‘Ref-mic’ first for Matchday Live as women’s rugby coverage moves up another notch

MMU 53 Sheffield 5

By Felicity Hitch at Platt Lane

Viewers watching MMU’s Matchday Live coverage of this week’s women’s rugby Cup clash with Sheffield witnessed another first for the livestream, with referee Ben Graveston’s decisions broadcast live.

Mr Graveston, a former Army medic who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other overseas postings, also played for the Royal Army Medical Corps and turned to refereeing when he returned to the UK. A strong supporter of the women’s game, he was keen to develop the livestream coverage of our games from Platt Lane – and brought his own ref-mic.

Watch the whole game live here:

Speaking to Matchday Live he said: “I knew you guys streamed games live, but I had never heard a ref mic before, so I thought about what else we could bring to the game. It’s about everybody being involved and understanding why decisions have been made.

“Hopefully people will get to see the bigger picture of what a referee does on the pitch – why penalties were given, for instance, but also how to manage frustrations on the pitch … they know you’ve seen it and hopefully it won’t happen again.

MMU players Polly Bowman and Georgia McCullough, who both scored two tries.

MMU knocked Sheffield out of the BUCS National Trophy 53-5 with MMU’s Polly Bowman, Georgia McCullough (pictured, above) and Georgia Chang-Evans both scoring two tries. After last week’s defeat to Liverpool, Polly was pleased the team put that behind them.

“We really needed to come out today and put on a good performance, it would have been easy to go into a slump and not play really well. We had a good training session on Monday and we built on that and I’m really proud of the girls.”

Sheffield’s team captain Niamh McNally praised the MMU performance. “Man Met are a strong side. We’ve known this year in and year out – they are really strong. It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t match them in a way that we needed to.”

At the final whistle Mr Graveston (seen in main picture) congratulated both sides on their performance and praised Matchday Live’s women’s rugby streams: “I think it’s super important and I think it’s necessary It’s a necessary thing to do, because I want parity for the women’s game.

“It’s a magnificent spectacle for honesty on the pitch and the purity of rugby. It is transformative. There’s no cynicism and there isn’t a shadow of doubt in my mind that the women’s game is developing exponentially quicker. They’ve managed to get everyone around the table and bring in this world of really competitive rugby.

“There was a time when referees would turn down women’s matches on Sundays. I took a dim view of that, and did them.”