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June 21, 2024 12:57 AM

Building the Umpiring Ranks

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Claire Howe and Georgia Haines with some of the trainee umpires currently learning the skill at Singleton Netball Association.

While some sporting bodies struggle to find game officials, Singleton Netball Association is successfully building its ranks through its umpire clinics.

Currently 40 young players are building their skills and umpire knowledge and clinic coordinator Claire Howe said the number of players attending the weekly clinics was a good indication the girls were enjoying it.

Ask them if they like it and they will say no, they love it.

“It is a way that young players can have an opportunity to learn how to umpire,” Claire said.

The program is partly sponsored by Glencore and goes towards shirts and equipment for the trainee umpires.

Claire was one of eight badged umpires from Singleton to officiate at the recent State Senior and Junior Championships.

Caleigh Gorlick, Georgia Haines, Jess Borg and Emily Bishop attended the State Championships while Claire Howe, Lili Arnold, Mykaela Knight and Lluka Moffitt attended the junior competition.

Both events are held over three days with each umpire allocated between 16 and 20 games over the three days.

It was the first time Georgia Haines put her hand up for State.  Georgia said while she was extremely daunted by the task ahead, she enjoyed every moment.

The C grade badged umpire has officiated at many representative carnivals in the past but said the three day commitment and opportunity to learn from other, more experienced umpires, added to her knowledge and ability.

Meanwhile Claire always wanted to be an umpire and has been an authority behind the whistle for nine years.  She first umpired at this sports biggest competition in 2019.

This year Claire also assisted coaching Under 15s side at the State Titles.

She is a regular to put her hand up for regional league competitions as well as association games.

Singleton Netball Association divided the competition last year with senior games played on Monday night instead of the traditional Saturday.

Association president Alex Bailey said the committee was about to survey the members to see if they would like to see the games remain on Monday nights or return to the traditional Saturday.

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