RUGBY league has taken another step towards development within the county, with a new officiating course being introduced.
The newly-formed Gloucestershire Rugby League Match Officials Society are launching a beginners programme taking place on Sunday, February 4 at the University of Gloucestershire's Oxstalls campus in the hope of further developing the sport.
They have been approved by the Rugby Football League in readiness for matches at schools, academies and community levels.
Inaugural chairman Melvin Bettridge believes emphasising the sport for newcomers is important, while also encouraging enjoyment within the process.
"The key point to emphasise is that the course is very much for those new to the sport of rugby league whether they already officiate in other sports or indeed not at all," Bettridge said.
"The emphasis will be on clear instruction and enjoyment and ensuring all those who take part feel confident in taking the first steps along the road to refereeing or touch judging at the level they are comfortable with."
A new annual award is also being considered, named after and honouring referee William McCutcheon who was a Wales international union player before switching codes.
McCutcheon, who went on to play for Oldham Rugby League club, was the man in charge of the famous game in which New Zealand won 8-5 against a Great Britain side.
For more information about the course email Melvin Bettridge at ref@mad mel.co.uk.