Sports editor Mark Lea’s column: Give praise where it’s due - even to referees...

Referee Louisa Thorold at Bourne Town last week
Referee Louisa Thorold at Bourne Town last week

It’s far too easy to be critical and much more difficult to hand out praise, even when it is richly deserved.

So often it seems that our national sport is moaning.

So last midweek I made absolutely sure that someone got credit for an excellent performance.

Spalding girl Louisa Thorold took charge of the Abbey Lawn game which saw Bourne Town well beaten by Peterborough Sports.

While the home team put in a dreadful display lacking in effort, she was brilliant.

It was tempting to focus on Louisa’s performance in the match report but would that have been fair?

After all, would anyone have noticed a good display by a male referee? Probably not.

Instead I used our Twitter account to praise the young referee who has already won awards and started to rise through the ranks.

The message about her “excellent performance” brought Bourne’s reply of “absolutely agree”.

That was encouraging as too often losing teams can point the finger of blame at officials, although that was never going to be the case here.

There were no complaints from the 69 fans at Abbey Lawn about the referee over any of her decisions. Indeed she made it look easy.

Admittedly the Wakes’ poor performance had to be criticised as well.

Equally the free-scoring displays of Spalding United and Holbeach United so far this season have brought plenty of praise.

I know well from 12 years’ experience in covering the ups and downs of Rushden & 
Diamonds how praise is soon forgotten when you start to dish out some criticism.

There were fantastic times when the club came out of non-League football. But some supporters and 
officials weren’t always so appreciative of the coverage 
when things were going badly.

That’s life I suppose but we should remember to give praise where it’s due – and that even applies to referees as well!