John Wood, CRFC honorary secretary and fourth official, was persuaded by Shane Ranford, u11s coach, to come out of retirement to referee Cinderford u11s v Cwmbran u11s. John Wood hung up his whistle a few years back – handing it over to Cinderfords up and coming referee Charlie Gayther after, what he thought, would be his last match in charge.

Teams are always looking for referees to facilitate the many games that run at a weekend. Mini Chairman Malcolm Hannaford commented “With a flourishing mini and junior section there is always a bit of a hunt to find suitable people to ref the games at the weekend, Shane mentioned that he was looking for someone to do the Cwmbran game and I thought of John. When approached to fulfil the role John was apprehensive initially but this turned to excitement. It seems that John relished the thought of refing a game in his 70s.”

The game was a tough affair for both teams but was played with the right respect and spirit. Cwmbran edged the result in the end but everyone went away satisfied with a good game, including John.

John said after the match “I am glad that the u11s only play part of a pitch…hopefully I wont be too stiff on Monday and Tuesday. I think I surprised some of the opposition parents when I told them my age! Always nice to generate chatter.”

Shane Ranford said “I would like to thank John wood on behalf of the Cinderford under 11s. John did a great job on Sunday. John is well known in the senior part of the club and it was nice for him to come Sunday and help out with the mini section at Cinderford”

CRFC are always looking for referees and have an active development program in conjunction with GRFU. If you are interested in becoming a ref then please contact Maria Nordström 07887 681332”