At a time when the Rugby Football Union for Women is actively campaigning to attract women into refereeing, 14-year-old Coventry schoolgirl Christine Goldfinch is already two years down the road to becoming a star official.
Christine who, along with her mother Carol, are members of both the Warwickshire Society of Referees and Barkers Butts Rugby Club passed the Rugby Football Union’s National Foundation course and has been gaining valuable experience ever since.
Her career as a match official actually started when Christine was only 12, for she ran touch regularly at her club after passing the RFU’s Club Touch Judge Course with flying colours.
Refereeing was a natural progression and Christine qualified via the RFU’s National Foundation Parts 1 and 2 courses, the forerunner of today’s Entry Level Referee Award (ELRA).
Her experience to date is varied and shows excellent progression from her starting point with Barkers Butts Under 9s and the Under 12s. Just before her 13th birthday she took charge of an Under 14 girls’ game at Lichfield and later an Under 17a match at an RFUW tournament at Old Leamingtonians.
Christine, who is a member of the Warwickshire Society’s Youth Academy, has also refereed at the Royal & SunAlliance tournament at Rugby School and handled one of the plate semi-finals at the Under 14 girls National 7s at Harpenden. This season she has again been in action at the Lichfield tournament, the West Midlands v Thames Valley regional Under 14s match and at the RFUW’s development festival at Stratford. In April, she ran touch in a Warwickshire Colts Cup semi-final.
The pupil at Bablake School, Coventry said: “I am really enjoying my refereeing and touch judging and am looking forward to progressing even further next season. It’s my ambition eventually to progress from grassroots rugby to the elite level and copy Claire Daniels and Debbie Innes who have both officiated at the Women’s World Cup.”
photo Dan Vernon
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photo Dan Vernon