North Devon Gazette Football League does well at this year’s Devon FA refereeing awards

Tony Cloak (right) on behalf of the NDGFL, with Devon FA's John Hockin. PHOTO: www.miraclepr.comTony Cloak (right) on behalf of the NDGFL, with Devon FA's John Hockin. PHOTO: www.miraclepr.com

THE North Devon Gazette Football League has won the Thatchers League Award at the Devon FA referee awards for its work with referees.

Bideford’s Ben Chance picked up the Thatchers Young Referee of the Year Award and the Duncan Underhill Award for his work in the league, having turned his back on a promising playing career as a goalkeeper to commit full time to refereeing.

Ben’s proud mum said: “He has been studying for his A levels and achieved his goal of gaining double promotion to level five, and now working towards his level four.

“Ben is a great lad with a great personality and I think the one thing that we find quite amusing is the only answer he gives to anybody that asks him the question ‘what job would you like in the future?’ is always Howard Webb’s’ - and he’s serious, there’s no doubt about it.

“Ben has had a fantastic mentor in Tony Cloak who we cannot thank enough for all of his hard work and support.”

Devon FA referee development officer Jason Haywood praised the hard work of league secretary Mick Tattersall in driving young referees into good careers.

70 referees gathered for the awards ceremony in Exeter this week, which has carried on despite the national sponsor for the FA referee awards dropping out this year.

Mr Haywood said: “It was fantastic to make those referees feel valued and also to celebrate the achievements of those that have made a real difference to refereeing over the last 12 months.”