Tauranga referee and inaugural Lawrence Medal winner Shane McDermott will blow time on for the opening match of the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup between North Harbour and Counties Manukau at Albany Stadium tonight at 7.35pm.
It has been a great two weeks for McDermott. He controlled the Baywide Premier one club final, then won the newly created Lawrence Medal at last Saturday's Bay of Plenty Rugby Referees awards dinner and is now appointed by New Zealand Rugby to control the opening match.
The Lawrence Medal was named after two stalwarts of Bay refereeing, Keith and his son Bryce Lawrence. The award is voted by the Baywide Premier team coaches on a 5-3-1 basis and McDermott won with 55 points, followed by Jamie Bell on 35 points and in third equal on 29 points Brett Johnson and Mate Samuels.
McDermott caps off his rugby this weekend with the role of television match official for the Steamers opening match against Taranaki at the Tauranga Domain on Saturday, kick off 2.35pm. Nick Briant, fresh from his performances in the men's Rugby Sevens in Rio, will join him running the touch line.
Lawrence Medal third placed referee Brett Johnson is also in action in round one, taking charge of last seasons Championship final replay between Hawkes Bay and Wellington in Napier on Saturday, kick off 5.35pm.