Referees' Feature - Tom Bevan - No 2 in series

Tom Bevan

Football Referees’ Feature:


Tom’s carrying the Pembrokeshire Flag well in Welsh Football

At the moment Tom Bevan is the only current Pembrokeshire football referee who has reached Level Two status in Welsh Football and so once games start again in The Manderwood Pembrokeshire League it is unlikely that we will see much of the 34 year old from Clarbeston Road officiating local games because most of his matches now revolve around being the man in the middle for fixtures in the JD Cymru South league, which is the second tier of Welsh football.
He is also qualified to be the fourth official in the JD Cymru Premier League, where Haverfordwest County have just begun their season.

Keeping fit in readiness – and 180 days since his last match!

Tom Bevan and Pedr McMullenBut with other matches called off at the end of the last campaign and with semi-professional games understandably slow to restart it has been hard work for Tom, making sure he keeps fit in readiness for when the call eventually comes.
“I refereed my first match of this season recently (Saturday, 12th September) when I took charge of the under 18s game at Landore Training Ground between Swansea City and their counterparts from Exeter, who won 3-0 – and I estimated that it had been exactly 180 days since I had previously blown my whistle when I took charge of the Ammanford versus STM Sports in Llanrumney, Cardiff.”

Mainly good times – but 14 yellow cards in one tussle!

Tom has thoroughly enjoyed his six seasons at this high level but when asked about games he would like to forget then STM Sports would certainly feature as they played against Goytre United.
“There was an edge to the play from the outset and I ended up with 14 yellow cards, ten of them from STM, who have now ceased to function, and I must admit that I didn’t stop for food or a quick drink afterwards!
“But fortunately, games like that are few and far between and overall it is always a pleasure and last season was particularly good because as well as the men’s football I also took charge of women’s senior games involving Swansea and Port Talbot respectively at BP Llandarcy for the former club and the Victoria Ground for the latter.”

Bangs on the head set Tom on the road to taking up the whistle

That went wellTom Bevan, started out in the game as he played for Clarbeston Road as a more than useful goalkeeper until he sustained a couple of head injuries and decided to take up the whistle – and Clarbie’s loss was definitely refereeing’s  gain.
He had actually taken the referee’s course as an eager 14 year old under the guidance of Pedr McMullen, who has trained most of Pembrokeshire’s good football refs over many years, but in the next few years Tom played regularly for Clarbeston Road and for Haverfordwest Youth in the McWhirter League.
Tom played for two seasons of senior football alongside his McWhirter involvement but then had a bang on the head at home against Johnston and another soon afterwards at Tenby – both totally accidental but where he was knocked spark out.
The day after the Tenby match he received a letter from the Football Association of Wales, inviting him to be assistant referee at Newcastle Emlyn for their second round of the FA Cup match against UWIC, and it was at this time he decided he should stop playing, at 23 years of age, and focus on his refereeing.
It was whilst playing in the McWhirter League that he decided it was a good time to start reffing on a more regular basis and joining their list, acting as assistant referee at venues like Carmarthen, Llanelli and Neath.

Family Matters

Ask Tom about family influences on his football and he would be quick to thank his wife Pippa, who is not a fanatical football fan but has given him total support in his involvement and time spent away from home.
“She has been brilliant and we have a daughter Cadi who is approaching two and already being the boss,” he admits with a chuckle!
“Then there’s my dad Huw, who has been my major support in the game after so many years playing for Fishguard Sports and then Clarbeston Road – and my brother Richard is still scoring goals for Clarbie.”
The family’s sporting involvement is continued at the Pembrokeshire Special Needs Gymnastic Club where his mother Yvette is heavily involved on the administration side and his sister Adele is now a coach after joining his other brother Jamie as very good gymnasts who competed successfully in the Special Needs Olympics at Glasgow and Leicester. Jamie also plays football for Clarbie Cleddau Warriors.

Highlights galore already

Back on the refereeing front, Tom quickly caught the eye with his quiet but firm authority and one of the undoubted highlights came when he was chosen to take charge of the West Wales Cup Final at The Liberty Stadium when Team Swansea beat CRC Rangers by 1-0.
Tom was then given the honour of refereeing the 2018-19 Senior Cup Final at The Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium, where Merlins Bridge beat Carew by 2-0 in front of what was a big crowd and as usual he gave a very solid performance where he allowed play to flow but also kept a lid on any potentially explosive moments.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the day, which was made even more special by the number of other referees who turned up for the traditional pre-match meal at The Friars, in Haverfordwest – they were brilliant!”
Another ‘big moment’ came when he was referee of an international match between Wales Girls under 17s and their counterparts from Poland at Carmarthen, although his hopes of a pre-match picture of both teams and officials was damaged when dad Huw, a great Clarbie man, proved he was no photographer by being on the wrong side of the Richmond Park pitch and only able to snap backsides aplenty!
Tom was also fourth official at the FAW Trophy Final between Pontardawe Town and Cefn Albion at Aberystwyth and learned a lot from being on the line there!

Real treat at the Bridge Meadow Stadium

It was also a real treat when Haverfordwest County first team entertained Cardiff City in a pre-season friendly and he joined Alan Boswell as assistants to Brian Hawkins, now the Hon Secretary of the Manderwood’s Pembrokeshire Football League.
“It was great to be involved,” said Tom, “and I learned a few things that day as I ran the line on the far side of the pitch – and right in front of some vociferous Cardiff City fans who engaged in some ‘friendly’ banter whenever I gave a decision against their side!”
“It was a decision I haven’t regretted once,” he told us,” and after being promoted from Level Seven to Level Six last season I was invited by John Gow, the Welsh referees’ supremo, to join the EUFA Development Group for West Wales.

Real enjoyment and great support

Ask Tom about being in the middle and he would be quick to say that he thoroughly enjoys it, although he says there are odd times when having to deal with argumentative players or supporters take the shine off it a bit – but not many.
It’s the same with having to show players a red card – it isn’t what referees like doing but he knows immediately when he will have to show the red card and just gets on with it. A sense of humour certainly helps and Tom clearly has that!
“I am glad I played football first because that certainly helps when being in the middle,” Tom told us – but I would advise anyone not playing and who loves the game to give it a go. There is great camaraderie amongst the officials and some smashing footballers out there it is a pleasure to know and be a ref for.”
 Wait until I tell you to take it