ROY SET TO CLOCK UP HIS GREATEST HONOUR

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Roy Marfleet will be a name known to many rugby players and officials in the region, but he will be hoping to clock up the biggest achievement in his lifetime on Sunday by keeping firmly out of the spotlight.

The Sible Hedingham-based official, who is a former president of Eastern Counties Rugby Union Referees Federation, is gearing up for his role as official timekeeper as Twickenham stages the Rugby World Cup final this weekend.

The 58-year-old will work alongside Welsh referee Nigel Owens to ensure the correct amount of time is played, with the clock having to stop each time there is a break in play, to give both Australia and current holders New Zealand an equal chance of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup from the hands of the RFU’s honorary president, Prince Harry.

And with the attention having already unnecessarily centred on the officials ahead of the all-Southern Hemisphere showdown, with Owens being the first openly gay referee to take charge of a World Cup final, Marfleet will be hoping it’s only the local rugby community and those who already know him that are left talking about his performance.

For the former Mersea Island official, the appointment is just reward for his dedication to facilitating participation in his sport for more than 20 years, having refereed over two decades, while he has been performing timekeeping duties to great effect throughout the tournament. On Saturday he will advise the referee when the clock needs to be stopped, when the man in the middle fails to do so.

President of the Suffolk Rugby Union Referees Society, Trevor White, said: “It is a great honour for Suffolk and North Essex Rugby Referees to have members appointed to officiate at not only the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup, but also the final.

“Roy is a very valuable member of the society over many years and until recently a long standing chairman of the society who has given a lot of his time and effort into the running of the society and the development of officials in the area.

“This appointment is a just reward for all the commitment and energy he has shown over many years to the game.”

Prior to the tournament kicking off last month, Marfleet said: “It’s an honour to be involved in the World Cup.

“You’re talking to the referee throughout the match. You’re miked up and you’ll often have to tell him that the clock must be off. You have to read the game and advise as much as you can.”

Meanwhile, Norfolk referee Andy Watson has been selected as fourth official at Friday’s Bronze Playoff match between losing semi-finalists Argentina and South Africa.