Pohutakawa Coast a nursery for Touch Referees

Pohutakawa Coast Touch (PCT) based in Beachlands has a proud and enviable record of producing top class touch referees, many of who have gone on to referee at the national level.

The club is considered the largest module in New Zealand, with a staggering (approximate) 1200 players registered.

Its referee development squad was created 12 years ago by Eddie Van Den Dop who wanted to create a team of referees to assist in the module. Back in his day there were just a handful of volunteers that put their hand up to referee and at the time there were no support mechanisms by Counties or NZ Touch nor pathways or qualifications they just turned up and ran.

Carl Llewelyn took over the role 8+ years ago and started a long-term plan to create a team of elite referees.

To date, 66 referees (sourced mainly from player ranks) have been put through the development programme, and currently they boast 37 referees within the youth development and elite programmes.

The PCT referee development squad for 2019/20. Photo supplied

In addition, 24 referees are either still in the National programme or have represented Counties and NZ at nationals. Six of those that have come via this season’s development program, and they have 11 referee’s that have represented PC touch, Counties and NZ in overseas events and World cups.

Age is no barrier to getting involved as young Kurt Harrison showed. Kurt was one of our first young men to join the development program. Kurt started refereeing age just 14 and in his first year went from refereeing U12 games to controlling the A Grade final.

Kurt has progressed through the programme to becoming PC Touch’s only Level 4 black badge the highest rank in NZ and the world. Kurt went on to represent PC touch at the Youth World Cup in Malaysia in the 2018 season.

This season, a young 11-year-old referee has taken up refereeing, and will hope to emulate Kurt. Carl Llewelyn is proud of his charges and says, “The rewards you get watching these kids grow in confidence and skill set during the season makes this well worthwhile.

“We have had many parents comment during the season that they have seen such a massive difference in their son or daughter as result of refereeing and that just makes the scheme even more successful on many scales not just as a referee.”

To get involved, contact PCT via their website https://www.sporty.co.nz/coasttouch/