BAFRA Newsflash

Issue: 22/14

5th June 2014


The next Elite training clinic will be held at the Ramada Encore Milton Keynes ( on Saturday 26th July 2014. All BAFRA members are welcome to attend and all Elite programme members are expected to attend. Numbers are limited so please register by emailing me.

Ben Griffiths


EXAM 2014

Now that the exam period is concluded, here are a few facts about the exam. 124 members took the exam, two of whom have yet to sit their competency exam. The average score was 83.15% which is the highest in the past 13 years.

One member scored 100%, the first time this has happened since 2007. Four members scored less than 60% which is the lowest number for many years. The questions which seemed to cause the most problems to people were 12, 27, 43, 69 and 98; there was no question which everyone got correct.

In my capacity as Chair of the Examination Committee, I thank Will Marriage, Pete Parsons and Dean Wright for their work in setting the questions and Ben Griffiths, Tzvi Lindeman and Steve Tonkinson who tested the exam.

Paul Sutton


The following teams are prepaid:

Birmingham Bulls, Bristol Apache, Bristol Aztecs, Burnley, East Kilbride, Essex, Leicester Falcons, Merseyside Youth, Portsmouth, Shropshire Revolution

Charlie Dean Young


A BAFA Disciplinary Committee has upheld an appeal by Mark McGowan of London Warriors against his disqualification for targeting in a recent game. Video evidence showed that although there was forcible contact to the head/neck area, the opponent did not meet the definition of a "defenseless player".

Jim Briggs


Woodham Warriors Tournament: Woodham Academy, Washington Crescent, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, DL54AX.

Date: Saturday 7th June 2014

Contact: Danny Ketch (07427 646277)

Sussex Thunder Tournament: Brighton Rugby Club, Waterhall Playing fields, Waterhall Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 8YR

Date: Sunday 8th June 2014

Contact: David Maskell (07885 581978)

Richard Vernon


One of our longest serving members Robert Banks has been admitted to hospital for major surgery this week. We send Robert our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Paul Sutton


Oxford Saints 34 - 14 Peterborough Saxons

Shropshire Revolution 12 – 12 Lincolnshire Bombers

Clyde Valley Blackhawks 29 – 14 Edinburgh Wolves

West Coast Trojans 26 – 13 Glasgow Tigers

Manchester Titans 69 – 0 Crewe Railroaders

Merseyside Nighthawks 45 – 14 Staffordshire Surge

Ipswich Cardinals 29 – 21 Bury Saints

Essex Spartans 6 – 35 Watford Cheetahs

Bristol Apache 108 – 7 Portsmouth Dreadnoughts

Bournemouth Bobcats 22 – 6 Torbay Trojans

Yorkshire Rams 10 – 15 Birmingham Bulls









New this week

Andrew Thomas


Birmingham Bulls



Player punched an opponent who was lying on the ground then, once both players were standing, head butted the opponent.

08/06/14 v Gateshead Senators

Julian Tovar


Watford Cheetahs



Player head butted an opponent after a play was over.

15/06/14 v Maidstone Pumas

Adewale Oyemade


South London Renegades



During the fourth quarter, after a touchdown by the opposing side, the head coach came on to the field to complain at the HL and BJ and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. During the enforcement of this penalty the coach insulted the HL as he returned to his sideline and received a second USC flag.

15/06/14 v Colchester Gladiators

Previous weeks

Nick-Nige Western


Manchester Titans Flag



Player tackled an opponent full contact style, at pace and with aggression. The refereeing side said that it was a calculated act, not simply a misunderstanding of the rules. He was subsequently ejected.

07/06/14 fixtures at Calderdale

Matt Crespo


Nottingham Caesars



Involved in unsportsmanlike acts of shoving and pulling that resulted in another player (#26 Gateshead) retaliating. Both players failed to separate when asked by officials and continued their shoving and grabbing.

15/06/14 v Birmingham Bulls

Anthony Ellis


Essex Spartans



Act of unsportsmanlike conduct immediately after the game that was his second UNS. This was his third disqualification offence within 12 months hence a 12 month ban.

Suspended until 06/06/14

Clarence Guishard


London Blitz



Threw a punch at an opponent;s head.

08/06/14 London Olympians

Stephen Morrison


Kent Exiles



Used insulting language towards an opponent in Q2, and committed a dead-ball contact foul that was obviously not part of the game action in Q3. At the conclusion of the game, player was waiting for the officials, physically blocking the tunnel leading to the changing rooms. He approached the crew in a very threatening and intimidating manner, and confronted them for a considerable amount of time.

08/06/2014 at London Hornets, 22/06/2014 at Bury Saints and 29/06/2014 v Watford Cheetahs





New this week

Bournemouth Bobcats

Some patches of the field were very sandy. Chain crew and one ball boy changed at half time. Kickoff delayed 30 minutes due to late running junior game.

Jim Briggs #31

20/07/14 v Portsmouth Dreadnoughts

Merseyside Nighthawks Seniors

On arrival at the pitch the field was marked the full width of a rugby league pitch with hash marks too wide. The home side was requested to rectify the problem. This resulted in the game being delayed for some 45 mins, meaning that there were no team areas and no 9yrd marks. To the groundsman's credit the pitch was perfectly marked after the alterations and the game kicked off at 1545 instead of 1500.

Tony Newsham #302

15/06/14 v Crewe Railroaders

Bristol Apache

No team area line, no numbers or nine yard marks, limit lines at 6ft.

Pete Parsons #321

22/06/14 v Bournemouth Bobcats

Yorkshire Rams

No nine yard marks or numbers. No limit lines.

Dan Holt #371

08/06/14 v Coventry Jets

Merseyside Nighthawks Juniors

Field was a shortened adult pitch and too wide. Short yard extensions iffy one side. Team areas not adjusted for shorter length. No three yard marks or numbers/9 yard marks.

James Meredith #547

19/07/14 v Lancashire Wolverines Colts

Essex Spartans

Chain crew changed at half time, several delays for injured players during the game with one of them lasting for just over 5 minutes.

Phil Clarke #262

19/07/14 v Kent Exiles

South London Renegades

Field markings were very inventive. Marked out in metres. The chain was 10 yards so this was used for assessing yardage gains while penalties were marched off manually. Hash marks were present but 10 yards from the sideline and extended into the end zones. The 3 yard mark was 2 yards behind the goal line (8 from the endline). Chain crew and ball persons were poor with numerous changes. At one point a young boy (less than 14 years old) appeared holding the chain as one of the chain crew had walked off to get a drink. He was swapped immediately.

Ellis Bowyer #502

22/06/14 v Sussex Thunder

Outstanding items from previous weeks

East Kent Mavericks

With agreement of both head coaches the 2nd half was reduced to a 10 minute fully running clock for the 3rd quarter and an 8 minute fully running clock with a further 2 minutes played to normal regulation time; this was due to a number of injuries sustained through play to the Essex squad. An official was injured during the 3rd quarter so the game coverage was dropped to a 4 man crew for the remainder of the game. Field markings were faint in places, particularly the middle of the field.

Following on from the Junior game, the 1st half was officiated with a 4 man crew due to the injury sustained to an official but was restored to a 5 man crew for the 2nd half. The chain crew changed entirely at half time requiring another briefing, and one of the ball boys was also changed at half time. The problem with the field markings got progressively worse during the senior game causing some delays in accurately spotting the ball and issues with penalty enforcement.

Phil Clarke #262

22/06/14 v Bristol Aztecs (Senior) 22/06/14 v Kent Exiles (Junior)

Bournemouth Bobcats

Game played at Solent Thrashers' usual venue. Field well marked, except no numbers. End zones were each only 9 yards deep and the goals overhung the end zone by about 1 yard.

