#18 Harriet Crump - Ruck

#18 Harriet Crump

#Inspire – celebrating female referee’s in rugby

Harriet Crump has been officiating for 3 years.

Unusually, Harriet only briefly played rugby before deciding that she was much better suited to being behind the whistle.

Her dad, Adrian, is her biggest supporter and provides regular pep talks to keep her focused.

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Harriet to chat about how much she loves refereeing, how it has helped manage her anxiety and what motivates her.

Can you tell us a little about your relationship with rugby?

I started refereeing with not a lot of playing experience. I did play for 3 minutes at university, but I realised I much preferred having a whistle than a ball in my hand!

I have such a passion for the game, and the amazing community that comes with it.

I struggle a lot with anxiety, so I use refereeing to help me overcome it, and help build my confidence.

I always think to myself that if I can control 30 adrenaline-fueled players on a pitch, I can do anything.

What was your first experience as a Match Official like?

My first experience refereeing was at a girl’s tournament. I was so nervous about remembering everything, which was not helped by the referee before me forgetting about scrums!

But, even now, those players and coaches still recognise me, and ask me to referee their matches!

Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.

I have many memorable experiences refereeing, but my most memorable game was my first full senior men’s game. I felt so proud that, despite my anxiety, I could go out and achieve something many people would never dream of doing – and I made my dad cry!

Who inspired you to take up the whistle?

I was told that ‘girls can’t ref’!

So, despite having only played half a match of rugby, and just about grasping what a scrum was, I attended a meeting for girls interested in refereeing, then completed a YMO course, and thanks to an incredible mentor, I continued to grasp every opportunity.

What motivates you to referee?

I enjoy the challenge, and feeling like ‘if I can do this, I can do anything’!

Refereeing helps me improve so many skills, including my confidence, and a small part of me enjoys proving those who believe that ‘girls can’t ref’ wrong every single time I step on that pitch.

In a few words, please tell us what it means to you to be a positive role model and INSPIRE other women and girls to get in to refereeing

To think that there are perhaps some young girls who are in the same position I was a few years ago, who maybe look to me as a role model is an amazing feeling.

To referee girls, who then say to me that I have made them think about refereeing, and I have shown them that it is possible, really reminds me why I do it.

If you’re feeling inspired to take up the whistle, find out more about becoming a Match Official here: keepyourbootson.co.uk/referee-toolkit/supporting-match-officials-female/