WHAT GOES ON TOUR…
REMEMBER MY first game in charge as a ref when the new law came in that touchjudges could intervene, writes former Test referee Derek Bevan.
I was in Pontypool Park for a Welsh Cup quarter-final. The ground was packed. I’d never seen it so full and the atmosphere was fantastic. There was a lineout; Bob Norster won the ball for Cardiff and the play moved on.
As I moved with it I could hear – and feel! – the crowd start to boo and shout in condemnation. I turned around to see Eddie Butler and John Scott, two international No 8s, eyeballing and scuffling with each other.
I remembered that I was now able to call on my touchjudges to ask what had happened as I hadn’t seen anything.
On they both came. One said that Butler had started the fight. The other said that Scott had thrown the first punch. They were both adamant they had seen everything, but they gave me two opposing accounts.
What was I to do?
In the end I turned to them both and said: “Listen boys, we’re in Pontypool Park. It’s a cup game. One player is a Welshman, the other is an Englishman. There are 16,000 people here. It’s a penalty to Pontypool.”
And that’s how it was. I had a standing ovation from the home fans! As we walked off the pitch at the end, John Scott turned to me and said: “That was a good home decision, wasn’t it?”
“Too right it was,” I replied. No point denying the obvious.
From Derek and Nigel: Two Heads, One Tale, published by Y Lolfa, RRP £7.99.