Jim Briggs #31

01/06/14 v Torbay Trojans

Chester Romans

Have to drive to pitch from changing rooms. Once there, there were no nine yard marks, but the pitch was fairly well marked out. Most markings started to fade towards the end of the game.

Dan Holt #371

08/06/14 v Walney Terriers

Walney Terriers

The game balls provided were still in their wrapping and were not inflated to a legal pressure. There was crash on the M6 resulting in the motorway being completely closed in both directions. Two officials were delayed for three hours and arrived shortly before half-time. The remaining three officials were slightly further back in the queue and were able to leave the motorway and were only slightly delayed. Thus the first half of the game was officiated using three-man mechanics.

Ben Griffiths #228

29/06/14 v Staffordshire Surge

Sheffield Predators

The home team only supplied 2 ball persons, one of whom went absent during the 2nd half after the balls could not be retrieved after the kicked ball went behind a fence. After this happened twice, the away team supplied 1 ball to make the compliment back up to 3 balls.

The following field markings were missing: 3 yd PAT marks and Limit Lines.

Game Management supplied cold drinks and snacks in the officials changing rooms before the game which was very much appreciated.

Chris Jarvis #10

22/06/14 v Tamworth Phoenix

Solent Thrashers

Field well marked, except no numbers. End zones were each only 9 yards deep and the goals overhung the end zone by about 1 yard. Torbay had borrowed Exeter Demons' jerseys, some of which had faded numbers. Plaudits to Solent for their facilities.

Jim Briggs #31

08/06/14 v Farnham Knights

Portsmouth Dreadnoughts

On arriving at the venue it was noted that the teams were in very similar colours, Portsmouth in dark blue and Swindon in black. The black of Swindon was a change strip as they normally also play in dark blue. It was accepted that there was enough of a difference for the game to proceed.

When Checking the medical provision it was clear that this did not meet rule 13, since the appointed medical person stated that he was not a registered Paramedic but an Ambulance technician. Game Management was informed and the began the process of trying to replace the medical provision. In talking to the away team it was clear that one of their supporters (a players wife)was a registered Physiotherapist who normally is the cover for Swindon home games - Evidence of this was shown and both teams agreed that she would be the medical provision for the game. The game therefore kicked off 23 minutes late.

Prior to KO and during the game Swindon coaching staff had complained that unregistered coaching staff had been coaching the Portsmouth team. During the game it was witnessed by the line judge that the Portsmouth coach had been in conversations with people outside of the team area (supporters) though the crew have no idea what these conversations were about.

Field markings were good at the beginning of the game but some lines did become invisible during it. It was very difficult to see the side lines. During the game one ball boy was changed because the first had to go home and in the 4th quarter the officials requested a change in one of the chain crew because he could not stay impartial. We also had a dog on the field at one point during the game. The changing facilities were not very good without showers, we were in a padded room normally used for kung fu. It must be said that the game was played in a very good spirit and the crew did an excellent job.

David Knight

22/06/14 v Torbay Trojans

Staffordshire Surge

Changing room hardly big enough for two let alone four officials. Waited for the teams to go on to the field before using their changing areas. One ballboy provided, and three changes during game.

Mike Cavangh #465

10/08/14 v Crewe Railroaders

Tamworth Phoenix

The pitch at Tamworth was only 80 yards

Muz Gibson #268

29/06/14 v Birmingham Bulls

Watford Cheetahs

After a player injury, the ambulance parked too close to the sideline and we could not play. The medic did not want to move his vehicle while attending to the player (the Game Manager asked him to do this). We had a delay of 40 minutes before resuming the third quarter.

Paul Haddad #5

15/06/14 v Maidstone Pumas

Farnham Knights

The field was marked as 90 yards by 53 1/3 yards. Prior to the game we shortened it at one end to give an 80 yard field but were unable to reduce the width to the regulation 40 yards for the junior game. One ball person was changed at half time. No numbers or 9 yard marks. No limit lines. Game management on both the junior and senior games was very good.

