BAFRA Newsflash

Issue: 24/14

19th June 2014


Over 28th and 29th June 29 games are scheduled all over the country, seven will be ‘double headers’ and it is easily the busiest weekend of the season so far.

We need as many officials as possible to be available to assist us in covering this heavy demand. We have 4 games in Scotland and one in Cornwall so it may be necessary to ask officials to travel long distances.

Your kind assistance is requested to help us cover these games.

Richard Vernon


On 28th June at Essex Spartans there may be 2 tournaments taking place at the same time so help is doubly required there.

Birmingham Bulls Tournament

Holly Lane Sports Center, Holly Lane, Erdington, Birmingham, B24 9LH

Date: Saturday 21st June 2014

Contact: Rob Amor (TBC),

Chorley Buccaneers Tournament

Chorley RUFC, Chancery Road, Chorley, Lancashire, PR7 1XP

Date: Saturday 21st June 2014

Contact: Ian Nicholson (07759 208718)

Essex Spartans Tournament

Hannakins Farm, Rosebay Avenue, Billericay, Essex, CM12 0SY

Date: Saturday 28th June 2014

Contact: Steve Mitchell (07737 016037),

Richard Vernon


Officials are required for the following tournament:

Berkshire Renegades Tournament

Burghfield Community Sports Association, James Lane, Burghfield, Reading, RG30 3RS

Contact :Tel : 0118 983 3423

Richard Vernon


I will be on leave from 18th to 26th June. Please direct all enquiries to Tim Ockendon during this period.

Richard Vernon


The next Regional Training Clinic will be held in North London on the 12th July 2014, there are no games in the South East on this weekend. Although the clinic is aimed at officials with less than 5 years experience, all BAFRA members will gain from it and are encouraged to attend. Places will be limited so please register as soon as possible at

Pete Thom


Congratulations to Sean Welsh on completing all of the requirements necessary to become Qualified. Thanks to Albert Lambert Jr. and all those who are helping with Sean‘s training.

Pete Thom









New this week

Gareth Burns


Doncaster Mustangs



Player forcibly struck the back of the helmet of an opponent on the ground (player was flagged for this unsportsmanlike act). The same player then picked up the same opponent with two hands and threw him to the ground. He was then ejected for this flagrant act.

22/06/14 v Coventry Jets

Ricky Murray


Aberdeen Roughnecks



Player was ejecting for punching opponent.

28/06/14 v West Coast Trojans

Previous weeks

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.

22/06/2014 at Bury Saints and 29/06/2014 v Watford Cheetahs





New this week

Solent Thrashers Junior

Officials turned up at the game an hour and a half prior to the scheduled kick off, only to be told by the home team that Watford had forfeited the game. Crew waited around for the following senior game to start.

David Knight #135

03/08/14 v London Blitz

Solent Thrashers

Game kicked off 20 minutes early as the previous Junior game had been cancelled and both teams and the officials were ready to play. Field markings were in white and this clashed with the Association football markings. Endzones are only 9 yards and the plane of the crossbar is approx. 1 yard into the endzones. Game played in a very good spirit and a pleasure to officiate.

David Knight #135

03/08/14 v Bristol Apache

Cornish Sharks

The field was mown after it had been marked and there was not enough paint to re-mark the field completely. The 5-yard lines were not painted but hashes were there. There were nor markings for the team areas for similar reasons.

Julian Mallia #336

29/06/14 v Solent Thrashers

Farnham Knights Junior

Field was 90 yards long (shortened to 80 by moving one of the goal lines) and full width. Officials were unable to shorten the width of the pitch, therefore the 8-on-8 game was played on the full-width field.

Dean Wright #553

29/06/14 v Bournemouth Bobcats

Merseyside Nighthawks

Changing room was too small and we were unable to use it before the game due to rugby officials using it too.

Dan Holt #371

27/07/14 v Manchester Titans

Outstanding items from previous weeks

London Hornets

The game was played as Farm Road recreation ground, a location with no changing rooms and one abandoned and derelict building with a barely-operational toilet. The crew were informed upon arrival that changing facilities were apparently available a short drive down the road, but since only 1 official of the 7 had a car we decided it was more practical to simply change in the shade of the trees.

Field had only one set of hashmarks right down the middle of the playing area, yard line marks were on only one side of the field. The field appeared to be marked out in combination of yards and metres, such that the chains sometimes matched the marks on the field and sometimes didn't. The chains were used for all determinations of 1st downs. The field was an apparent 100 yards long, though it was likely longer.

The goal posts were unacceptably small and so they were removed before the game with the consent of both coaches, we played a 'no posts' game.

Chains broke several times throughout the game. The home team management provided the crew with chilled energy drinks at half time, which was much appreciated.

Dean Wright #553

29/06/14 v Bury Saints

Swindon Storm

No Limit Lines. Changing room not locked.

Peter Parsons #321

29/06/14 v Bournemouth Bobcats

Solent Thrashers

American Football markings were white and the same colour as the English football markings. End zones are 9 yards and the crossbar of the goals are 2 yards in bounds. Both this game and the junior game were played in good spirits by all four teams.

David Knight #135

15/06/14 v Portsmouth Dreadnoughts

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

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

Yorkshire Rams

90 yard field. No nine yard marks or numbers. No team area or coaches box. No limit lines. No coat hooks in the changing room.

Dan Holt #371

10/08/14 v Nottingham Caesars

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

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

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

Lincolnshire Bombers

Only one set of goal posts were available so the game was played with both teams attacking the one set of posts when their offences were on the field.

Muz Gibson #268

17/08/14 v Sandwell Steelers

South Wales Warriors

With 8:40 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the game was suspended for 40 minutes due to lightning.

Amir Brooks #593

29/06/14 v Cambridgeshire Cats

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

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 (Seniors)

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



New this week

Play: 4th and 8 from Team A’s 37-yard line. Team A line up to punt. B80 catches the ball and runs it back to the Team B 32 yeard line where he is legally tackled by A76. B80's helmet comes off in the tackle. Team B have no team timeouts remaining and as such B80 must leave the field for one play. The field has visible 25/40 second play clocks; should the play clock be set to 25 or 40 seconds?

This was Q27 on this year's BAFRA exam.

Last week

Play: A's ball, 3rd and goal, on B's 12. A33 takes a handoff, advances and fumbles on B's 4. A82 receives the ball with one foot touching B's goal line pylon. The ball is completely over the field of play when touched by A82.

Ruling: A's ball, 4th and goal, on B's 4. The ball becomes dead when touched by A82 while A82 is in contact with the goal line pylon. The ball is considered to have gone out of bounds between the goal lines even though the ball has not penetrated the plane of the sideline. The fumble went forward and out of bounds and is returned to the spot of the fumble, B's 4. A82 cannot catch or recover the ball while his foot is contacting B's goal line pylon.


New this week

Game Situation: 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. How should the wing officials react to ensure that the potential kicker A8 is covered?

This was Q42 on this year's BAFRA exam.
Answer next issue...

Last week

Play: Team A punt from midfield. Team B line up with two punt returners, B23 is on the the Head Linesman's side of the field while B80 is on the Linejudge's side of the field. The punted ball is caught by B23 and he begins to run upfield with it. On a 5 man crew, how should the officials work together to ensure that the forward progress of the punt returner is covered?
Answer: The Backjudge has responsibility for the punt returner and should mark the end of the kick with a bean bag (M-12-7-a-1). As soon as the punt returner moves upfield though, he becomes the runner on a return and should be covered by the official on that sideline. In this case, the Head Linesman should be in a position to cover B23 as in a normal running play and mark his forward progress (M-11-7 & M-11-6).




Contact for details


July 12th (Sat)

BAFRA London Region Development Clinic

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.

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Editor: Dean Wright - Email: