the quick throw is a point to consider. No competition for the ball so lets just on with it...except that if the law had been adhered to the quick throw would have been harder, the timing would have been slower, maybe more chance of a tackler getting closer...so the material benefit is that it became easier for the players.

I think materiality is not part of this - what it is about is for example the defending scrum-half who steps offside at scrum but doesn't actually get in the way or interfere, perhaps retreating when he realises. Why blow up for that? Technically he was offside but......was it material?

Pablo
06-09-04, 11:09
110% with Dave on this. Very eloquently put, Mr. Tooke! Ineptitude must be penalised or the game becomes worthless.

Robert Burns
06-09-04, 23:09
Indeed, it's a fundemental rule for your first example, the ball cannot travel forward out of hands, so allowing it to happen is going against how the game is supposed to be played. As for the others, as said before, they reward skill and dissadvantage the inept, the way all spoort should be.

GazMaz
07-09-04, 12:09
Where's the Skill at Full back level, rubbish Full Back I say materially I'd blow.

SimonSmith
07-09-04, 14:09
I'm not disagreeing with much of what has been posted. But..... ;)

We are supposed to look at infringements as to how they impact upon the game. For example, if someone puts a foot offside twenty yards away from the breakdown, we would probably ignore it as it has minimal, if any, impact on the game. However, a hand on the ball slowing it down gets penalized as it has had a direct impact upon the game.

That is a nutshell of what constitutes materiality. We don't penalize every single penalizable offence that is committed.

I understand the emotional reaction to the knock-on, but would like to go back to my example. Yes, an offence has been committed. However, what has the impact been on the game? I would agree that if an opponent was nearby, then the knock and regather is material - but in my example, there was no-one close by. So - if we don't penalize that foot offside yards away, why do we penalize this?

Oh, and please don't think I'm serious about this - I am playing devil's advocate to a great extent. But someone raised the question to me, and I found it difficult to give a well constructed and logically coherent response!

GazMaz
07-09-04, 15:09
Sorry got to disagree, a foot offside twenty yards away, twenty yards away from where?
If it's the ball I understand what your trying to say, but was he twenty yards away from his opposite number, so he may get an unfair advantage over him!
If the Full back knocked on in full view of everyone on his own twenty two, 1 minute from the end in a close game, and you don't give it, because early in the game you did the same thing, is that fair and equitable. And would you have a drink in the clubhouse afterwards! Brave man gungadin.

Devils advocate, lets play the game on the day, I would not want to send a man off because he swore at me because I made a crass decision.
Oh sorry who asked was it a back!

Sorry to change it again I played for 25 years + I would not have appreciated such a decision!!
We would have changed the Full Back.

Pablo
07-09-04, 16:09
I'm not disagreeing with much of what has been posted. But..... ;)

We are supposed to look at infringements as to how they impact upon the game. For example, if someone puts a foot offside twenty yards away from the breakdown, we would probably ignore it as it has minimal, if any, impact on the game. However, a hand on the ball slowing it down gets penalized as it has had a direct impact upon the game.

That is a nutshell of what constitutes materiality. We don't penalize every single penalizable offence that is committed.

I understand the emotional reaction to the knock-on, but would like to go back to my example. Yes, an offence has been committed. However, what has the impact been on the game? I would agree that if an opponent was nearby, then the knock and regather is material - but in my example, there was no-one close by. So - if we don't penalize that foot offside yards away, why do we penalize this?

Oh, and please don't think I'm serious about this - I am playing devil's advocate to a great extent. But someone raised the question to me, and I found it difficult to give a well constructed and logically coherent response!

Here's my attempt to rationalise - the high kick is a means of testing your opponent, right? So if you choose to try a high kick and the full back knocks on, he's failed the test which you have legitimately set him within the bounds of the game. Now would you not be peeved if the knock-on wasn't called because your teammates were slow/tripped/out of position/delayed somehow? In many ways, the fact that the FB has knocked on may be a testament to your skill in placing the kick accurately enough that he had to run so far to catch it that he had no time to set himself. Now his knock-on has become a direct consequence of the accuracy of your kick. Shouldn't you be rewarded? So materially, the knock-on does affect the game here.

The example Simon chooses of somebody stepping offside some way from the breakdown and then leaping back onside without causing offence is immaterial - the opponent has done nothing to earn it. (If they have done something to earn it, this is a different matter, because it means, I assume, that they have dummied the ball out of the breakdown, which is illegal.)

I've just re-read this, and I'm not sure it makes too much sense... :o :rolleyes: But hopefully you get the idea...

GazMaz
07-09-04, 16:09
I agree and well done Pablo for giving Simon his argument or riposte as he may want to use it!!
I did not take the offside player as jumping back but reading Simons post again I understand where your coming from. But there you go that was my decision in the field of post.

didds
08-09-04, 09:09
Probably covered by others but,....

Materiality blurs the black and white scenario currently provided by the laws.

If we start to permit a "small" knock-on, when does a "small" knock-on become large enough to warrant being a "full" knock-on. If we allow a slight forward pass, at what stage does the forward pass become "too forward". And if we apply the "no impact" reasoning then if the full back in the example knocks it on 20 metres ... but it still "doesn't affect" the game - do we allow that?

In short, the laws already provide enough subjectivity to make one refs opinion _maybe_ be different to last week's ref; permitting "leeway" in degrees of forward/offside/whatever can only make this ever worse...

didds

didds
08-09-04, 09:09
I think I would just argue that the entire credibility of the game is at stake if you can start permitting huge knock-ons that have no impact on the game ...

didds

Pablo
08-09-04, 11:09
I think I would just argue that the entire credibility of the game is at stake if you can start permitting huge knock-ons that have no impact on the game ...

didds

This also is a valid point!

SimonSmith
08-09-04, 14:09
Here's my attempt to rationalise - the high kick is a means of testing your opponent, right? So if you choose to try a high kick and the full back knocks on, he's failed the test which you have legitimately set him within the bounds of the game. Now would you not be peeved if the knock-on wasn't called because your teammates were slow/tripped/out of position/delayed somehow? In many ways, the fact that the FB has knocked on may be a testament to your skill in placing the kick accurately enough that he had to run so far to catch it that he had no time to set himself. Now his knock-on has become a direct consequence of the accuracy of your kick. Shouldn't you be rewarded? So materially, the knock-on does affect the game here.

