On this Day 6th January 1932

Who'd be a referee?

There have been complaints. And today there is a hearing. The Penzance and Newlyn men are at it again.

One would have thought that the sportsfield – the Rugby Union sportsfield, at that – would have been free from the usual, wearisome disputes. But Mr Baumback, the referee at a recent match, has written in to complain that he has “had to put up with a lot of abuse and threats… it is time it was put a stop to”.

Mr Baumback, a Hayle man, has perhaps only recently become aware of the rivalrous background between the two settlements, which has been sustained for generations and extends well beyond the sports pitch. Whether for this or other reasons, he does not turn up today, January 6th 1932, for the hearing convened to look into his complaint. In his absence, there are counter-accusations from Penzance that he “seemed to be hostile”, that some of his decisions had been “weird”. Penzance is not a disputatious team, insists the spokesman. There has not been a single send-off for seven years. Two committee members fall over themselves to add that Penzance is a “nice team”,  that nobody else heard or saw anything untoward. And in a separate decision a Newlyn man is suspended for a month for disputing a decision with the words “Get away. That wasn’t a try”.

In the end, it is Mr Baumback, the referee, who finds himself censured. Victim of intimidation? Or perhaps just over-sensitive: an unfortunate habit of mind for a referee.


Cornishman January 13th 1932

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Penwith Local History Group
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Growing Up in West Cornwall. A Publication by the Penwith Local History Group

"Growing Up in West Cornwall"

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Sally Corbet

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