Issue: 18/09

20th May 2009


First of all an apology to the teams (Chester Romans and Hull Hornets) and the officials (Ian W and Ian B) who ended up with a 2-man crew at Chester on Sunday. We had a breakdown in communication that meant that the other two officials who were intended to have been on that game ended up making a 6-man crew elsewhere.

At Chester, everyone did exactly the right thing under the circumstances, which was to invoke Rule 13-4-5-c:

"If fewer than three officials are available, suitably qualified persons attending the game as spectators or in another capacity may be appointed officials with the agreement of the referee and the head coach (or his designated representative) of each team."

In this context, "suitably qualified" is whatever the referee and coaches can reasonably agree on. When a similar situation befell me a few years ago, we used a player's father who had officiated flag football as umpire, and a qualified soccer ref as head linesman, while I and my BAFRA colleague covered referee and line judge (for the clock).

I think we can see light at the end of the tunnel regarding advance scheduling. We are currently operating on Plan B because Pete is continuing to be (at various times) away on business, vacation and dealing with family matters. This meant that Phil has had to pick up a massive load while at the same time having been away on business himself. Inevitably, Phil is not as well versed as Pete is in the nuances of people's availability (though I understand he is gaining a rapid education in the subject!) and this has caused one or two issues to arise.

Also, May is the month every year where ours and the leagues' systems get most tested. In April, there were only a few fixtures each weekend. In May, the season gets "full-on".

We ask for people's forbearance and understanding while these things are sorted out. When a schedule is delayed in being issued, if you have declared yourself available, expect to be working a game. Remember that everyone who works for BAFRA does this as a volunteer and we all have day jobs to deal with as well. In return, we aim to accommodate as many scheduling/travelling/geographical preferences as possible, but we can't guarantee to meet them all. Therefore, please let's be nice to each other when perfection is not achieved!

If anyone has any questions or outstanding problems, please get in touch with me.

Jim Briggs

2009 EXAM

The exam period is now over. 92 papers were received from BAFRA members; when we add in those from our colleagues in Ireland, it has been the busiest exam period for many years. I was particularly pleased by the number of associate members who submitted a paper, many of whom had a creditable performance. Results have been posted out and you should have received them by the time you get this. If you have heard nothing by Saturday, please contact me. 

So that you have something against which to judge yourselves, the average score was 78.24% and to get into the top 25% of officials you needed to score over 88%. The average score was some 5% higher than that of 2008 and most officials who had sat the exam previously managed to improve their score over their personal average score since 2002. Finally, the top score was 99%.

Paul Sutton

New appointments and Situations vacant

The BAFRA Board has appointed Mark Snow as Deputy Director of Training and Craig Urin as Deputy Director of Finance (Expenses). Charlie Dean-Young becomes Deputy Director of Finance (Income). Steve Tonkinson is Deputy President. Alan Dobson joins the Newsflash and PR team.

We are looking for a Deputy Director of Recruitment. If you're interested in helping out in that area, contact Ben Griffiths at

Tony Newsham has come to the end of his term of office on the Selection Committee. The Board decided to expand the Committee to 6 members (plus the Director of Operations), so there are two vacancies to fill. If you are interested in serving, please contact Pete Johnson at We also decided to increase the term of office to 3 years (from 2) – the Committee will decide which of the members who is due to complete in 2010 will continue on into 2011.

A full list of who is responsible for what in BAFRA is available in the members' handbook section of the website.

We're always looking for people to carry out other tasks from time to time. If you're interested or have a particular skill to offer or area you are interested in, contact any of the current directors.


Sussex Thunder are pre-paying for their home matches this season. If you are assigned to one of their home games, to ensure you are paid, after the game can the Referee or one other official please complete the online Crew Request for Payment Form, and I will arrange for the officials to be paid.

Note that due to potential changes to crews, any requests for payment received before the game is played will be ignored.

Andrew Lovell


Proposed London

Several London officials have been kicking the idea of a London area meeting around for some time. The major sticking point is the lack of anywhere suitable to hold it. If anyone living or working in the London area can volunteer their home, or knows of a suitable pub in an accessible location, please contact Alan Dobson.


The Midlands officials meet once a month on the first Thursday (next meeting June 4th). Meetings are held at the Coopers Tavern in Burton, from 1930. All members are welcome. Contact Charlie Dean-Young or Keith Alldritt for details.


The recently formed Solent Officials Association is meeting fortnightly on Thursdays (next meeting May 21st) at 8pm, at Jim Briggs's house in Havant. Contact him on 023 9236 5232 for details.

Thames Valley

The next meeting of the Thames Valley Officials Association is on Monday 22nd June at 8pm, at Pete Parsons's house in Reading. Contact Pete for details.

Other local groups

Please continue to email with dates and locations of your future meetings. We remain pleased to see that local associations are coming back into vogue in places that haven't had them for some time.


The following teams are known to be providing a microphone for the Referee. If you are assigned as Referee for one of the following teams, please be aware that there will be a microphone available:

Colchester Gladiators, Kent Exiles, South Wales Warriors

If you know of any other teams that are providing one, please let us know.


