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Umpires at Netball NZ U19 Champs

Umpires are an integral part of Netball New Zealand National Tournaments. This year we have 16 umpires at the Netball NZ U19 Champs from around the country.

These umpires have a range of experience with Ceri Hills and Amelia Wheeler at both ends of the continuum.

Ceri Hills has been umpiring national tournaments for the last 7-8 years. Her extensive experience at these tournaments has allowed her to build an accomplished repertoire. She started umpiring during her secondary school years when no one else wanted to take that responsibility and since then she has fallen in love with the job and continues to want to grow her expertise through attending national tournaments such as the Netball NZ U19 Champs.

Amelia Wheeler is from Netball Central and has been umpiring since she was in Year 8. Though she has umpired at Netball NZ U17 Champs, this is her first time at the Netball NZ U19 Champs. From warm-up techniques to things to do the night before a game, Weller has learnt a lot from the more experienced umpires. She says that the umpires are “totally a family, we have family dinners and do karaoke in the van on the way here in the morning, it’s really lovely.”

Hills and Wheeler had a chat with Netball New Zealand today to give a bit of insight into the umpires here at Netball NZ U19 Champs.

How has the 2018 Netball NZ U19 Champs been so far for you?

Hills: It’s been great! There are lots of young exciting players who bring something different to the game each year, there are so many different styles. I’ve really enjoyed the games so far.

Wheeler: I’ve really enjoyed it so far. This is my first time at U19s or at a high development tournament like this so it’s quite exciting just learning about everything from the draw structure to the high performance pathway.

What are you looking forward to at the Netball NZ U19 Champs?

Hills: It’s really nice to see these younger girls go through and go to the next level of their game and then to see them in a couple years. If I’m watching a netball game and I see someone I’ve umpired before, it’s like ‘oh yeah I remember you’ or ‘I saw her once upon a time.’ So, it’s nice to see that they’ve been able to carry on.

Wheeler: I’m just looking forward to making connections with different umpires and just the mere experience of umpiring at this level.

What has been your favourite tournament so far?

Hills: Probably one of the older tournaments when we used to have under 19 and 21 combined, a real mix up of styles of game. The younger, more free-flowing style of game and then the older players, which was included U23 at one stage, and it was really competitive, the nitty gritty stuff.

Wheeler: This tournament has been the best tournament so far!

What has been the best moment in your umpiring career so far?

Hills: I did the nz secondary schools finals a couple years ago. It was really nerve-racking and you’ve got to do one before you understand what it actually feels like. It was a really one-sided game so the pressure was sort of off the umpires because we weren’t making critical calls but it’s an experience that you have to live through to really appreciate the gravity of it and get that sense of achievement.

Wheeler: The best moment I’ve had so far was when my coach decided to chuck me in the deep end and umpire part of a Silver Ferns training match. It was the best but most scary thing. I just learnt to have fun with it!

What is the best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to umpire?

Hills: Make sure you enjoy it. Make sure you have a sense of achievement. Make sure you have various reasons why you do. Don’t do it to please someone else but do it for your own personal reasons.

Wheeler: The best piece of advice for advice I have for someone wanting to umpire is just to go for it. Umpiring has its ups and downs but it’s so rewarding in the end!

For more information about umpiring in New Zealand click here