Belfast Telegraph

Grandmother banned for rugby rants

A grandmother has been banned from her village rugby club for three months for her frequent touchline tirades.

White-haired Lillian Mort, 74, is regarded as the unacceptable elderly face of community rugby fandom. Bosses of Pyle Rugby Club, near Bridgend, in south Wales, grew so fed up with her loutish behaviour they banned her for three months.

Undeterred the pensioner has refused to give up and has taken to peering at matches through steel railings alongside the field.

Mrs Mort, who claims to be the club's oldest fan, has been a passionate Pyle RFC supporter for more than half a century. While her loyalty may be a cause for admiration, the strong language she hurls at referees and rival players from the touchline is not.

The club itself was fined £50 as a result of one of the pensioner's abusive outbursts at a match referee. Matters came to a head when she was refused the right to spend beer tokens, handed out to players to buy drink, at the clubhouse. Mrs Mort allegedly became so abusive to some members of the club's ruling committee they showed her a red card.

"I feel terrible. I've been going to watch games since I was in my 30s," Mrs Mort told the South Wales Evening Post after receiving the ban. "I am a loyal fan, probably the oldest they've got, and they've kicked me into touch."

She added: "I still go down the club and watch games but I am not allowed on the field. I have to watch through the fencing. I feel like I'm in jail."

Club chairman Clifford Ricketts said the ban was imposed after a number of letters were sent asking her to moderate her behaviour. He said: "A referee's job is already difficult enough without her screaming in your ear. You shouldn't have to put up with that sort of behaviour.

"She is a complete handful and you hear people tutting and shaking their heads at the things she shouts. Whatever decision is made is wrong. We had a £50 fine because she was abusive to a referee in front of his wife and his toddler."

He said when she has served her ban she will be on probation for 12 months. "If anything happens then it will be a ban of six or even 12 months. I would out that to the committee myself to be voted on."


From Belfast Telegraph