BAFRA Newsflash

Issue: 28/14

17th July 2014


Volunteers are urgently required to assist with officiating at the following tournaments. Please make an effort to cover one of these during the season

Kent Exiles Tournament; Orpington Rugby Club, Lessons Way, St Paul's Cray, Kent, BR5 2QB

Date: Saturday 19th July 2014

Contact: Julius Hobbs ( 07970 228926)

Sandwell Steelers Tournament ;Tipton Sports Academy, Wednesbury Oak Rd, Tipton, West Midlands DY4 0BS

Date: Saturday 19th July 2014

Contact: Steve Hannington (tbc)

Chester Romans Tournament ;Chester Rugby Club, Hare Lane, Vicars Cross, Chester, Cheshire CH3 7DB

Date: Saturday 19th July 2014

Contact: Mark Hamer (07971 835973)

Edinburgh Wolves Tournament; South Queensferry Rugby Club, Dundas Avenue, South Queensferry, EH30 9JN

Date: Saturday 26th July 2014

Contact: James Collins (07773 041 397)

Doncaster Mustangs Tournament; Balby Carr Community Academy, Weston Road, Balby, Doncaster, DN4 8ND.

Date: Sunday 27th July 2014

Contact: Steve Whitter (07931726646)


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



Sports Officials UK is holding its first ever national officiating conference on Thursday 30th October 2014. The event will be held at Staverton Park, near Daventry.

The conference will offer educational and networking opportunities for officials from all sports. The event finale is the Sports Officials UK National Officiating Awards 2014. Join us to celebrate innovation and excellence from across the officiating sector.

If you are involved in any aspect of sports officiating, from grass roots to elite, then this event should not be missed. Speakers include Howard Webb (soccer), Wayne Barnes (rugby union) and Joy Johnston (ice hockey).

Put the date in your diary now. Details of how to book will follow.

Jim Briggs



Congratulations to David Cochrane and James Kilbane on completing all of the requirements necessary to become Qualified. Thanks to Mike Cavanagh, Richard Vernon and all those who are helping with David‘s and James' training.

Pete Thom









New this week – none

Previous weeks

Ayotunde Oshibote


London Olympians



After the play was over, the individual concerned threw punches at an opponent.

27/07/14 v Cambridgeshire Cats

Richard Colin


Chester Romans



After the play was over; player deliberately kicked a prone opponent in retaliation for a perceived infringement.

27/07/14 v Staffordshire Surge

Sebastian Januszewicz


Crewe Railroaders



Player deliberately kicked an opponent in the groin.

27/07/14 v Walney Terriers

David Gregson


London Hornets



While the ball was dead, player threw a punch at an opponent as retaliation for being fouled.

20/07/14 v Bury Saints

Reece Anderson-Watson


Watford Cheetahs Junior



Player struck an opponent. Player then held on to the facemask of an opponent for a prolonged period a few seconds later.

03/08/14 v Cambridgeshire Cats Youth

Ben Firman


Ipswich Cardinals



After a score by the opposition player called 2 officials cheats – for which he was ejected. On his way to the sideline he made an obscene gesture to the officials. Player was then escorted out of the stadium.

20/07/14 v Ouse Valley Eagles





New this week

Balby Carr Mustangs

The field was very unusually marked; the optical illusion was that the yard lines were not 90 degrees to the side lines the 10 yard lines were actually spaced at approximately 12 yard intervals therefore the fist 4 hash marks were 1 yard apart then the others were increased with the last 2 being 2 yards apart. The following lines were missing: Team/Coaching Areas, and and the 5 yards lines.

Due to the absence of the 5 yards lines the game proceeded with the agreement of the away HC that we would use the chains to determine all 1st downs and no measurements would be allowed.

The game was delayed by 15 minutes as the home team could not provide game assistants until after the scheduled KO time. During the first half to 2 ball persons that were provided disappeared, each team then provided other persons. The officials changing room is not large enough for 5 officials and was further restricted by a washing machine located in the room.

Towards the end of the game the Head Coach of the home team complained of a homophobic comment that came from the away team area, as this was not heard by any of the officials we could not comment on this. As the home team have another game scheduled for next week the HC was informed that the missing lines should be actioned before that game proceeds.

Chris Jarvis #10


Hastings Conquerors

Crew arrived at venue to be informed that Hastings had cancelled their associate game on Friday 11th July. After consultation with league and BAFRA directors it was determined that notification of this had not been provided, and the crew were advised to leave the venue and submit an incident report.

Phil Clarke #262


Outstanding items from previous weeks

Sandwell Steelers

Kickoff delayed until 15.00 awaiting arrival of medical staff. Neither officials, nor away team were prior informed of the delay in kickoff time, until arrival at venue.

No field numbers or nine yard markings. End zones questionable depth - one end very close to natural barrier (tree branches and fence), home team requested to provide crash mat for this corner of the End Zone. Game management generally good with home team providing assistants in very good time, and with hi-viz jackets

Mike Cavanagh #465

10/08/14 v Shropshire Revolution

London Hornets

Game played at Farm Road, Morden. No changing rooms available at the venue; however, game management has secured changing rooms elsewhere and can give lifts down the road to officials if there are not enough cars.

The field is mostly metric and is approximately 100m long with main lines every 5 metres; the end zones are slightly larger than 10m. The chain set agrees with the field markings. The field is also slightly too wide. There are no team areas, and no goals.