The example Simon chooses of somebody stepping offside some way from the breakdown and then leaping back onside without causing offence is immaterial - the opponent has done nothing to earn it. (If they have done something to earn it, this is a different matter, because it means, I assume, that they have dummied the ball out of the breakdown, which is illegal.)

I've just re-read this, and I'm not sure it makes too much sense... :o :rolleyes: But hopefully you get the idea...

That's the best answer I've heard, and I've thrown this at a few people. Congratulations!

The serious point, however, behind a deliberately provocative question, was the dangers of heading too far down the materiality path. Let me now put the cat amongst Pablo's pigeons, so to speak.

Scrum half knocks on at the back of a ruck/maul/scrum. Opposition has done nothing to "earn" the knock-on. What would your rebuttal then be Pablo?

Pablo
08-09-04, 17:09
That's the best answer I've heard, and I've thrown this at a few people. Congratulations!

The serious point, however, behind a deliberately provocative question, was the dangers of heading too far down the materiality path. Let me now put the cat amongst Pablo's pigeons, so to speak.

Scrum half knocks on at the back of a ruck/maul/scrum. Opposition has done nothing to "earn" the knock-on. What would your rebuttal then be Pablo?

Your Devil's Advocacy makes me smile, Simon! :D Still, gets us all thinking, which has got to be a good thing this early in the season...

My rebuttal: knock-on by SH at back of ruck/maul/scrum (henceforth r/m/s) may have been earned. Was the oppo pack driving the r/m/s backwards to prevent him getting clean ball, thereby forcing the k/o? At a previous r/m/s has he taken so long to get the ball away that a burly flanker has nobbled him, and now he is nervous the same will happen again, causing him to fumble? etc. etc. The point is, this knock-on may still have been "earned".

If that's not good enough, I'll try an alternative argument. In your original scenario of the FB knocking-on from a high kick with no other players (specifically opponents) nearby, you argued that materiality was unaffected by a non-decision because nobody stood to profit from the cock-up. Here, however, we have SH knocking on at r/m/s, which suggests a much greater concentration of players who could potentially profit from the k/o. In this instance, therefore, I am choosing to apply the inverse of your logic from the FB situation - namely that since the infringement happened near lots of players, it must have been material. :p How's that?

I'm sure there'll be a comeback! :rolleyes: I look forward to it... :eek:

SimonSmith
08-09-04, 19:09
What about the ever so slightly forward pass that is a marginal call...... :p

Nope, I've just about exhausted my repertoire of whaddabouts....

As I said, I thought that the principle behind the question is a very good one - if we do apply the idea of materiality, then we do have a potentially wide open door. We seem to have a consensus here about the knock-on; another referee may not share that opinion, and when challenged about his decision not to blow could stand there (brave man indeed) and say with a straight face "I didn't consider to be material".
And who would be able to argue with that logic!

GazMaz
09-09-04, 09:09
Go on then lets keep it up,
To any of your scenario's whilst refering down at 8, 9, 10 third teams.
Attacking team being badly beaten (lets say to nil) not long left they look like at last they will score, great moral boost for those lads, but they lets say knock on, scrum half at R/M/S or similar. :rolleyes:

Would you turn a blind eye?

didds
09-09-04, 10:09
My call FWIW would be the "black and white" scenario. If you don;t call that knock-on, then where do you draw your line in other examples... fly-half knocks on the pass but retreives it under no pressure... poor long kick that winger fields fine, but passes to full back for better angle.,.. no pressure... but FB knocks-on... etc etc.

Once one starts blurring the lines it becomes impossible to be consistant - possibly within oneself but definietly between different refs...

didds

Pablo
09-09-04, 10:09
Go on then lets keep it up,
To any of your scenario's whilst refereeing down at 8, 9, 10 third teams.
Attacking team being badly beaten (lets say to nil) not long left they look like at last they will score, great moral boost for those lads, but they lets say knock on, scrum half at R/M/S or similar. :rolleyes:

Would you turn a blind eye?

79th minute of a thrashing? I'd probably turn a blind eye if I thought I could get away with it. If I think anyone else has seen the k/o for sure, then I'd probably feel I had to blow it. But we have to be talking about a situation in which the outcome is never in doubt, the match has been good natured generally and it's not a league match. I realise this admission flies in the face of my other arguments, but at non-league level 10 and below, they're playing for fun - and I should be facilitating that. Getting thrashed is not fun. Getting thrashed and being denied your team's only score in the final minute due to a dubious k/o is even less fun.

Take home message? SUIT THE GAME!!

Pablo
09-09-04, 10:09
What about the ever so slightly forward pass that is a marginal call...... :p

Nope, I've just about exhausted my repertoire of whaddabouts....

As I said, I thought that the principle behind the question is a very good one - if we do apply the idea of materiality, then we do have a potentially wide open door. We seem to have a consensus here about the knock-on; another referee may not share that opinion, and when challenged about his decision not to blow could stand there (brave man indeed) and say with a straight face "I didn't consider to be material".
And who would be able to argue with that logic!

Could I venture a theory on "the idea of materiality" as I understand it? We appear to have reached a consensus that the knock on is material 99.9999999999% of the time. We also appear to have reached the consensus that the offence commited by the winger 30 yards from the r/m/s who leaps offside and back on again is not material, yes?

So the theory I'd like to throw out there is as follows:
In order for an offence to materially affect the shape of the game, the offence must in some way involve, or occur near, the ball.

In the manner of my old A-level papers: Discuss. :eek:

:confused:

GazMaz
09-09-04, 10:09
Precisely where do you draw the line? A team at that level being thrashed, fair and equitable game, you know I might just not see it.

But go up a few levels at it becomes a different story. Having played (for a long time) at captained at many levels, I'd give the ref a kiss (not really) for doing it, just because it might encourage the lads to turn up the following week.
If I was the opposition captain I'd have moaned, but I certainly would not have taken it further. I can say that in all honesty because it happened to us, OK the game wasn't at the intensity it is now, but I still see the same old problems that the clubs go through to get teams out.

I don't think we are JOB's worth, if that happens it may just turn the way of the Football Ref's, and I certainly would not want to do their job, at any level.

We all know the rules, and at the moment I see those rules being, how could I say "stretched" and we still have the respect of the teams, from what I see.
There is only one Black and White and that's the BaaBaa's, I've never minded a little grey here and there.

