The HOT Spot

I promised myself I would never write about officials, but hey, rules are made to be broken and it’s blistering in the hot seat this summer - and I am not talking about squash.

Who would like to be in the shoes of Ted Watts, the umpire in charge of Venus Williams' last match at Wimbledon this year?

The poor guy made a mistake; yip a hanging offence, an official got it wrong. The whole world got to hear about it on the television that night and in the tabloids the next day.

I don’t envy him. He added a point to Karolina Sprem's score during the second set tie breaker, which the Williams girl lost, and the match with it.

A moment of summer madness, perhaps the heat of the British summer got to him. Did Venus lose because of that one point?


Dare I mention football? Do I hear “we was robbed” ???
Ok I am not of pure English blood (red, blue and white),
but I did support the Team (in an untypical Scottish fashion).

You must have heard of Urs Meier from Switzerland, the referee in the England v Portugal quarter-final.

Did he make a mistake? He disallowed what appeared at the time, to all English supporters, to be a goal by Sol Campbell.
The referee was there, on the spot, made his decision and stuck by it!

This is a guy at the pinnacle of his career and we the spectator / viewer can, with televised replays, form
and give opinions.

It has to make you laugh.

Both sets of officials, tennis and football, are professionals and earn decent money. They work hard at their trade and normally perform to exceptionally high standards.

Why do we, the public, with hindsight, have all the answers,
have all the correct decisions at our fingertips or at the end of big mouths with lashing tongues?

But I guess I cannot put all the blame on the poor spectators.
It has been known for managers to lose their cool…

You don’t believe me, shall I whisper Sir Clive Woodward?

Yes you have it now; it was only last month, when the Rugby World Champions faced the All Blacks down under in the second test.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion of Simon Shaw’s dismissal, which effectively decided the contest thereafter, but there are only two facts: his brain-dead kneeing of the prone Robinson put him in a position to be judged; the decision by touch judge Stuart Dickinson was to remove him from the match.

OK, Woodward had perceived the decision to be a poor one, but it so jaundiced his view on everything that he "rambled on in the press conference like a madman".

He clearly wasn't happy with Dickinson's competency, and he was sure the official had been influenced both by the crowd and the TV replay screen.

And we have the audacity to wonder why we are called winging Poms. Perhaps we take our sport too seriously ...

At this point I could move over to cricket. But to be honest,
I don’t have the nerve.


Ok it has to be done.
Let’s wander over to the squash referee.

He/she has to cope with difficult situations which occur in small areas, the occurrence happens within the blinking of an eye, and normally the referee is anything up to 60 feet away!

I have no idea of the speed of a football, but I am aware that some tennis balls fly around at speeds in the 150mph mark.

Look at John White; a few of the guys were messing around on court at Canary Wharf and check out the speedometer … 172 mph. Even Ong is impressed

Another matter which should be taken into account; most referees are situated next to Mr. Know-It-All. You all know him/her, the one with the loudest voice in a crowd or the one with a few beers in the belly. It’s a tough enough job without the shenanigans going on around you as well.

At least the other referees I have mentioned have distance between them and the paying public.

I have no intention of getting into a debate over squash referees. Neither do I wish to appear to be playing the worn out violin. I guess the point is to draw your attention to some of the other details which, during the heat of the season, somehow slip unnoticed or are never considered.

Although most matches are now played in the spirit of the game, all referees have officiated in at least one match that we would wish to forget.

Squash referees are human and from this we have to assume that discrepancies may and do arise. However, we assess each situation and handle it to the best of our ability.

I would like to hear from the player (non qualified referee of course) who has refereed many matches and got every decision correct.

His award is waiting; the throne is vacant at present.


Linda Davie

Linda was a long-time member of the Board of England Squash, a National Grade referee, and has been Tournament Referee at many of the UK's top tournaments in recent years.

She is also heavily involved with the junior circuit,
at home and abroad.

"I am one of the many thousand of volunteers
 in this game.

Asking no favours just
 enjoying my sport where
and when I can."


“Football is not a matter
of life or death. It is much
more serious than that.”
Bill Shankley




Simon Shaw


Whinging Poms
The New Zealand Press are not impressed with Sir Clive ...






We want to see the ball