Referees from Cumberland FA and Northumberland FA recently took part in an exchange weekend and officiated games together involving teams from the Carlisle United Academy.
On Saturday 15th April, two Northumberland FA referees acted as Assistant Referees on the U18 Youth Alliance fixture between Carlisle Utd v Walsall played at Creighton Rugby Club. The referee for the game was Cumberland’s very own L4 Callum Black.
Meanwhile, on Sunday 16th April both Northumberland FA referees took turns refereeing 20 minute spells on the Carlisle Utd U13s fixture v South Shields U13s at Frenchfields in Penrith.
Referee Development Officers (RDOs) from Cumberland and Northumberland were on hand over the weekend to offer advice and support to the referees.
After the U18s game on the Saturday all three match officials were invited to Brunton Park to watch the Carlisle Utd v Northampton Town game as guests of the club.
The referee for the game was Rebecca Welch from Durham FA, and she took time afterwards to talk and pose for a picture.
Also at the game was ex-Premier League Referee Mike Dean who kindly agreed to a photo opportunity as well.
On the Saturday night, members of the Cumberland FA County CORE Group of referees joined up with the Northumberland FA referees for pizza and ten-pin bowling
A return exchange weekend over in Newcastle is being planned for next season around October.
Scott Taylor, Cumberland FA Referee Development Officer, said: “This was a fantastic weekend and fun was had by all who got involved, especially the two referees Ross and Tom from Northumberland FA. Both lads are part of their County CORE Group in the North East and so it was great to get a few of our own County CORE Group referees out over the weekend to support them.
"My NFA RDO colleague Matt Sowerby and I have had this idea for a while now and it was nice to finally get it off the ground and put it into practice. We intend doing the reverse exchange early next season, probably during the international break in October. I must say a huge thanks to Carlisle United for allowing us the freedom to appoint Northumberland FA officials to their games over this weekend, and a particular thank you to Louise in the ticket office for granting the guest tickets for the Northampton game.
"This was yet another example of the excellent relationship the CFA has with Carlisle United. ”