BAFL Premier

Sussex Thunder 0-34 London Blitz

BAFL Division 1

Tamworth Phoenix 9-12 South Wales Warriors

Oxford Saints 8-0 Birmingham Bulls

Dundee Hurricanes 12-14 Gateshead Senators

Yorkshire Rams 27-6 West Coast Trojans

Norwich Devils 12-45 Cambridgeshire Cats

Ipswich Cardinals 19-17 Peterborough Saxons

Nottingham Caesars 0-6 Redditch Arrows

BAFL Division 2

Gloucester Banshees 21-8 Plymouth Admirals

Edinburgh Wolves 39-0 Highland Wildcats

Glasgow Tigers 0-20 Manchester Titans

Chester Romans 12-0 Hull Hornets

Shropshire Revolution 35-0 MKC Pathfinders

Lincolnshire Bombers 0-63 Colchester Gladiators

Essex Spartans 6-28 Hampshire Thrashers

Berkshire Renegades 0-41 East Kent Mavericks

BAFL Youth Contact

Farnham Knights 53-6 Kent Exiles

Bristol Aztecs 0-18 London Blitz

Norwich Devils 18-6 Cambridgeshire Cats

Forth Valley Fusion 20-14 Sheffield Tomahawks









17th May 2009 – No new cases

No outstanding items from previous weeks. Plaudits to all players and teams for maintaining a good disciplinary record.

Note: it is the responsibility of the individual teams to ensure that their suspended players serve their suspensions in the proper game (according to the BAFA Disciplinary Code), and any dates mentioned here are intended only as a guide.


Home team


Next home game

New this week

Farnham Knights


Field still 78 yards with 10-yard end zones and NFL hash marks. Changing room still a long way from the field. Crew not paid.
Simon Ryan #408

14/06/09 vs

Maidstone Pumas

Outstanding items from previous weeks

Clyde Valley Blackhawks

No card check conducted by Glasgow. Officials' assistants changed at half time and needed to be re-briefed; otherwise excellent game management by Clyde Valley.

Ben Griffiths #228

24/05/09 vs

Edinburgh Wolves

East Kent Mavericks

Game was played at Faversham Recreation Ground/Rugby Club. Parking is at a premium. Changing rooms could not be locked (we used changing rooms in larger of two buildings and took bags out to the field). No numbers or nine yard marks. Field markings in blue but quite visible.
Daniel Bridgland #506

24/05/09 vs

Maidstone Pumas

Hull Hornets

The kick off was delayed by 47 minutes owing to the late arrival of the ambulance. There was only one set of goalposts, both coaches agreed to play on the understanding that if a field goal or 1 point try was to be attempted then that down would be played towards the goalposts. This did not unduly affect the game as it happened only once during the game in the first quarter.
Tim Vickers #129

24/05/09 vs

Highland Wildcats

South Wales Warriors

Changing room too small for 5 officials. Officials changed in away team changing room.
Plaudits to both teams for the spirit in which the game was played, no major penalties and only one 10-yard penalty all game.
Colin Edwards #76

24/05/09 vs Nottingham Caesars

Coventry Jets

No 5-yard lines. Lines marked only every 10 yards. Game suspended 25 minutes to treat an injured Bristol player.
Brian Yates #29

31/05/09 vs London Blitz

Plymouth Admirals

There were three separate incidents where the game was delayed for more than 5 minutes due to players requiring treatment for injuries.
Russell Newton #324

31/05/09 vs Hampshire Thrashers

Colchester Gladiators

Both head coaches agreed to a running clock in the second half.
Alan Dobson #308

07/06/09 vs

East Kent Mavericks


This week's Newsflash was produced by Alan Dobson. Dean Wright will be resuming normal service next week.

Thanks to everybody for getting their reports and items in on time over the past few weeks – it’s been much appreciated.




Contact for details

July 3rd-5th (Fri-Sun)

BAFCA Convention, Leicester – all BAFRA members welcome!

July 18th (Sat)

BAFA Board meeting

July 19th (Sun)

BAFRA Board meeting

July 20th, 23rd, 25th (Mon, Wed, Sat)

GB Lions tournament

September 19th-20th or 26th-27th (Sat-Sun)

BritBowl weekend (subject to confirmation)

October 24th (Sat)

BAFA Board meeting

October 25th (Sun)

Patriots v Buccaneers @ Wembley

November 21st (Sat)

BAFRA Board meeting

Send updates to


BAFRA Directors


Jim Briggs

General Secretary

Paul Sutton


Andrew Lovell


Pete Johnson


Ben Griffiths


David Parsons

Director without Portfolio #1

Dan Bridgland

Director without Portfolio #2

Steve Tonkinson

The opinions expressed in this Newsflash are those of the contributors, and not necessarily of BAFRA or its Directors.

All Incident Reports to be submitted via

Deadline for articles submitted by email ( is 2359 Tuesday.

Editor: Dean Wright, Email: