Many congratulations to 16 years old Thomas Bickerstaffe who is on his way to becoming an accomplished rugby referee. He passed the RFU’s levels 1 & 2 for Young Match Officials in 2017 and 2018 and is now refereeing junior games in the local area. Given that he’s exceeded the minimum of 10 hours of officiating, he’s able to referee matches up to U’15s level and has recently been in action at local schools such as AKS, Kirkham Grammar and Carr Hill High School.
Thomas is a student at Carr Hill and continues to play at under 16s level for Fylde which he joined at age five. He’s received great support from his parents Mike and Liz Bickerstaffe, both for his playing and refereeing.
Thomas has joined the Manchester & District Referees Society and is one of only six or so young officials to have done so to date. In recognition of his progress, Claire Antcliffe, Match Official Development Officer for the Midlands and North West at the Rugby Football Union, recently presented Thomas with an official shirt as shown in the photograph.
Thomas Bickerstaff said: “A major attraction for me is the enjoyment of refereeing a game, and that I can also help younger people than myself understand the game and pass on my experience of playing in Fylde Mini-Juniors.
Thomas has served the Club very well indeed, and not just as a Mini-Junior player. Going back five years, in the 2012-13 season the 11 year old did ball ball duties at every 1st XV home game, sometimes on his own. Here he is being acknowledged by then skipper Evan Stewart and President Bob Barclay. As photographer Chris Farrow said at the time, “truly a club spirited lad who deserves full praise for his efforts.” .