Alan Dobson #308

27/07/14 v Maidstone Pumas

Crewe Railroaders

Serious injury to visiting team player occurred at 00:12 in Q2. Both Head Coaches and Officials agreed to call half-time at that point as an ambulance was required to move the player. The total delay was 68 minutes (which included half-time). There were 2 disqualifications just prior to this injury so the long delay also helped diffuse the situation to some extent. Field was 90 yards in length. Some lines very faint.

Stuart Young #33

17/08/14 v Merseyside Nighthawks

Kent Exiles

This game was abandoned in the 3rd quarter with 12.20 left on the clock. The pitch markings were very faint to start with and when the rain came they became hardly visible. After a meeting with both Head coaches to see how this could be rectified it was clear the home team game management would not be able to rectify the situation because they did not have immediate access to a line marker other than a small brush which was not adequate. The Watford HC was, after consulting with his coaches not prepared to continue with the game and the game was abandoned in the 3rd quarter.

Muz Gibson #268

27/07/14 v Ouse Valley Eagles

Portsmouth Dreadnoughts

Changing rooms is a martial arts room and not an actual changing room with no separate showers. One of the goal posts had been vandalised in the week and one goal post was shorter than the rest. No gaps between the hash marks and the side line. The field grass was cut very short but the cut grass had laid on the field - this had been pushed to the side lines but needed to be moved as there was about a foot of cut grass all along the side line where the chains needed to be, this was cleared before the start of the game. Game kicked of 15 minutes late because of the late arrival of the away team. Also team was asked to clear the side lines at half time because lines were becoming obscured by cut grass. Game was played in a good spirit.

David Knight #135

27/07/14 v Cornish Sharks

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

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

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

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

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

London Olympians

Team areas marked to 18 yard lines. Extra point lines marked at 2 yards rather than 3 yards. Team areas marked to 18 yard lines. Extra point lines marked at 2 yards rather than 3 yards. No limit lines. Changing rooms not lockable. Multiple changes to ball persons and chain crew occurred during the game.

Peter Parsons #321

17/08/14 v Colchester Gladiators

East Kent Mavericks

Pitch had been marked out by ground staff to rugby width (approx 200 feet). Game management were able to mark sidelines and hashmarks both at sidelines and inbounds lines. No limit lines, numbers or 9-yard marks and, although there were lines marked that approximated as a coaching lines, there were no team area lines. Entire chain crew changed at half time so the second half KO was delayed.

Tim Ockendon #481

27/07/14 v Berkshire Renegades

Sheffield Predators

Further to previous reports the PAT and limit lines are still missing. On a positive note, 3 balls were supplied and the ball persons were available throughout the game. Excellent game management including the prevision of drinks, snacks and cool box for use of the officials.

Richard Whitby #136

10/08/14 v Lancashire Wolverines

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

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



New this week

Play: A's ball, try, on B's 3. Holder A16 rises with the ball and throws a legal forward pass to A80. B21 intercepts the pass in B's end zone and sets sail for A's goal line. When B21 is at A's 5, the Line Judge blows his whistle thinking that B21 has crossed A's goal line. Ruling?

Last week

Play: Team A punt. B23 is in a position to catch the kick in flight. B23 makes a legal fair catch signal and the ball then bounces on the ground. The ball bounces up into the air and B23 attempts to recover it. He muffs the ball at the Team B 30 yard line and the ball flies forwards to the Team B 35 yard line where B23 recovers it on the ground. Ruling?

Ruling: When a player who has made a valid fair catch signal tries to catch a kick in flight and muffs the ball, then subsequently catches the ball at a spot in advance of the first touching, the ball is returned to the spot of the first touch (6-5-1-b). In this instance though, since the ball has bounced off the ground it is no longer possible for a player to catch the ball, only recover it (2-4-3-d). Therefore the ball belongs to Team B at the spot of the recovery, the Team B 35 yard line. Remember that since the protection associated with a valid fair catch signal ends after the ball touches the ground, so does the requirement that a muffed recovery be returned to the spot of the first touch.


New this week

Game Situation: With 3 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter, team A are losing by 10 points and are driving in team B's half of the field. Team A have no timeouts remaining. The weather is extremely hot. The team A captain tells the Referee that his players are hot and need water, he requests a Referee's timeout to get water on to the field. Team B seem happy with this. What should the Referee do?
Answer next issue...

Last week

Play: After having a false start called against him, snapper A67 complains to the Umpire that the defensive signals are interfering with the snap count. On the next play the Umpire listens carefully to the defensive calls being made by linebacker B54. Though his calls are loud and some of them are being called out during the QB's cadence, they do not appear to be simulating the QB's signals. How should the Umpire approach this situation?
Answer: Rule 7-1-5-a-3 states “No player shall use words or signals that disconcert opponents when they are preparing to put the ball in play. No player may call defensive signals that simulate the sound or cadence of (or otherwise interfere with) offensive starting signals.” Mechanics Manual 6-1-18 states that when in doubt: “defensive signals are legal”. There should be no doubt in the mind of the official that a defensive signal is disconcerting. In this situation there is a doubt and so no foul should be called. The Umpire should continue to monitor the situation though, and be prepared to throw a flag if B54 starts using his calls to deliberately upset the snap count.




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

September 28th (Sun)

NFL @ Wembley (Miami v Oakland)

October 26th (Sun)

NFL @ Wembley (Detroit v Atlanta)

November 9th (Sun)

NFL @ Wembley (Dallas v Jacksonville)

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: