The Preston M&L Cup has been running for over 10 years and is based in Preston, Lancashire. Each year the Ayrshire Association sends down a team of referees (over the Easter weekend), who along with members from around the UK are all looked after, and allocated matches by the referee co-ordinator. If you haven’t been before this is the ideal opportunity to gain experience, being in the middle and running the line with some of our most knowledgeable youth, amateur and junior refs.
“Everyone arrived safely on the Friday and got settled into the hotel. Once we had dinner it was time for a few light refreshments before getting to bed, ready for the big kick-off on Saturday.
Saturday morning arrived and everyone was up bright and early for breakfast, at 7.30am, with most choosing the healthy option of cereal and fruit with a few (you know who you are) going for a fry-up to “build up energy” for the busy day ahead.
First kick-off was 9.30am with seven 11-a side pitches three 7 a-side pitches. Margaret (Smith) and Hannah (MacLean) were a great help in doing the 7 a-sides with all other refs doing alternate 11-a-side matches. It was a busy day with kick-offs at 9.30, 10.45, 12.00, 1.15, 2.30 and 3.45 and with a tight group of 20 referees, everyone was kept involved. After a hectic first day, it was time to head back to the hotel, for our dinner, put our feet up and have some more fluid replacing refreshments!
Whilst some of you were munching on the chocolate that the Easter bunny had left, we were up and ready for action at 9.30 (again) on the Sunday! Group games were played until 1.15, after which the tournament moved onto the semi-finals for some of the age groups for the Trophy and Cup. At this stage a huge amount of work was required from myself to ensure that all matches were covered by 3 officials. The referees were a credit to themselves and their associations as they were finishing single matches at 1.00 being an Assistant at 1.15 and then refereeing again at 2.30. Thankfully all matches were covered, however best of luck to FIFA in organising the referees for the forthcoming World Cup!
After a frantic afternoon, it was great to relax at the hotel, prior to the “End of Tournament” meal. This was a great night, with words of thanks from the organisers and also myself for the help and support I had received from the referees over the weekend. This being my first co-ordinator role, I was a bit nervous, however the company soon relaxed me and I was able to give out the final appointments. The referees also received mementos from the weekend in the shape of a personalised fox 40 classic whistle, which were well received.
Monday was finals day: played over six pitches and with kick offs from 9.30 right through to 1.15, the referees all took alternating roles between being in the middle
and being on the touchline. Each refereeing team had three finals that day, and it was a group of very weary legs that made the journey back home.
However the sun shone, everyone had a good time and as always it was a brilliant weekend.
I would just like to place on record that all the referees were a great help to me, and next year we WILL be looking for additional referees to come down and join in the fun that this great tournament has to offer. Watch out for me coming after you at the start of 2015!”