Ipswich ref hits the heights

Ipswich-based football referee Mike Hamilton may be a level five official, but at 61 he is still hitting the heights.Earlier this week he took charge of a game involving Antigua and Barbuda who are warming up in Suffolk for their world cup qualifying games.

Elvin King

Ipswich-based football referee Mike Hamilton may be a level five official, but at 61 he is still hitting the heights.

Earlier this week he took charge of a game involving Antigua and Barbuda who are warming up in Suffolk for their world cup qualifying games.

Having acted as fourth official twice in matches involving Ipswich Town at Portman Road, Hamilton has far exceeded what many officials higher up the ladder have achieved.

Hamilton's status enables him to take charge of senior matches in Suffolk, although he is not qualified to referee games in the Ridgeons League and above.

His position as match day security co-ordinator at Portman Road precludes him from taking charge of Saturday fixtures, but it did lead to him taking the whistle for a friendly involving Antigua at Ipswich Town's training ground at Playford Road on Tuesday.

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The match was against a combined Potters Bar and Bromley side with the Antiguan's losing 4-2.

“I was working at Portman Road when I received a call from Alan Ferguson, Ipswich's head groundsman,” explained Hamilton.

“It was 45 minutes before kick-off and there was a bit of a mix-up with no referee having been booked.

“I rushed up to Playford Road and was happy to take charge.

“Officiating in a game involving a world cup qualifier - even if they are ranked 127th in the world - is an achievement I can cherish.”

Hamilton was also called into action at Portman Road as a fourth official following injury to appointed officials in a Premier League game against Derby County in 2001/02 and also a Carling Cup match against Kidderminster in August 2003.

He is a regular official in the Flare Recruitment Sunday League averaging an impressive 83.45 marks out of a 100 last season and took charge of their senior cup final earlier this month.

Other Ipswich-based referees Les King and Anthony Fryatt acted as Hamilton's assistants at the Antigua and Barbuda game.

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