Suffolk officials Abi Marriott and Callum Walchester reflect on Wembley appearances

Suffolk officials Abi Marriott, left, and Callum Walchester

Suffolk officials Abi Marriott, left, and Callum Walchester - Credit: Archant

Two Suffolk officials have spoken of their unforgettable experiences as assistant referees at Wembley at the weekend.

Mildenhall’s Abi Marriott was on the line at Saturday’s SSE FA Women’s Cup Final in which Manchester City beat Birmingham City 4-1 in front of a record crowd of 35,271.

The following afternoon, Lowestoft’s Callum Walchester ran the line as Forest Green Rovers stunned Tranmere Rovers in the National League Play-Off Final to win 3-1 and earn promotion to the Football League before 18,801 fans.

Abi, 25, said: “It was by far the best experience I’ve had in football. The noise and atmosphere that the 35,000 spectators created is something I’ll never forget.

“I always anticipated it to be a phenomenal experience, but I didn’t quite come to terms with it until the day.

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“With the kick off being at 5.15pm, I went through the whole day with emotions of nerves and excitement. Thankfully, I managed to keep myself calm and the game went well.

“As I walked up the Wembley steps afterwards to collect my medal I was greeted by my coach, Trevor Pollard, in the crowd - it was great to share that moment with him.

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“He’s given up a massive amount of time and effort for me the last six years and I wouldn’t have made it to the FA Cup Final without him.”

Twenty-four-year-old Callum said: “For me the experience was unforgettable. It is something I have no doubt will stay with me long after my refereeing career has ended.

“I tried not to think about the occasion too much prior to the day as I wanted to prepare for it just like any other game, as ultimately I was there to do a job. But, now, when I look back and remember parts of the day, I am overwhelmed with emotion.

“The memory which will stay with me was post match when I walked up the steps to collect my medal with my colleagues. Whilst there I took a moment, just a second, to think about where I was and the feeling that I felt at that moment will stay with me.”

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