Ermmm what a torrid life we lead. :D

Pablo
09-09-04, 10:09
Precisely where do you draw the line? A team at that level being thrashed, fair and equitable game, you know I might just not see it.

But go up a few levels at it becomes a different story.

But if it's a league game and the points difference is going to change who finishes top?... You begin to see what an open can of worms it could be... :eek:



Having played (for a long time) at captained at many levels, I'd give the ref a kiss (not really) for doing it, just because it might encourage the lads to turn up the following week.

On this, I am in 110% agreement.



Ermmm what a torrid life we lead. :D

Indeed!!

didds
10-09-04, 13:09
hmmm... what about offside interference from a long kick ahead? ie player massively offside not reetreating from about-to-be-catcher of the ball, but he doesn't actually interfere in anyway... he just isn;t retiring etc...

didds

didds
10-09-04, 13:09
well, and wadr, this is a coach's nightmare. Us coaches come under a lot of flack from refs for coaching illegal tactics and techniques and promoting underhand approaches to the game - and I suspect some coaches do. Oh to have the time to devote to such subterfuge when player turnout at practise leaves one little time to do the basics let alone esoteric skullduggery!

I'm afraid grey areas make it all but impossible to prepare game plans and tactics or even coach basic techniques if refs are going to have their own peculiar little "stretches" and pecadilloes. I know we are not talking about knock-ons here in paticular, but all I ask is that the ref each week makes the same decsions as the one last week... otherwise where do _I_ start with respect to dealing with players concerns that "they think they are onside/binding correctly/supporting/picking up from the tacklee normally so why were they penalised or even sin-binned for it" ??

didds

Davet
10-09-04, 14:09
didds

Fair point - and we do try for consistency as much as possible, but remember that every game is different, and what can be a sin bin in one game need not be in another, games have different temperments and need managing differently.

BUT, one thing in return...can I ask, on behalf of refs everywhere that coaches tell players that just because they are on their feet at a ruck that doesn't mean they can handle the ball.

If I had a beer for everytime some outraged forward has said "But I was on my feet, Sir!" then I would be a very drunk man.

didds
13-09-04, 16:09
its a bug bear of mine too I can assure you!

Though I do have a problem with the "split second timing" call... team A player tackled, goes to ground, team B player - on feet, thru the gate etc, grabs ball. At moment of grabbing and about to pick, next team A player binds onto team B player - who then gets pinged for handling in the ruck as he completes the initialised action of picking. Its such a nano-second thing... a fraction of a second later and team B player would already have picked up the ball and so it would have been perfectly legal. The law/interpretation really needs to reflect the matter of getting hands on the ball BEFORE the ruck is formed.

IMO.

FWTW.

didds

Deeps
14-09-04, 12:09
didds

I agree with the split second thing and that is unfortunate for the player who has just picked, however I really do wish there was less effort expended in trying to secure the ball from the opposition at the tackle. It is negative play, it slows the game down, prevents quick ball, requires split second decision making by the referee and inevitably ends in tears for one side or the other. I see it as a tactic for the unfit who would risk a penalty decision against, be content with a scrum for or against as long as they can have a breather between phases.

One's normal expectation is that the tackled player's side should win the ball at the tackle, unless someone cocks up. Right, defenders should accept that and having ensured sufficient presence at the tackle to prevent a pick and drive by the tackler's side, defence should now spread to defend the next phase. Result, more open rugby that we can all enjoy and no tears. Perhaps as referees we should brief beforehand that any action, except a cock up by the tackler's side, that results in the opposition winning the ball at the tackle will suffer the full force of the law whatever I decide that to be!

SimonSmith
14-09-04, 14:09
didds

I agree with the split second thing and that is unfortunate for the player who has just picked, however I really do wish there was less effort expended in trying to secure the ball from the opposition at the tackle. It is negative play, it slows the game down, prevents quick ball, requires split second decision making by the referee and inevitably ends in tears for one side or the other. I see it as a tactic for the unfit who would risk a penalty decision against, be content with a scrum for or against as long as they can have a breather between phases.

One's normal expectation is that the tackled player's side should win the ball at the tackle, unless someone cocks up. Right, defenders should accept that and having ensured sufficient presence at the tackle to prevent a pick and drive by the tackler's side, defence should now spread to defend the next phase. Result, more open rugby that we can all enjoy and no tears. Perhaps as referees we should brief beforehand that any action, except a cock up by the tackler's side, that results in the opposition winning the ball at the tackle will suffer the full force of the law whatever I decide that to be!

Oh boy. Can of worms just opened here. Please tell me that you wrote that with your tongue firmly in your cheek? Because I think that you're wrong. Very very wrong.

Every tackle can become a competition for the ball. What of there are two defenders, one of whom is immediately available to play the ball? What of the attacker is turned in the tackle?

I don't agree with the premise that it is negative play. I am blessed, if that is the right word, with Fox Sprts World here in the US, which shows Currie Cup and NPC games from NZ. And one of the things that I've seen coming through very strongly has been the competition at the break down. There have been some great scores because a defender was quick enough and good enough to be able to strip the ball in the tackle.

Your ideas take us even closer to the 13 man game.

Davet
14-09-04, 14:09
I must, sad to say, disagree quite strongly with my esteemed colleague, Deeps.

The essence of Rugby Union, pretty much the whole point of the game, certainly the differentaiting factor between this and other, lesser forms, of the game is the contest for the ball.

If we do away with the contest for the ball at the breakdown then we may as well simply pick it up and roll it back between our legs to an acting half-back.

The defender who turns over the attack is what makes the game exciting and this situation is what leads to a vital and open game.

If the player gets hands on the ball and the ball off the ground before being bound onto then he has won it (for the moment) and the call should be "Play-on, ball won". If he he hasn't then the call is "Hands Off, - Ruck formed" and the whistle used when players don't comply but keep scrabbling for it.

With regards to Didds and his plea to sort out the split second timing then I would normally give the defender on his feet the benefit of any doubt until I have called for hands off, but once I have done so then unless the ball is clearly won and off the deck then I expect the hands to actually come off fairly sharpish. Listen to the ref would the advice to gve his players.

Pablo
14-09-04, 18:09
I must, sad to say, disagree quite strongly with my esteemed colleague, Deeps.

The essence of Rugby Union, pretty much the whole point of the game, certainly the differentaiting factor between this and other, lesser forms, of the game is the contest for the ball.

