VERSATILE Matt Bacon is a genuine all-rounder.
The sporty 39-year-old is a cricketer as well as a football referee and linesman with ambitions to reach the Football League.
“It's nice having more than one sporting love,” says Matt, who during the summer months pulls on his whites for Upper Haugh CC.
“I've been cricketing for about 30 years and I used to play football as well so when I hung up my boots I took up refereeing.”
That decision has seen Matt progress from taking charge of parks matches in the Mexborough Sunday League to the County Senior, Northern Counties East, Northern Premier League and now National League.
“I've been refereeing 18 years but in the last ten years I have had a little bit more backing,” he said.
“If people like you then you get a little bit further up that ladder.”
Matt runs the line in National League North matches and is a fourth official in the National League Premier, one step below the Football League.
His role has taken him to grounds like Chesterfield, York City and match duties at Harrogate Town in the year they got promoted to the Football League for the very first time.
He has also been promoted to the officials list for the Women's Super League — but a big decision is looming.
Matt explained: “I'm refereeing and lining at the moment but next year I have to choose a pathway, either to become a specialist referee or a specialist assistant referee.
“If I go down the assistant route, there is more of a chance to get into the Football League because of course you need two assistants to one ref.
“It is really fine margins in refereeing in the level I'm at. There are something like 350 Level 3s officials in England and they only take about ten through.
“Of course, it would be great to get on the Football League list. You never say never, but I don't think I'll get there as a referee — age wise and fitness wise — but I think I have a chance to get there as an assistant.
“You need to keep yourself reasonably fit and the good thing is there is no age limit any more.”
Despite his ambitions with the flag and the whistle, Matt has no intentions of giving up cricket.
“I always preferred playing cricket to football,” he says.
“I'm not one of those who will jump ship every year. I started cricketing when I was nine and I've only played for two clubs. Kilnhurst were my first and I've been at Upper Haugh five years.
“Being at Upper Haugh now, that might be it for me. I think I might retire there.
“I'm still batting and bowling at the minute and I intend carrying on as long as my body allows me to!”