The conference cup match between local rivals University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University on Wednesday 25th November 2015, saw Matt O Grady (Premiership and Championship official) return to where it all began for him, which was university rugby.
Matt’s match officiating journey commenced at University and he has since officiated at the highest levels of the domestic game. As an up and coming official, this year allowed him to be deployed as a reserve official in the Rugby World Cup for the South Africa v Samoa match at Villa Park.
Matt was officiating the game to support an initiative by University of Nottingham to encourage other young people to get hold of the whistle and “get the best seat in the house” a quote used by Wayne Barnes (World Cup Semi-final referee 2015) who will speak at dinner being held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Nottingham during the same week.
Sunday will see eight students from the University of Nottingham begin that journey as they look to complete the Level 2 refereeing the 15-a-side game qualification and support officiating of the University Intra Mural rugby fixtures…
Matt said “it was great to be able to support this initiative; I thoroughly enjoyed the game though I admit to feeling a little nervous at the start. The opportunity to have a Q & A session after the game allowed me to answer questions about my journey to date and hopefully encourage others to pursue match officiating.”
Player feedback was very positive with one player saying “the ref was great and really allowed us to play, but we knew he was in control. It has to be the fastest game we’ve played and I was certainly blowing a bit towards the end”.