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Bell steals the show at Referee Awards Dinner

Sunday, August 13, 2017
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At last night’s 2017 Bay of Plenty Rugby Referees Awards Dinner, Jamie Bell, fresh from controlling the Premier 1 final between Mount Maunganui and Rotoiti two weeks ago has taken away the two top on field awards, the Lawrence Award for Best Premier Referee as voted by the Premier Team Coaches and the Martin Teo Shield for the Best Referee as voted by the Referee Coaches.

Winning these two awards caps off a stellar season for Bell has been selected by New Zealand Rugby’s Referee High Performance Department into the Wider Training Group. In only his sixth season as a referee, Bell, a former Arataki Premier halfback has excelled since swapping his mouth guard for a whistle. Known as a casual and laid back referee who likes to let the games flow, Bell’s performances put him on New Zealand Rugby’s radar late last year and his continued growth have confirmed his selection this season.

Bell was unable to attend the awards as he was in Auckland at a New Zealand Rugby Training Camp for Match Officials who have been selected for this year’s Mitre 10 Jock Hobbs National Under 19’s tournament in Taupo in September. He comments, “I’m extremely thankful for the opportunities I’ve received this year and wish to thank my family for all their love and support, especially my partner Renee. Also a huge thanks to my fellow Premier Squad referees who have supported me in my journey so far.”

Mount Maunganui Premier coach Rodney Voullaire comments, “The level of refereeing has been the best level of refereeing in the Eastern, Western and Central areas that I have seen over the past six years that I have been coaching. Jamie Bell is definitely one of the best personable referees that know how to communicate to not only the players but to us coaches on how he wants to see the game run. He understands what the teams are trying to achieve, which is a fair and safe game played hard and fast and to keep the game flowing for our spectators to enjoy.”

A new award was initiated this year following the passing of Bill Sparks last year. Bill was a life member of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and a long serving member of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Referees. The award is for the Best Assistant Referee in Premier Rugby, as voted by the Premier Referees. His son Ben Sparks was on hand to present the new award, to first year referee Cameron Russell.

A full list of the awards are:

1. Lawrence Award Best Premier Referee as voted by the Premier Team Coaches – Jamie Bell
2. Martin Teo Shield Best Referee as voted by the Referee Coaches – Jamie Bell
3. Bill Sparks Memorial Award for best Assistant Referee as voted by the Premier Referees – Cameron Russell
4. Presidents Trophy for outstanding contribution to refereeing services – Ian Crowe
5. Allan Oates Memorial for best referee coach as voted by all referees – Joh Donnelly and Pat Rae
6. John Cormick Trophy for most improved referee – Nick Burton
7. Fahy Trophy for most improved referee up to Division 1 – Ifi Seumanutafa
8. George Woodroffe Trophy for the highest law exam pass – Cameron Russell and Ryan Waite
9. Dave Edwards Trophy for most improved First Year referee – Peter Morgan

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