He apparently had been refing 1st class fixtures since 1983, and in that time had controlled 173 games. Of course he would have whistled many other games along the way, maybe even an All Blacks in-house game or two.
I bother to write this for two reasons: Firstly (and most importantly) Mr. Hawke has for many years been the best New Zealand Referee. The second reason is that I once wrote about a complete plonkers retirement (Derek Bevan), so I think that I should notice the retirement of a good'un!
Big Col originated from Canterbury, Timaru to be more precise. This may not appear to be important, but being born in Canterbury (or in the South Island in general) and being involved in Rugby - one would naturally expect him to be rather good!
We have mentioned before that the good people of Timaru divide their loyalties between Canty and Otago. And although I don't know where he stands, there is many an Otago supporter who would state that Big Col is definately not an Otago supporter!
For Mr. Hawke has not endeared himself to the hearts of the Blue and Gold contingent, due to a couple of "dodgy" try decisions. They seemed pretty fair calls at the time, but the effect on games and the subsquent video replays have resulted in a decidedly unfair dislike for him refing Otago games.
Well in the spirit of Rugbyheads I invite you to comment on the tries and games in question. Since it didn't hurt the R&Bs, I can't say I have a clear recollection of them. Please refresh my memory.
I only recall of one shocker, and that was a game at the last World cup. Not a great event for anyone from NZ as it turned out.
But what I remember about him is that he was a very fair referee, who did things so well that I usually didn't have much to write about him. It's always easier to pick the things you don't like about a ref, much harder to identify the traits that make them excellent.
So I will have to leave it at that. Big Col... a mighty fine Referee who will be sorely missed in this years Super 12!