BLANDFORD referee Colin Morris has officiated a national final in his final season as a man in the middle.

The game was between Thomas Telford School (Telford) and Thomas Estley Community College (Leicestershire) and was played at the Madejski Stadium, home of Reading FC.

Morris was awarded the fixture for his long-standing support and commitment to the English Sch-ools’ FA (ESFA).

This is his final season as a referee, having completed more than 600 games in the Dorset Premier League.

Morris has decided the time has come to hang up the whistle and roll up the flag for the last time.

The final was a fitting way to retire at a national event and at such a prestigious stadium.

Morris said: “People often ask me, what was the most memorable game I’ve ever been involved in?

“Sadly, the most memorable games are where events take centre stage over the football – one game in particular – I’ll not name the teams – went along quite happily for around 80 minutes when an accidental clash of heads resulted in a 22 man melee; the result, four straight red cards.

“Once things had calmed down, a spectator ran onto the pitch and punched a player in the face.”

There have been numerous relatively high-profile games and finals for Morris, the most recent being the Dorset Premier League Cup final held at the Bob Lucas Stadium between Portland United and Hamworthy Recreation.

This was the third time he has officiated at this event.

“Will I miss it? Yes,” added Morris. “Will I stay involved in football? Yes.

“My years of experience will be passed onto younger referees that I mentor, and assistant referees that I’ll be assessing in the future.”