Pete Parsons #321

15/06/14 v Swindon Storm

London Hornets

This was London Hornets first competitive home game and was played at Esher RFC. On arrival, there were no hash marks at the inbounds lines, but after having notified game management, they were marked before kickoff. As a result of the speed of doing this, both inbounds lines wiggled, and one was marked about 3 yards too close to the sideline. Some yards were longer than others.

The chain set provided was in very poor condition and had to be repaired before kickoff. The down box was only 3 feet tall and had to be extended by lashing a mop to it.

Field was a worn rugby pitch with uneven surface and lots of dusty patches. Hornets played in black jerseys with gold trim and numbers. Cheetahs played in gold with black trim and numbers.

Changing room only had seating for 3, but we managed to find extra chairs in a neighbouring room. Chain crew and ball persons provided very late and required a lot of supervision all through the game. Kickoff delayed 15 minutes due to the marking of the hash marks and the repairs to the chain and down box.

Jim Briggs #31

08/06/14 v Kent Exiles

London Warriors

By consent of the Head Coaches and the Referee the 2nd half was shortened

Keith Wickham #423

29/06/14 v Bristol Aztecs

London Olympians

Field was marked in metres so the chains were definitive. 90-metre field with 5-metre end zones so goal lines moved to 5-metre lines and field length reduced to 80-metres. Inbounds lines 30-feet from sidelines rather than the usual 60. Team areas were too close to the field and marked between the 15-metre lines. Normal goal padding not available but a suitable alternative was engineered by game management by lashing smaller pads together and secured to the posts.

Tim Ockendon #481

22/06/14 v London Warriors

Manchester Titans Junior

Prior to the game Manchester queried the minimum roster size; Chester only had 15 registered players and only 14 in kit. Officials stated that they were aware BAFANL has minimum roster sizes, but it was a league rule and not a playing rule.

Later the the Manchester game day manager asked me to take a phone-call on her phone from Steve Whitter (BAFANL Junior Contact). He stated that as Chester did not meet the minimum roster requirements they automatically forfeited that game. However if both coaches agreed the game could still take-place as a non-competitive/non-league game (with the result not counting towards the league standings). Steve Whitter stated that the officials did not have to officiate the game if they wished not to. All the officials were happy to officiate the game whether it counted towards the league standings or not. Both coaches agreed to play and the game was played.

The game was played under 8-a-side rules on a pitch marked up for an 11-a-side game (90 yard pitch). One end zone was used and for the other end zone the 10 yard line was used as the goal line and the goal line was used as the endline, this meant the short yard extension marks extended into one endzone. The field of play was 40 feet too wide. There were right rugby markings within one yard of the goal line. The team area was not marked between the 25 yard lines. The coaching line was 8 feet from the side line and the team area marking was only 10 feet from the side line.

Ben Griffiths #228

22/06/14 v Burnley Tornadoes

Gateshead Senators

On arrival the field was an absolute quagmire and in some places the water was 2”+ deep in one of the endzones. The home team management were frantically trying to squeegee the water away and remove the water with dustbins. The main area of the field was sufficiently dry so the game could proceed. To allow this youth game to proceed it was agreed to reduce the field to 70yds with 2 x 10 yard endzones, this allowed the game management to continue to remove the water from the end zone for the Senior Game that followed. The "Dial a Down" Chain Set has a malfunction where the 1st and 2nd down positions get confused, but downs 2 – 4 show as correct.

Following on from the Youth game, after the heroic efforts of the home team, the endzone that was under water was cleared of the majority of lying water and the game could proceed with a 90yd field and 2 x 10 yard endzones. Of the 4 balls that were presented all were well worn and 3 were deemed as adequate.

The game KO was delayed 15 minutes to allow the officials some rest time between the 2 games. The Burgers and Drinks provided by the Home Team was very welcomed. Plaudits to both teams who played the game with good sportsman like attitudes throughout the game.

Chris Jarvis #10

22/06/14 v Yorkshire Rams (Senior) & 15/06/14 v Newcastle Vikings (Junior)

London Blitz

Well marked field with several small areas that were potential trip hazards attended to by game management prior to kickoff. Fixed athletics equipment within the limit lines by one corner of the field was well padded, plane of goals not in the plane of the end line and team area lines were replaced by 6-foot wide tarpaulins staked into the ground.

Tim Ockendon #481

08/06/14 v London Olympians

South Wales Warriors

Chain crew was changed at half time, with a further change made in the 3rd quarter.

Amir Brooks #593

08/06/14 v East Kent Mavericks



New this week

Play: Team A line up to attempt a PAT with A15 positioned as a holder and A7 positioned as a kicker. Snapper A63’s snap is high and A7's place kick is blocked at the line of scrimmage by B98, the ball then lands at Team B’s 5-yard line. A7 is about to pick the ball up when B60 bats it backwards and it rolls into Team B’s end zone where B44 picks it up and runs it all the way back across Team A’s goal line. Ruling?

Note: this was question 12 on this year's BAFRA exam.

Last week

Play: 4th and 7 from Team A’s 15-yard line near the end of the 1st quarter. Team A line up to punt facing a very strong headwind blowing straight down the field with punter A8 standing on the Team A goal line. Snapper A55’s long snap is wayward and the ball bounces along the ground and rolls into the end zone where it stops. B55 is moving to recover the ball when A8 holds B55 in the end zone. B98 attempts to gain possession of the ball in the end zone, but fails to do so and merely contacts the ball causing it to roll across the end line. Time expires in the 1st quarter during the down. A8 is guilty of holding. As the hold occurred in the end zone, should the officials should regard enforcement of the penalty as 'obvious'?

Note: this was question 43 on this year's BAFRA exam.

Ruling: Though it is true that accepting or declining the penalty will, in both cases result in a safety, the decision will also decide which direction Team A would free kick afterwards. Since if the penalty is accepted the half does not end, whereas if it's declined the half would end and the teams would change sides (3-2-3-a-1). Since there is a strong wind, Team B may want Team A to kick into the wind or kick with the wind. It is a choice that should be left to Team B, not the officials. The penalty enforcement is therefore not obvious (M-19-4-5-d).


New this week

Game Situation: Team A punt from midfield. Team B line up with two punt returners, B23 is on the B10 line on the Head Linesman's side of the field while B80 is on the B5 line on the Linejudge's side of the field. On a 6 man crew, how should the deep wing officials work together to ensure that the punt returners are covered?
Answer next issue...

Last week

Play (from issue 12/14): 1st and 10 at the Team A 25 yard line. A23 runs a sweep to the Linejudge's side of the field. A23 is brought to the ground at the Team A 28 yard line close to the Linejudge's sideline. The Linejudge does not blow his whistle even though the play appears to be over. How long should the Linesman be prepared to wait before blowing his whistle to kill the play?
Answer: M-5-5-5. Never be the first official to blow a whistle if the ball is not in your zone of responsibility. The Linesman here must concentrate on his own area of coverage and only echo the Linejudge's whistle (when it comes ) if it is necessary to end continuing action in his area. Don't toot your whistle unless you have thrown a penalty flag or otherwise need to attract the Referee's attention.




Contact for details


July 19th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

July 26th (Sat)

BAFRA Elite Training Day

Ben Griffiths

September 14th (Sun)

BAFA Senior Finals

September 20th (Sat)

BAFA Junior Final

November 15th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

BAFRA Directors


David Parsons

General Secretary

Paul Sutton


Andrew Lovell


Richard Vernon


James Meredith


Pete Thom

Director without Portfolio #1

Martin Cockerill

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 midnight Tuesday.

Editor: Dean Wright - Email: