Cornwall RLFC


Tara Jones to Referee Cornwall vs Oldham

April 10, 2024

England and St Helens star Tara Jones will referee the Choughs’ away clash at Oldham on Sunday – John Clifton/SWPix

Tara Jones will make more history this weekend when she becomes the first woman to referee a senior professional Rugby League fixture in the Northern Hemisphere.

Jones, a 28-year-old who is also plays at the highest level for St Helens and England women – and has already secured one place in history having scored the opening try in the first Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley last August – has been appointed to take charge of the Betfred League One fixture between Oldham and Cornwall at Boundary Park on Sunday.

Phil Bentham, the Rugby Football League’s (RFL) head of match officials, said: “Tara has earned this opportunity after years of steady development as a match official through the community game and as a regular touch judge and in-goal judge for professional matches.

“She has received high-profile appointments in a number of competitions, including this season’s Betfred Challenge Cup, and has impressed everyone with the way she has performed – earning the respect of players, coaches and her fellow match officials.”

Bentham also confirmed a number of additions to the match officials department since he joined the RFL full-time from football’s Professional Game Match Officials Limited last month.

Andy Smith, a highly respected and experienced touch judge, has been appointed a new full-time coach in the match officials department, with a focus on touch judges.

Meanwhile three former officials have returned to the sport as match officials reviewers – James Child, Ian Smith and Matt Thomason.

Bentham added: “I am delighted that Andy has joined our department full-time, and that James, Ian and Matt are also back in the team. All four bring a wealth of experience, covering many match officials’ roles, and will provide invaluable feedback and coaching to our officials.”