Sole People Profile
Occupational Hazard
Type: Document
Date: 01-06-1989 00:00:00
In this document: Mike Wall
Copyright: © Ealing Football Club (RU)

Memoirs from Down Under

During a number of years at Ealing, before returning to his native New Zealand. Mike Wall enjoyed first team and A XV rugby prior to taking up the whistle and joining the London Society. He has sent the following article, which recounts an episode in his UK reffing days.

"Occupational Hazard"

I had been assigned Hampstead 2nds versus Old Tottonians at Wormwood Scrubs pitch. The council changing rooms were arctic, the pitch lacking markings or corner flags, but we had our game. After lukewarm showers it was off to the Hampstead club rooms which consisted of a three storied ex-church hall in Albany Street, near Regents Park. The address was the only desirable thing about the property, which had a ground floor with two unusable rooms and a Gents; the middle floor boasted a committee room and a Ladies; the top floor was the only one which mattered - it accommodated the Bar.

I must have had a reasonable match, because the team jug provided me with an endless supply of Fullers ESB. At around 7.30pm the Hampstead Secretary invited me to join him and his wife, plus other members, at their local pub. I managed to ride my· motorbike there and joined the others in the saloon bar.

From here on things became rather hazy. but my apparent actions were later confirmed from reliable sources. But I still stoutly deny that I used the Ladies, propositioned the barmaid or invited the landlord outside to sort things out. At closing time I was persuaded to lock up my motorbike and was carried back to the Hampstead club for a disco. I enjoyed two or three dances, then trekked down to the Gents on the ground floor where I evidently stayed the night.

Awaking next morning on an old sofa, wrapped in a dirty Union Jack, feeling very cold and showing all the signs of approaching brain death, I thought I should get out and find my way back to my bike. But the building was deadlocked. with no sign of life. After phoning the operator and arranging a reverse call I managed to contact a Hampstead chap who eventually secured my release. My young lady never believed my reason for not going home that night, and on subsequent visits to Hampstead I was always greeted with requests for my "unpaid rent",

Reffing here in New Zealand is rather different; after match hospitality is a pale imitation of that in the U.K. Like the rugby. everything is taken so much more seriously. Farewell from the deep south, and my regards to all at Ealing - the only rugby club for me! Let's hope the next season brings the rewards the Club deserves.
Mike Wall

Published in Over The Bar 1989.


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