‘Whistleblower’ is David Matthews, a long serving honorary

life member of the club .

He was President of Lancashire County RFU for 2014/2015

He enjoyed twenty years on the RFU Referee List, including two seasons on the International Panel between 1992-94. This also comprised Assistant Referee duties and work as Television Match Official for eleven years

 to 2012.


David Matthews wonders how much rugby we can manage

Is it "all over bar the shouting?" Definitely not, there has been plenty already, but there is still time for some more, up to the last weekend in May when England v Barbarians follows the Premiership Final the previous day. In the programme that Sunday are the various County Finals and earlier in May play offs in all the RFU leagues including the top four in the Aviva Premiership.  Then you can prepare to watch the Lions and England's tour to Argentina. And talks are beginning about an extension to the season with a global calendar! Never had enough?

Did you enjoy the rugby in 2016-17? If you are a member of a club in the lower leagues already relegated the answer is probably no. Whilst watching a level 7 fixture last season a supporter likened it to 'park rugby,' almost as basic as it could be; I have a cameo scene from the 1963 Richard Harris film "This Sporting Life" in mind, where the star's dream sequence, under anaesthetic as teeth are extracted pictures a complete mess of a game dragged out at slow motion in the mud. These days only the state of the pitch sometimes represents an improvement.

Move up the leagues and there still seems to be a small number of benefactors, some anonymous, keen to bankroll a club, which then progresses.........to what? In the worst cases, oblivion and in others a fleeting glimpse of the promised land. For the ones who do survive longer what's the state of the finances?

Unlike football, Rugby Union has not discovered an escape clause for the disenchanted top flight referee. Mark Clattenburg, not without 'previous' in the English game, will be heading for Saudi Arabia’s riches shortly unless he has another change of mind. To be fair to England's leading officials, who are well rewarded, their performances have been above average. At the other end of the scale, where the game cries out for management and the ability to read what players are attempting to do, the situation is less promising - too many referees wanting to go through the law book and too many advisers pleased to acknowledge that.

The Six Nations was good to watch, the Aviva Premiership has had its moments and the European Championship has offered some stirring encounters. Time now for a little rest. There will never be a shortage of talking points, but let's go with Eddie Jones' great passion and follow the Cricket.

16Apr 17

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