If we do away with the contest for the ball at the breakdown then we may as well simply pick it up and roll it back between our legs to an acting half-back.

The defender who turns over the attack is what makes the game exciting and this situation is what leads to a vital and open game.

If the player gets hands on the ball and the ball off the ground before being bound onto then he has won it (for the moment) and the call should be "Play-on, ball won". If he he hasn't then the call is "Hands Off, - Ruck formed" and the whistle used when players don't comply but keep scrabbling for it.

With regards to Didds and his plea to sort out the split second timing then I would normally give the defender on his feet the benefit of any doubt until I have called for hands off, but once I have done so then unless the ball is clearly won and off the deck then I expect the hands to actually come off fairly sharpish. Listen to the ref would the advice to gve his players.

Quoted for truth. That nail must really have a headache!!! :D :eek:

didds
15-09-04, 10:09
sorry deeps... all you are advocating is the old - and rejected - S12 view that the side in posession has more right to the ball on the floor than the side defending. All that created was basketball rugby with scorelines of 50-40 and the like which while being titilating viewing for the couch potato floating viewer was very quickly seen as not being conducive to effective and realistic rugby.

Why shouldn't the defending team have a right to try and claim the ball from a side that failed in their attack to the extent that they couldn't avoid be tackled? The current logic in coaching is that to take contact is a failure to keep the ball alive and to create space, and the defenders being able to claim the ball post-tackle is merely a reflection of this.

YMMV! ;-)

Didds

Pablo
05-10-04, 10:10
hmmm... what about offside interference from a long kick ahead? ie player massively offside not reetreating from about-to-be-catcher of the ball, but he doesn't actually interfere in anyway... he just isn;t retiring etc...

didds

Not retiring? Then he's loitering, and can be penalised. Loitering is a specific offence, mentioned by name in the Law, and I think you just described it...

Pablo
05-10-04, 10:10
sorry deeps... all you are advocating is the old - and rejected - S12 view that the side in posession has more right to the ball on the floor than the side defending. <snip> Why shouldn't the defending team have a right to try and claim the ball from a side that failed in their attack to the extent that they couldn't avoid be tackled? <snip>

Absolutely, Didds. When I took my ref's course, I was taught that competition for the ball was a fundamental principle of the game, and that every phase should be viewed as an opportunity to contest possession. If we remove that contest from the tackle, we'd end up with rugby league.

Pablo
05-10-04, 10:10
So the theory I'd like to throw out there is as follows:
In order for an offence to materially affect the shape of the game, the offence must in some way involve, or occur near, the ball.

In the manner of my old A-level papers: Discuss. :eek:


Sorry to exhume this thread, but nobody has passed comment on this. Since the concept of materiality is clearly quite a divisive one, I think this is worthy of further discussion. I'm particularly interested to hear from you, Simon, since you got us started on this in the first place! Don't tell me your Devil's advocacy has failed you? :eek:

Deeps
05-10-04, 11:10
Pablo, I'll talk to you if no one else will! I hate the word materiality, in fact I challenge Simon to see how many postings he can achieve without using this Americanism. I prefer to use relevance to describe the thread issue, in the context of is the offence relevant to the play.

I think you are generally on the right lines but I might classify a relevant offence as one where, as a result, the options of the opposition are affected or likely to be affected. I think of an example where the presence of an illegal sentinel results in no attempt by the opposition flankers to charge down a long ball passed back for a kick. Another example is off the ball misbehaviour where a player may be obstructing another player in anticipation of that player receiving the ball such that the play has to be directed elsewhere. Does that fit your definition?

SimonSmith
05-10-04, 14:10
Sorry to exhume this thread, but nobody has passed comment on this. Since the concept of materiality is clearly quite a divisive one, I think this is worthy of further discussion. I'm particularly interested to hear from you, Simon, since you got us started on this in the first place! Don't tell me your Devil's advocacy has failed you? :eek:

Sorry Pablo - new job (:-) ) and holidays...

So, for it to be material it has to occur near the ball or involve the ball? Um, not so sure I agree with that. The most glaring example I can think of is midfiled offside, yards away from the ball. Not near the ball, or involving the ball - but the no 10 will certainly have factored that into his decision making.

I agree that materiality isn't a great phrase, but it's accurate and sums up what we're trying to discuss. What is materiality? I'd define it as an act mentioned in law that either affects the opponent's decision making detrimentally or reduces their options. If what happens doesn't fall into either of those two categories, my inclination would be to not penalize. HOWEVER, I would be sure to just have a quiet word with the "offender" to try to ensure that it doesn't happen again. Just because the loitering wasn't material this times doesn't mean that it won't be the next time....

didds
05-10-04, 14:10
Not retiring? Then he's loitering, and can be penalised. Loitering is a specific offence, mentioned by name in the Law, and I think you just described it...


... yes it a "no-no" - but then so is the knock on at the bottom of the ruck, or the knock on by the full back from a long kick with nobody near him.

My point was (I think!) that the bloke "miles" offside may not be retreating... but he is not having a "material" effect on the game if equally "miles" from the receiver...... is he?


didds

Pablo
05-10-04, 16:10
Pablo, I'll talk to you if no one else will! I hate the word materiality, in fact I challenge Simon to see how many postings he can achieve without using this Americanism. I prefer to use relevance to describe the thread issue, in the context of is the offence relevant to the play.

I think you are generally on the right lines but I might classify a relevant offence as one where, as a result, the options of the opposition are affected or likely to be affected. I think of an example where the presence of an illegal sentinel results in no attempt by the opposition flankers to charge down a long ball passed back for a kick. Another example is off the ball misbehaviour where a player may be obstructing another player in anticipation of that player receiving the ball such that the play has to be directed elsewhere. Does that fit your definition?

I suppose it does fall into my definition, as long as you're prepared to be quite flexible with what you consider "involves the ball". If you take "involving the ball" to mean something along the lines of "will unfairly prevent opponent receiving, catching, passing or kicking the ball". After all, the ball doesn't need to have reached somebody for their options to already have been cut down...

Pablo
05-10-04, 16:10
Sorry Pablo - new job (:-) ) and holidays...

So, for it to be material it has to occur near the ball or involve the ball? Um, not so sure I agree with that. The most glaring example I can think of is midfiled offside, yards away from the ball. Not near the ball, or involving the ball - but the no 10 will certainly have factored that into his decision making.

