Ellis Bywood: Official Business
Ellis Bywood became a match official last year, Ellis is in his first year touch judging National Conference League matches and also referees local games on a Sunday. I've met Ellis a few times at high profile games between some of the best amateur rugby clubs in the country, West Hull, Skirlaugh, Myton Warriors and Kells to name a few. Here's what Ellis had to say about officiating at Grassroots level.
1. What made you become a match official?
" I used to play rugby before I became an official and it goes without saying that progressing through the ranks as a player is incredibly difficult therefore I thought that I would try and progress through the game in a different way, that's when I took up officiating. I also believed becoming an official would allow me to understand the rules a little better and therefore this would help me to understand the games that I enjoy watching myself on a weekend".
2. Do you get much abuse from players and spectators at games?
"As with any job , criticism is going to be fairly frequent and most people know thatofficials fall under immense scrutiny during every game we play a part in. A lot of the abuse we get from spectators often generates from them not fully understanding decisions given and therefore it is vital officials ensure that spectators and players are well informed and understand every decision made during a game. In terms of abuse from players; rugby as a sport is something that gives players a lot of discipline therefore the aspect of mutual respect between officials and players is present at most times and that's something that I really enjoy about being an official".
3. What is the best thing about being an official?
"For me, the social aspects of officiating are second to none. We get so many opportunities that allow us to visit lots of different places and work with a variety of different people and I personally have met some fantastic people through officiating".
4. You're only a young lad, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
"Like i said , the opportunities officiating gives you are sensational and often unpredictable and I'm really enjoying what I'm doing now and I am really excited to see what lies ahead . Personally, I would like to progress through the levels and eventually become a graded official, which would then allow me to officiate at games of a much higher level".
5. What do you do when you are not officiating games?
"I enjoy socialising with friends and family and also have a huge interest in aviation. As an official, fitness is also at the centre of our performance and progression therefore I like to hit to the gym when I can. I've been brought up around rugby and that's where my real passion is so I really enjoy watching as much rugby as I can throughout the week and love watching my local team on a Sunday!"
We wish Ellis every success with his officiating career!