Referee By Royal Appointment

It has been a right Royal month for one of the world’s top referees Alhambra Nievas.

She refereed the Copa del Rey Final (The Kings Cup) in front of  a passionate 21,000 crowd in Vallodolid, where UE Santaboian beat Silver storm El Salavador 16-6 in a match where the rain in Spain fell not mainly on the plain, but mainly and by the bucket load on Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

There was virtually no mention of Alhambra’s refereeing performance in any of the newspaper reports of the match, which is just the way she likes it.

“No news good news” she often tells me, meaning if she does not get a mention in match reports, then done her job has gone well, and as an ex international player she knows  that the players are the main protagonists in our great game.

Media coverage inevitably focuses on the fact that she is a woman, and we both share a  common and fervent hope that the day will soon come day when referee announcements will no longer require a gender prefix.

After the kings cup, the only thing could top that experience was to have lunch with the King of Spain himself, which Alhambra duly did.

It seemed entirely appropriate that our own queen of hearts was invited to the royal palace, I just hope she didn’t shout out a crouch, bind, set instruction to His Majesty  when it was time to eat.

Alhambra’s schedule is non stop and with airports awaiting and rugby matters to attend to, after a brief period of family time, she will be off to Canada and France to referee in the final two legs of the womens world series sevens.

Then it’s back home prepare for this summers big event, the Womens rugby world cup taking place in Ireland throughout August.

There will be world cup warm up games to officiate, followed by a month in Ireland for the tournament itself, where she has promised to buy me a guinness somwhere along the way.

This humble friendly and personable young woman will go about her business in her usual modest and charming manner, leaving the limelight to others whilst spreading the gospel of our great game and its values.

No news good news” ?  When Alhambra is refereeing your match it is definately good news.

Now where’s that Guinness ?







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