I agree that materiality isn't a great phrase, but it's accurate and sums up what we're trying to discuss. What is materiality? I'd define it as an act mentioned in law that either affects the opponent's decision making detrimentally or reduces their options. If what happens doesn't fall into either of those two categories, my inclination would be to not penalize. HOWEVER, I would be sure to just have a quiet word with the "offender" to try to ensure that it doesn't happen again. Just because the loitering wasn't material this times doesn't mean that it won't be the next time....

Well, best of luck in your new job! Glad the Advocate is back!

I will agree with you - in part. You are correct in making the point that somebody offside some way from the ball could be having a material effect on the game, so in such situations your definition is better than mine.

However, where yours fails is in situations such as te one that started this thread. Consider again our poor inept fullback again. He slightly knocks on long before any chasing opponents get anywhere near him. We have agreed that this is material - but under Simon's definition, it is not, because his knock-on has no effect on the oppo's decision making, nor does it infringe on their options. They are still going to chase, and are still free to do so, which puts a big whole in Simon's def...

Pablo
05-10-04, 16:10
However, a means of reconciliation presents itself - combine the two definitions! I hereby give you:





In order for an offence to materially affect the shape of the game, the offence must in some way involve, or occur near, the ball OR be some action mentioned in law that either affects the opponent's decision making detrimentally or reduces their options.

Does this work? Probably not, but we're improving...

SimonSmith
06-10-04, 18:10
However, a means of reconciliation presents itself - combine the two definitions! I hereby give you:




Does this work? Probably not, but we're improving...

Yes, we're improving - but still not there yet!
The problem with the "near the ball" idea for me is that 90% of what happens is near the ball - doesn't mean I'll whistle for it.

Let's look at this from a slightly different angle: we all seem to be agreed that there are fundamentals to the game - the ball gets passed backwards, it doesn't get knocked on etc. And the consensus is that we whistle for these irrespective of whether or not they had a definite impact on the match.

Something that is material is therefore something that runs contrary to the fundamentals of the game, and/or has an impact on the opponents decision making or options, and/or generally happens in proximity to the ball?

Or my better version: it's effing material 'cos I said so! :D

Pablo
07-10-04, 00:10
Or my better version: it's effing material 'cos I said so! :D

Well, that certainly works! :eek:

After all...

The referee is the sole judge of fact and Law.

Pablo
07-10-04, 00:10
Yes, we're improving - but still not there yet!
The problem with the "near the ball" idea for me is that 90% of what happens is near the ball - doesn't mean I'll whistle for it.

But if we take "near the ball" to mean (as defined by Law) "within one metre", then I think that stands up. I included the phrase "near the ball" as a means to eliminating the previously discussed offside-leap-back-onside situation...



Let's look at this from a slightly different angle: we all seem to be agreed that there are fundamentals to the game - the ball gets passed backwards, it doesn't get knocked on etc. And the consensus is that we whistle for these irrespective of whether or not they had a definite impact on the match.

Something that is material is therefore something that runs contrary to the fundamentals of the game, and/or has an impact on the opponents decision making or options, and/or generally happens in proximity to the ball?


Yes, I rather like this idea of "the fundamentals of the game". The question now becomes, then, what do we consider to be a list of the game's fundamentals?? Can such a list ever be exhaustive? :eek:

SimonSmith
07-10-04, 14:10
Yes, I rather like this idea of "the fundamentals of the game". The question now becomes, then, what do we consider to be a list of the game's fundamentals?? Can such a list ever be exhaustive? :eek:

I don't know if it can be exhaustive, but there are some things in there that I think should be set in stone: knock ons are blown, forward passes are blown; serious foul play is not condoned. Once we get outside that, I'd be interested in other opinions...

Davet
12-10-04, 10:10
Fundamental; Offside - cutting down of space. Either close to the action or midfield - the banana line of defenders with the winger at least 10m off-side preventing the ball ever getting spun wide may often seem immaterial in that the player could have been on-side and then run up fast; but he doesn't need to, he is preventing the opposition from considering the option.

OB..
14-10-04, 19:10
I think referees are inconsistent on materiality, but consistent in their inconsistency. Bit Delphic, that! Explanation:-

Few referees care if the feed to a scrum is crooked unless it is tantamount to cheating (eg Rugby League style).
Few referees care if the thrower-in at a line-out has his foot across the touch-line.
Both these actions are clearly illegal.

All referees care if the ball is knocked-on, even slightly.

I think the law relating to the first two examples should be tidied up, but the real point is that players and spectators know what to expect. Referees are consistent.

There is also a difference between the two sets: in the first, the players actions are deliberate; in the second they are a mistake. Mistakes get punished. The others are just developments in the way the game is played. I think players should be estopped from benefiting from their own errors.

threegatesexpress
14-10-04, 23:10
When talking about materiality/relevance, aren't we just giving another name to the referee applying his/her common sense and experience to apply the Spirit of the game?

The Playing Charter helpfully explains this, including..."...observing fair play, according to the Laws...". So, the Laws are the Laws and you must play to them, however, it goes on "...in a sporting spirit...", so when a transgression occurs that is
(a) not deliberately intended to have a negative effect on the game and is then rectified (for example, the scrum half's foot offside when the ball unexpectedly moves back towards him in a scrum, but he then retreats), or
(b) helping the game continue (the hand that holds a ball already won in a ruck), or
(c) of no impact to your opponents or the continuation of play (the lineout thrower's toe 2 inches over the line)

then isn't it "sporting" to allow play to continue?

None affect the game, and the side transgressed against should not be aggrieved (provided the referee is consistent).

If, however, the player is seeking to gain, or actually gains, an unfair advantage, and doesn't attempt to make amends, for example in (a) above doesn't pull back his foot, in (b) prevents a fair contest for the ball, or in (c) takes a large step into the field of play as they try a short throw at the lineout, then you penalise him according to the Laws and "sporting/fair play".

Going back to some of the situations described earlier in this thread...

If the full back knocks on from the kick, he knocks on - he can't rectify that mistake, therefore the opponents should benefit. (Actually you may well play advantage anyway.)

When the SH knocks on in the scrum, he knocks on. Again, he can't rectify, but you might use advantage.

A foot offside in mid-field? If they step back when you ask them to, then are you really going to penalise them? If they don't well, they've had their "sporting" chance.

The lineout thrower's foot? It really provides no advantage, and if you tell him next time to keep his toes off the playing area, then you are managing the game to be played to the Spirit.

Latitude in defining sporting spirit/fair play probably depends on the level of game. Professionals know what they are doing every second of the game (mostly), but a player in the third team in the Merit Table who was drafted in from the bar thirty minutes earlier? Common sense.

Pablo
15-10-04, 10:10
Welcome to the forums, Jim. Excellent first post! I think you make a lot of good points, and I particularly like the idea of using the players' charter to rationalise things. However, I would venture to suggest that the Charter is widely ignored, and the average player on a Saturday afternoon doesn't even know of its existence, let alone its contents.

didds
16-10-04, 22:10
exactly dave... its the removal of options that is a very key issue. Its what used to pump my nads so much about lazy runners 10 years ago (notably messrs fitzpatrick and z brooke, amongst many others) ... wandering around ion the oppo 9-10 channel whilst "retreating onside" - never penalised back then but cutting out the option. I would scream at Bracken/whoever to just ping their hardest pass at the lazy runner's genital area and get the penalty (???) plus the joy of them counting in binary to check...

didds

OB..
17-10-04, 01:10
Surely much of this is already covered in the laws? A knock-on is an offence, and you have to penalise it unless there is advantage. However offside in open play is specifically an offence only if the player interferes with play (what we are calling materiality).

A big problem is the sense of unfairness you can generate. Players see the same offence being treated differently because you decided it was only material in the one case. Do you really want to go there? There are already enough judgement calls for them to complain about.

We are also waffling in abstact Thought Experiment space. How about somebody trying to draw up some guidelines for us to dissect? If that is too difficult, then maybe it is a bad idea.

Deeps
19-10-04, 00:10
How about somebody trying to draw up some guidelines for us to dissect?

As I have mentioned before, the only question to be asked is whether the offence is relevant to the play of the game. Only you as the referee can decide that and how well you do it depends on how good a referee you are.

Referees need to think out of the box on this one and consider what potential options are no longer available to the non offending side as a result of the offence. If all of their options remain open then the offence is immaterial and play can continue. If not, has a real and actual advantage been gained or have the non offenders been forced into an alternative and less favourable option in which case the offence is material?

Simon Griffiths
21-10-04, 22:10
As I have mentioned before, the only question to be asked is whether the offence is relevant to the play of the game.

A good example that was used at a Gloucester Society meeting (which we spent entirely on materiality - very worthwhile 2 hours!) was:

Red has the ball, blue are all on-side except from the winger who is on the opposite side of the pitch, reds hit it up close to the ruck.

Did the blue winger affect the game? No, he had as much affect on the game as the bar-man did! We also asked whether in the RWC Final (2003) Australia's early chargers before Wilkinson's drop-goal should have been penalised, one RFU referee (and the rest of us) agreed that they should not have been - they were of less use to Australia than if they'd been onside all along because they were still retreating when Wilkinson was taking the kick. Although both these scenarios do ask the question:

Did a players actions, which appear to have had no effect on the match really have one? Did his illegal actions make the scrum-half change his call? Could his non-material offence in fact be material - bit of an eye opener (I'd suggest a course in Philosophy at Oxford! [or Cambridge etc. etc.]).

SimonSmith
21-10-04, 22:10
A quick addendum here, whilst I'm seething...

I've just been killed on an assessment for not penalizing every offence that occurred.
I had players standing in offside positions that I didn't ping - they were immaterial. I spoke to them, and the captain "next time I might have to blow...."
I had players going to the ground - immaterial as they were not interfering with anything - in fact they were taking themselves out of action...

My scoring on the assessment is therefore significantly lower.

I am not, it is fair to say, a happy chappy. Is it time to hang up the whistle and take up something else - like raising my 3 month old? Or spend more time with our dogs? Right now, VERY tempting :mad:

didds
22-10-04, 09:10
ref: the aussie chargers offside prior to JW's kick... if they weren't to have been called for offside (we'll never know I guess) then its a dangerous trend we are setting... becuase in effect we are saying that its perfectly fine to seek to find an advantage as oong as its never used if its not illegal. I can see coaches (me? never ;-) creating alternating lines (or just pairs) of chargers who charge - and retreat... to be replaced by the second pair/line of chargers... who if have to retreat are replced by the initial pair ad nauseum until finally the charging pair is legal and can continue. (Think of those old fashioned firing lines in battle of the first line of riflemen shooting, then bending down to load, during which the second line would fire, and reload while the 1st line have stood and fired again etc).

In short, you can create a situation of seeking an advantage in the knowledge that you can never be pinged for an offside "jump the gun" as long as its not "completed".

And how can you ever know that it wasn't material... maybe, just maybe, Dawson;s peripheral vision saw those gold shirts and didn't pass at that split second which is what he wanted to do?

(I do accept that the action did in fact buy some time for the pass and DG - but only because there wasn't a second pair/wave of chargers available ready such as I have illustrated above...)

didds

didds
22-10-04, 09:10
my sympathies Simon.

As an outsider (ie a coach not a ref) I find your position with assesors (I think they have amore PC name now don;t they?) really hard. Your example seems to illustrate my point - eventually your assessment is fundamentally subjective... if the assessor prefers one style/approach that doesn't fit with your own then you are damned - and certainly your description suggests that the party line message wasn't being considered by the whip!

Don;t give up your whistle - blokes like me and our players need you blokes for us to do our thing. I sthere no way that you can appeal to your society?

(coaches do have an analogous situation in our own assessment e.g. "did the coach have a good rapport with the players"? Possibly very subjective... )

didds

Pablo
22-10-04, 10:10
I am not, it is fair to say, a happy chappy. Is it time to hang up the whistle and take up something else - like raising my 3 month old? Or spend more time with our dogs? Right now, VERY tempting :mad:

You can't do that - I'd lose my sparring partner and Devil's Advocate!

I have only encountered such an anal assessor once. It was after quite an ill-tempered game which I felt I had kept under control (there were lots of cynical offences, but I let offenders know that I had seen them even if I hadn't blown the whistle and it never reached fisticuffs), but he felt I should have doled out more PKs. My response was to ask him what effect he thought that would have had on the flow of the game - and he had to concede that had I applied his "whistle for everything" policy, it would have ruined the game as a spectacle. Certainly the players had a very different tune - they whinged about the odd missed call (always against the opposition :D ), but they'd enjoyed the game. I'd rather satisfy 30 players than one assessor.

OB..
22-10-04, 11:10
There must be somebody in charge of the assessors. Have a chat with him on the general principles. He will not have seen the game, so will not be able to comment on specifics, nor will he be keen to criticise the assessor without hearing his side. However you should be able to clear the air, and make sure the assessment gets given proper weight.

As a B Grade ref you must have had quite a few assessments over the years. Presumably this is a one-off.

I don't know how often you get assessed in a season, but there may be a case for giving you an extra assessment by a different person. Grading committees do not like to work off just one report. Assessors have bad games, just like referees and players.

Above all, hang in there and tackle the problem. Good luck.

OB..
22-10-04, 12:10
You may be interested in this transcript from the South African programme Boots and All. AW is Andre Watson, of course. JR is John Robbie, DS is Darren Scott (presenter), NB is Naas Botha.

AW: yes absolutely. I mean as you've seen there with the highlights, I haven't stated this publicly and I'm surprised that the experts haven't picked up on this, but had that drop goal not gone over, I had to, or would have probably given, a penalty for England right in front of the sticks. Can you imagine the slanging? No, I would have been dead or in jail in Australia somewhere. Knowing me, I think I would have given it because there was two big off sides in that play. There was no advantage therefore it has been the drop goal attempt.

JR: does the occasion get to you at all?

AW: every time.

JR: does the occasion, that moment, did that affect the decision at all? It must do. Normally, you give a penalty in a game, it's "so what?" but at that stage of a World Cup final, does it affect you?

AW: yes, well our preparation is such that you basically, it's almost robotic, what you do. But yes you're human, you've got blood in your veins, you know that there's 45 seconds left on the clock because there's two big screens on that Stadium and Jonathan Kaplan kept telling me how much time there was left etc, and you need to know these things. And then this happens and and then the attempted drop goal - I was pretty happy it went over! Not because of the team but because of what I was then forced to have done. Because the last thing a referee wants to do is win or lose a World Cup. Even though I would have been correct, people would still have said "Ah, how can he give a penalty in the last 25 seconds?" But that's our job, if we have to do it, we'll do it.

NB: we spoke about, and we mentioned it on Saturday, that we didn't see you signal the penalty, because we saw those two guys offside and you didn't signal the penalty, and we thought "Uh, oh! big mistake here".

AW: I couldn't, Naas, when you pray you've got both hands in front of you.

(laughter)

DS: in that moment does it register in your mind? You're standing in the middle of Australia in the middle of the Olympic Stadium, it's their home game, it's a World Cup final, does all that goes through your mind?

AW: yes, well, there's not much in my mind, but does go through the vacuum quite quickly. But again, as I said, I said to myself, "goodness! This is happening, there's offside, you going to have to deal with this." thank God it didn't happen.

SimonSmith
22-10-04, 14:10
There must be somebody in charge of the assessors. Have a chat with him on the general principles. He will not have seen the game, so will not be able to comment on specifics, nor will he be keen to criticise the assessor without hearing his side. However you should be able to clear the air, and make sure the assessment gets given proper weight.

As a B Grade ref you must have had quite a few assessments over the years. Presumably this is a one-off.

I don't know how often you get assessed in a season, but there may be a case for giving you an extra assessment by a different person. Grading committees do not like to work off just one report. Assessors have bad games, just like referees and players.

Above all, hang in there and tackle the problem. Good luck.

I've suggested to the guy in charge that I have issues with some of the points raised in the assessment. I am not, however, overly optimistic. It has taken two years to get assessed - the paucity of resources has to be lived to be believed. Our society, because of the geographic spread, meets twice a year. We have two assessors, who are also supposed to cover the exchange referees. There is a litany of issues and challenges that face us here, but that's a whole other story...

What amuses me is that this was a local derby. No flashpints, no nastiness - all in all (he said modestly) I'd say well managed. The assessment is contradictory, advising me to be more proactive and preventative whilst failing to recognize when I was doing that. Stop bantering to the front rows is the advice; what he considers to be bantering I consider to be establishing a good relationship with the 6 people who could really ruin the afternoon, and as a result we had no problems.

I'm not serious about packing it in - I think. However my enjoyment vs investment vs progression triangle isn't balancing out in a way that I like just now, so it is still an option.

Hmph. We'll see on MOnday after this weekend's fun and games.

OB..
22-10-04, 16:10
I see your problem. When I was playing in Maryland 10 years or so ago, I was aware of the shortage of referees, but knew nothing then about assessors.

We have a supplementary system here which asks the captains to fill in a report card. It is very simple, and pre-paid, so all they have to do is fill it in and post it on the way home. There is an incentive to do this: if they are not prepared to help the Society, then the Society is less inclined to put itself out for them.

SimonSmith
22-10-04, 17:10
I see your problem. When I was playing in Maryland 10 years or so ago, I was aware of the shortage of referees, but knew nothing then about assessors.

We have a supplementary system here which asks the captains to fill in a report card. It is very simple, and pre-paid, so all they have to do is fill it in and post it on the way home. There is an incentive to do this: if they are not prepared to help the Society, then the Society is less inclined to put itself out for them.

That's how it was in Hampshire when I was there (I moved from Hampshire to Virginia 2 years ago as a B2). Suggested it here and got shot down in flames. The feedback from MD just now is they have quantity but not quality - rather the reverse of VA!

Deeps
22-10-04, 20:10
Simon,

Lots of sympathy from me and, as you can judge by the quick response from the regulars, there is much understanding of the problem. Team hug and lots or 'aaghs' required.

As you will know here in Hampshire we have the card system that O.B. refers to. It is supposed to augment the assessors' reports and provide indications of trends. As each referee not on exchange will be lucky to see an assessor twice during the season, the cards have more or less replaced the assessors' reports unfortunately. Unfortunate because the end of season level adjustment has now become virtually fully dependent on positive returns.

I made a special effort last season to get cards out after each game to the skippers or to the coaches. It is easier with a league game as you can trade a 'referee's encouragement form' for a signature on the team sheet. There was much ribaldry at the AGM where I had more card returns than the rest put together apparently. Occasionally, in the lesser Merit Table games, some of the away teams got away before I got out of the changing room; strange behaviour? What few of the authors seem to realise is that the individual referee gets a copy of his score and the attached remarks; where a team has failed to return its card then I certainly remind them on the next occasion that I visit stating that no cards might mean no referees!

You will remember the categories assessed; General overall assessment, control of the game, playing of advantage, clear decisions, keeping up with play and contribution to the enjoyment of the game. Then scoring being, good to bad, A - E.

One particular set of returns over a two month period, when I was probably refereeing up to three times a week from levels 9 through 12 and juniors on Sundays, was so varied that if you looked vertically down all of the attributes' scores then for each attribute there were assessments from A - E in equal proportions. Seriously confused and fearful of shameful demotion, I asked Big Jim to analyse these for me as they made no sense. He applied magic numbers and muttered things about percentiles which I did not understand. When I asked him what the problem was he said that Levels 9,10,12 and junior sides were quite happy with my performance but I was obviously pissing off Level 11s for some reason.

Of course among these reports were those straight A's from teams only too grateful that a referee turned up at all, stuff his performance, just thank him for coming. Then you get the really helpful chaps that don't read the instructions and put ticks in the boxes. One interesting trend I have noticed is that often I get a better score from the losing side. What I get from this is that they are grateful that I tried to make a game of it and helped them keep some pride. Presumably the opposition thought I overdid it? Then you get two totally different results to make you wonder if they or you were at different games. Of course, if one of the skippers has ever seen a law book or may even have held a whistle in the past then instant and constant advice on the park will be backed up with a few well chosen remarks in the same vein in the write up.

My point, as I am sure you can gather, is that while we may on occasion wonder how well trained or experienced our assessors are, what on earth qualifications has a player got to provide a positive, unbiased, detached and constructive assessment of the performance of the referee such that he might use it effectively to develop his art. Are you going to get that from the skipper with whom you had tried unsuccessfully for too long to work with before you yellow carded him for persistently questioning your judgement and integrity on the park? Methinks not and we depend on these people for our promotion and very survival in the ranks.

SimonSmith
22-10-04, 22:10
A very fair point. Given the ill informed calls from the sidelines, it's shocking to think that they fill out cards....!

Big Jim did explain to me that he looks for themes in the cards, and there is also enough tribal knowledge within the society to know which club assessments can be, em, less emphasised (I'm trying to avoid saying "ignored"). It is, nonetheless, an imperfect system. The other thing that bugged me was that when I tried to get feedback in the bar afterwards, there were some - who shalt remain nameless - who were quite pleased with the performance to my face, and then character assassination on the card. Curiously, I often got more constructive comments from players and coaches when away on exchange.

I was thinking about Advisers/Coaches/Assessors quite a bit, and came to a realization - the good ones are the ones who have a feel fro the game, a feel for refereeing, but can also provide input that helps me think about what I do, as opposed to being prescriptive ("Thou shalt stand HERE for rucks and HERE for lineouts..."). The other key to assessor success is seeing the same guy on more than one occasion. I had the good fortune to doa lot of games at Basingstoke, both seniors and colts, U17, U16. The follow on from that was one adviser in particular, even if not in a formal capacity, saw me four or five times in the space of 2/3 of a season. He could see progress, and how I was taking on his advice. My game came on leaps and bounds because of his investment - I owe Mike Whittaker a great deal for his patience that year!

There is no perfect system for assessment, coaching, and promotion. I understand that, and am happy to work within the constraints of the system, such as they are. I also know that the majority of advisers are trying to help. But for F's sake, when I have to educate an adviser about points of law, I am entitled to be a little questioning of the validity of his input - and no, it wasn't an obscure point of law either!

Simon Griffiths
22-10-04, 22:10
Sorry for your predicament Simon, a horrible situation to find yourself in and hope you can resolve the situation.

In Gloucestershire we have the card system (the exact one OB mentioned). Ours is very simple, and as such captains are happy to fill it in (only takes about 10 seconds). Our categories are:
Management of the game.
Clarity of communication.
Advantage.
Each has a score out of 5. We fill in the teams and score and post them off (if the captain can't be bothered!)
We have a two way system which works in a similar way to advising that no referee will turn up the next week. We as referees fill in a Whistler card on how the clubs performed (punctual kick-off, TJs, first aid, admin. and match performance [minus points for foul play etc.]). The team which scores best (usually Old Pats) wins a prize from the society.

OB..
23-10-04, 00:10
If I were cynical, I would suggest it is the NIH syndrome (Not Invented Here), and that they want you to conform to .... something or other. It sounds as if the players certainly need you, so I hope you have the energy to use your diplomatic skills to tackle this rather than let it eat away at you.

Letting off steam on here may help a little, but will only take you so far.

Pablo
23-10-04, 10:10
We have a slightly more comprehensive set of categories on our feedback cards in Cambs: Overall management, Scrummage, Line out, Tackle (ball release, lying on, etc.), Ruck, Maul, Kicks, Advantage, Open play (obstruction, off side, etc.) and finally Communication. The principle is the same - we hand a card to each captain with our name and the match result, and they grade us in each category on a scale of 1-5. However, I have recently taken to encouraging the captains to be as critical as they think is fair, because although receiving straight 5s tickles my ego and swells my head a bit, it doesn't provide me with any hint as to which areas need improvement. To a great extent we are lucky in Cambs, as we have a high ratio of experienced assessors to matches played. We are slightly unlucky in that we are probably the only county to have more refs than games, so we're not guaranteed one every week.

We also have The Whistlers' Trophy, on a very similar principle to that described by Simon Griffiths. Clubs affiliated to our society are marked on respect at all matches and hospitality at their home matches and the winning club is presented with a giant silver whistle for the year. Importantly, the majority of clubs (March excepted) do seem to actually want to win the Trophy, so their collective behaviour has steadily improved since its inauguration.

Davet
25-10-04, 00:10
The cards in Hants have 5 categories - Did the ref have firm control; try to play advantage; make his decisions clear; keep up with play; and contribute to the enjoyment of the game - plus an overall assessment. All graded A through E.

When assessed (advised, coached...) the form has space for the refs comments; is that not the way of it in Virginia?

SimonSmith
25-10-04, 14:10
Having refereed in Cambs, Hampshire, and Va, I know all the cards you're talking about!

The Cambs cards are better, I think, and offer a better insight into the referee's performance.

There are no cards issued in Va. None. Zero. At all. And there was resistance to going down that path. So the only feedback you get is when you talk with captains, coaches and players after the game. Not a productive system, I think!