90th Anniversary Dinner

Image of Wayne Barnes refereeing at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Our Chair is delighted to invite all members to the NLD Rugby Union Referees’ Society 90th anniversary dinner on Friday 2nd June at Newark RFC. He said that the event “will celebrate past successes and current activities, as well as looking towards our future ambitions whilst concurrently marking our 90th year as a Society – a huge milestone for us all.”

The Committee is thrilled to be welcoming, as guest speaker for the evening, Mr Wayne Barnes, 2019 World Rugby Referee of the Year.

The Society is subsidising the cost of tickets for members: Members can access the tickets at £75 for over 24s and £45 for under 24s (YMOs). All under 18s (£45) must be accompanied by a responsible adult (£75). Dress code for the evening will be jacket/blazer and tie, or other suitable attire for our FMOs.

Your ticket will entitle you to:

  • 3 Course Meal including table wine.
  • Commemorative mementos of the event.
  • Evening entertainment including auction and raffle.
  • Questions & Answers to Wayne Barnes.
  • Photograph opportunities for your table.
  • Awards and Recognition for members of the Society

Instructions on how to apply for a ticket are included in the email which has been sent to all members. This event is expected to be oversubscribed so members are advised to apply before 28th Feb, after which a ballot will take place, if required, to allocate tickets.

Women in Rugby Union Coaching and Refereeing Conference

NLD's 6 representatives at the conference smiling for the camera in front of an England rugby banner.
NLD was represented at the conference by women involved in both coaching and refereeing from numerous NLD clubs.

On Friday 27 Jan around 200 women from all over England, including several from NLD, were invited to a coaching and refereeing course at Welford Road. Attendees shared experiences, learned more about the opportunities available and even got the chance to network with Red Roses Sarah Hunter and Shaunagh Brown. As broadcaster and journalist Stella Mills commented in an Instagram reel, the future is bright!

NLD Refs is proud to have a Young Match Official/Diversity and Inclusion Officer and part of her role is working with new Female Match Officials to ensure they get the best possible development and enjoyment from their membership. If you’re interested in refereeing click on our Join Us page for more information.


Read the original statement on the RFU website here and an update, posted on 27th January, here.

While the NLD Refs Committee understands this announcement will create much discussion and members will undoubtedly have questions, the changes are not due to take place until 1st July 2023. There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss the changes and answer any questions when we come together as a membership over the coming months.

All are advised that there have been no sudden law or regulation changes for your imminent appointments.

Nigel Baxter RIP

It is with great sadness that we share with you the news that Nigel Baxter lost his battle with cancer just before Christmas.

Nigel started refereeing for the Society in 2008/2009 season, and has refereed hundreds of fixtures in the interim. Nigel made the time to referee despite being heavily involved with his Club, Meden Vale, for whom he had played, Captained, and was latterly Club Chairman, alongside undertaking anything and everything required to support the Club. Nigel was highly respected and well known in the Rugby Community and particularly so in the Northern parts of the 3 Counties. I often joked with him that he must have the best of diplomacy skills to be living in Ollerton whilst being a club member at arch rivals Meden Vale, and that skill was evident in the strong relationships that he forged with numerous clubs in NLD, and in his refereeing prowess.

Nigel had been diagnosed in late 2020, and had surgery just prior to Christmas that year. It is the measure of the man that Nigel actually felt the need to apologise for not being able to referee any further following his operation. Nigel offered his resignation which, of course, we declined to accept, instead awarding Nigel an Honorary Membership of the Society. Nigel could often be seen watching Meden Vale from the touchlines in his mobility van, although at times needing to maintain a safe distance due to his reduced immunity as a result of his treatments. Nigel was always supportive of referees, and was known to correct and inform his Club teammates when decisions were debated after fixtures, and was always cheery and smiling through adversity, never complaining of the illness that had so cruelly befallen him.

Nigel was the finest of Rugby men, always acting in the best traditions and values of Rugby Union. Our deepest condolences go out to his Family, his Club and his many, many rugby friends. You will be sadly missed Nigel.

Steve Whiteside


Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire Rugby Union Referees Society

NLMOT Promotion for NLD Ref

Photo showing Sam running just behind the ball carrier while refereeing a recent match.

The society received more great news this week with Sam Yates’ promotion from Regional 1 to the National League Match Official Team Associate Group. Sam has been refereeing with NLD since he was 18 and it has been fantastic to watch his progression through the levels, having started out as one of the society’s first Young Match Officials.

The news completes a fantastic week for the society as fellow member Andy Ashwell was promoted to the PGMOT just a few days ago. All at NLD Refs wish to congratulate Sam on this milestone and wish him all the best as the National League appointments start coming in.

NLD Referee Promoted to the PGMOT

Photo of Andy Ashwell

The society is thrilled to share the news that Andy Ashwell has been promoted to the Professional Game Match Official Team (PGMOT) as an Assistant Referee (AR). Having been officiating in the National League Match Official Team (NLMOT) for some time, Andy has been assessed several times in Championship rugby over the last year. His performances have earned him a promotion to the PGMOT, meaning many more appointments to the professional game in the New Year. Seven of Andy’s teammates from the NLMOT have also been promoted, either as referees or ARs.

Photo of Andy Ashwell, explaining his point to the membership at a recent training meeting.

Away from the dizzy heights of the professional game, Andy is on the society’s Management Committee as Chair of Appointments- an important but time consuming role. He sacrifices so much time and effort for the good of the game at all levels and the society would like to congratulate him on his well-deserved promotion.

NLDRFU Monthly Awards

NLDRFU are awarding a Team of the Month and Volunteer of the Month this season. The award is sponsored by O’Neills and NLD Refs would encourage all members to get involved and vote each month. Given that we generally visit a large number of clubs each month, we’re in an excellent position to contribute towards the nominations.

Has a team displayed a great example of rugby’s core values? Has a volunteer made a particularly positive impact on the community? Click on the links above to find out more about each award.

Allianz Cup Appointment for NLD Ref

Sam right on the spot to award a Gloucester-Hartpury try.
DMP Sharks vs Gloucester Hartpury

NLD Refs member Sam Yates ticked off another milestone in his refereeing progress at the weekend when he refereed DMP Sharks vs Gloucester-Hartpury in the Allianz Cup. Everyone at NLD Refs would like to congratulate Sam on an excellent match, we look forward to watching his continued progression!

Sam watching carefully at the breakdown.
DMP Sharks vs Gloucester Hartpury
Jasmine Hazell carrying the ball for DMP Sharks as Sam watches in the background.
DMP Sharks vs Gloucester Hartpury