SIL relies on old refs

STILL going strong at 58, referee Maurice Scrivener feels that if it was not for the over-50s the Metaltec SIL would not function.“Over half the games are refereed by officials who are over the Ridgeons League retirement age of 48,” said Scrivener, who has been whistling since 1989 and had charge of the Felixstowe United versus Coplestonians Senior Division game last Saturday.

By Elvin King

STILL going strong at 58, referee Maurice Scrivener feels that if it was not for the over-50s the Metaltec SIL would not function.

“Over half the games are refereed by officials who are over the Ridgeons League retirement age of 48,” said Scrivener, who has been whistling since 1989 and had charge of the Felixstowe United versus Coplestonians Senior Division game last Saturday.

Scrivener, who played for Whitton United, Crane Sports and Harwich and Parkeston during an illustrious playing career, says that any young referee worth his salt is quickly whisked through the SIL.


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And this puts more emphasis on the elder generation of match officials to provide cover for SIL matches.

A high percentage of senior games have the more mature members of the refereeing fraternity at the helm.

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Brian Lennon is into his sixties and still taking charge of regular SIL games, while Bob Bullamore at 59 is another where age is proving no barrier.

Scrivener, who also officiates in the Ridgeons Youth League on Thursday nights, is happy to see up-and-coming referees like James Smith moving up the ladder.

But he says that it leaves a hole at SIL level.

“Without us old stagers there might not be any football at this level,” added Scrivener, who played for England National Association of Boys Club during his early playing days.

“I had James on the line for me last season and he is a very enthusiastic and capable official.

“He reached class five at the end of last season, and fully deserved to do so.

“James then immediately passed a Football Association fitness assessment and went up to class four.

“This means he is now eligible to officiate in the Ridgeons League, whether on the line or in the middle. He is effectively lost to SIL football.

“It is great for him and for all the best youngsters. But it means that these days the better ones are whizzing through the SIL.”

Scrivener became a senior referee in 1991 and is now a class five, which makes him a senior county official.

He says that experience helps, and he is respected universally within the SIL.

“Over the years I have experienced all there is to experience and I don't have any problem handling matches.

“My marks are well above average each half year and as long as it stays that way, and I stay fit I see no reason to hang up my whistle.”

And this is just as well as far as the SIL is concerned.

Without being drawn into the minefield debate started by Luton Town manager Mike Newell's opinion on female match officials it is interesting to note that not one female referee is registered with the SIL, and just one - Wendy Townsend from Weeley, Essex - with the Ridgeons League adult divisions.

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