Pressure is on!

Well, after a long trek up north for a relegation play off, it seems the pressure is building nicely!

The Championship, for those who don’t know is this year being decided by a lottery play off system with the top 8 (as of last weekend) playing off in 2 pools to end up with a deciding match for who gets promoted* and the bottom 4 playing off in a pool at the end of which the bottom side gets relegated.  I’m not going to get into the politics of all this – there’s plenty of chat around about that elsewhere (check out Rolling Maul for starters!).  All we can do as referees/officials is to rock up and referee what we see in front of us!

Yesterday, I officiated in round one of the relegation pool. Two very focussed sides before the game and you could tell this was all different – and important.

As it turns out, the home side played much better than the visitors and thoroughly deserved to win the game, and with the added try bonus point to boot! I think this pool could come down to bonus points at the end of the day so we’re having to be absolutely aware of all the scenarios etc, make sure we are 100% accurate on time and to let the players decide on the outcomes of the match. Yesterday was a good example of that with the home side scoring their fourth (bonus point) try well after time was up on my watch following a lengthy passage of attacking play.

For those of you berating the 6N games for being pants, an afternoon in the Championship could be an eyeopener!!

Next weekend? Who knows! Appointments are being made on a week-by-week basis and with some results yesterday,  I suspect the draft may have been ripped up and they’ll try again today. Interesting few weeks ahead!

* Actually there are only 2 sides I believe have met the Premiership criteria, so will be v interesting to see what happens if neither gets to the final or wins it!

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