Rare mile­stone for foot­ball um­pire

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Ali­cia Per­era

A Pil­bara foot­ball um­pire marked his 750th league match, af­ter 38 years of ser­vice to the game, a rare achieve­ment in the world of coun­try foot­ball.

North Pil­bara Foot­ball League um­pire Peter Lynch has been ref­er­ee­ing at coun­try and State level since 1976, with only a three-year break in that time, and um­pired his 750th game of league foot­ball at Satur­day night’s match be­tween the Dampier Sharks and South Hed­land Swans. Play­ers and coaches shook Mr Lynch’s hand at the end of the game in ac­knowl­edge­ment of the mile­stone, which few reach.

Mr Lynch, who turns 61 this week, said he was “very proud” of the achieve­ment and never thought he would still be um­pir­ing all these years later, af­ter tran­si­tion­ing from play­ing at age 20.

“I started here just want­ing to get fit,” he said.

“I wanted to run and I didn’t think af­ter three years as a bound­ary um­pire I’d still be run­ning around this same ground 40 years (later).”

“The tran­si­tion from field um­pire was a big chal­lenge. We went from one, then to two, then to three um­pir­ing sys­tems. The game has changed, the laws have changed, we’ve changed, the de­mands are greater, but the teamwork and the spirit of the game of foot­ball is (the same).”

“It’s got to be a four-quar­ter per­for­mance, and we rely on ev­ery­one to be stu­dious, con­sis­tent, make changes. Um­pires are adapt­able.”

Mr Lynch said he was the long­est-serv­ing coun­try um­pire cur­rently working and “I don’t think that record will soon be bro­ken in this league”.

He chose the 1996 NPFL grand fi­nal be­tween Port Hed­land and South Hed­land as the most mem­o­rable game of his um­pir­ing ca­reer, af­ter he awarded a late goal that de­cided the game and “got a grand­stand fin­ish”.

He said he did not think um­pires got enough ac­knowl­edge­ment for the hard work they put in be­hind the scenes, but for­tu­nately there were plenty of perks to the job.

“It’s a lot of fun, you meet some great guys, it gets you out on a Fri­day night, it’s good for fit­ness,” he said.

“There are lit­tle chal­lenges ev­ery game, but the minute I stop en­joy­ing it is the minute I’ll give it away.”

He said um­pir­ing was a team ef­fort and the NPFL had a par­tic­u­larly high-stan­dard unit.

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