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Dixie
06-01-07, 22:01
As I was surplus to requirements yet again this week, went to watch my club's seconds with the twin aim of watching a better ref operate, and to see how the new engagement sequence went. Bit galling therefore to find a club ref doing the 4ths due to the inability of my society to supply a ref, but that's by the bye.

Filthy conditions throughout. Wet, muddy, but playable. A little bit of standing water in places. A few scrums went down but with the ref searching for a bit of anchorage before engaging scrums, both sides managed to exert pressure in the tight.

This was a league game. Home side winning comfortably, and beginning to cut loose. After 20 minutes of the 2nd half, ref calls the captains and expresses concern as to the state of the pitch. Captains note that the rain is abating a bit, and ask to play on. Use of adjacent pitch offered if necessary.

A short while later, Away Hooker hurts his neck/shoulder, and asks for uncontested scrums. Ref agrees even though there had been no prior FR replacement (we had the debate a while back about whether the ref should insist on a replacement before going uncontested - I would accept ref's decision in this). Play continues with uncontested scrums, until ref abandoned the game due to the state of the pitch - at which point the rain stopped! From start of 1st half to abandonment was 69 minutes, including half time.

I don't think this was a safety issue, as we were operating uncontested scrums. Players were certainly sliding around when falling on the ball, and handling was poor - but most points had been scored from wide play, with seven tries. The score was 35-0 with maybe fifteen minutes to play, with the home side hoping to open up a points differential in the league table.

Was the ref justified in stopping the game, assuming that his reasons were not safety-related?

Padster
07-01-07, 13:01
If the ref thought it was unplayable then thats the end of the matter. Did you ask the ref why he stopped it?
Your description indicates that the hooker carried on playing having hurt his neck/shoulder. I would have serious concerns about this as the ref is responsible for the safety of players. The scrummage is not the only potentially dangerous area of play. If the hooker cannot continue he should leave the field and someone else go in to the position and the scrums be uncontested.

Dixie
07-01-07, 22:01
Padster, I take it from your response that you feel the ref may stop the game for reasons other than safety of the players, such as the quality of the game degenerating, or to protect the surface for future matches. Is there any justification in law to this position? The law book appears to be surprisingly silent on the referee's responsibility as regards the state of the ground, except that he must not start if to do so would be dangerous.

beckett50
08-01-07, 12:01
There is also the problem of player identification.

If, as you say, the pitch was a veritable quagmire then it can become difficult to identify mud soaked players at the breakdown situation.

VERY surprised (and concerned) that - bearing in mind this was a league game - no replacement for the hooker was called upon. League rules clearly state that a team must arrive with FR cover, and be able to replace the injured FR player at the 1st opportunity. If no FR cover available then he is replaced (as he is injured) and THEN scrums go uncontested.

It is then down to the League to sort out the result and any sanction that may arise for no FR cover. Not a discussion into which we, as referees, should enter. Just note it on the League card and leave the rest to the 'old farts':cool:

peperami
08-01-07, 15:01
There is also the problem of player identification.

If, as you say, the pitch was a veritable quagmire then it can become difficult to identify mud soaked players at the breakdown situation.



Had this on Saturday, the game was abandoned when the players and i decided we couldnt tell who was who.

The only thing on the pitch not a brown colour was me. They attempted to rectify this on going through the tunnel. :)

Ben

PaulDG
08-01-07, 15:01
Padster, I take it from your response that you feel the ref may stop the game for reasons other than safety of the players, such as the quality of the game degenerating, or to protect the surface for future matches. Is there any justification in law to this position? The law book appears to be surprisingly silent on the referee's responsibility as regards the state of the ground, except that he must not start if to do so would be dangerous.

I can't see that protecting the surface is our responsibility.

On the other hand, if the host club insists the game is stopped because of damage to their pitch, I can't see how we can argue - it'd their land and they're withdraing their permission for its use.

It has to be down to them.

BTW - Safety might not just extend to the players. I believe a round-ball game was cancelled during December because the ref had concerns about the safety of the 10s of thousands of fans who would be making their way home in thick freezing fog.

Padster
08-01-07, 16:01
I would only stop a match for safety reasons. I was only posing a question in case there was any other reason the ref might have had out of interest.
If I couldn't distinguish one side from the other how would I be able to apply the three principles?
The assessor who was kind enough to give me some advice (he only got there at half time as his game didn't go ahead) suggested that he would have had no issues if I had called a halt slightly early to the match on Saturday. I did think about it but decided that the light was good enough and the players easily distinguishable. As it was a level 10 the standard dropped off drastically with the muddy, rainy weather and (most especially)lack of fitness of the players.

ctrainor
12-01-07, 20:01
I would only stop a match for safety reasons. I was only posing a question in case there was any other reason the ref might have had out of interest.
If I couldn't distinguish one side from the other how would I be able to apply the three principles?
The assessor who was kind enough to give me some advice (he only got there at half time as his game didn't go ahead) suggested that he would have had no issues if I had called a halt slightly early to the match on Saturday. I did think about it but decided that the light was good enough and the players easily distinguishable. As it was a level 10 the standard dropped off drastically with the muddy, rainy weather and (most especially)lack of fitness of the players.


I'd stop a match for a whole host of reasons particularly after discussion with Captains.
Ref is sole judge of time for most of us so you could just say it's full time.
If a team is getting stuffed what's the point, if somebody has an injury like a broken leg an the guys don't really want to continue.
If it suddenly starts getting rough just tell them any more and it's over.
I've called em off for hailstone.
No fun up here in cumbria when a force 9 is coming of the Irish sea!!
Let's get in the bar lads and watch it on the box!!

of course all of the above is a judgement call