Award caps off another busy year

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Saturdays are busy enough for netball umpire Kristie Simpson at the moment with break fences to shift, sons to take to rugby and netball games to referee.

In the mix add an award to collect.

At the ILT Southland Sports Awards on Friday the Netball Eastern Southland umpire received the Creation Signs official of the year award for the third time, following successes in 2015-16 and 2018-19.

Simpson said it was exciting to receive the award.

“It’s been a busy year so it’s really cool to be recognised for such a great year,” Simpson said.

One of the highlights had been umpiring a New Zealand versus Australia test match.

“The only reason I could do it was because of Covid and we couldn’t get any [neutral] umpires in.

“That’s one of the things I would never have been able to achieve but have been fortunate to be able to do which is really cool.”

Her enjoyment of the game kept her involved.

“I do it because I love netball.

“It’s a challenge and it’s great to be involved in a game I enjoy.”

It was the 35-year-old’s 12th season umpiring in the ANZ championship but she started umpiring early on.

“I’ve been officialling since way before that, since I was about 10 or 11, so a few years.”

Her enthusiasm for umpiring had changed over the years but was still just as strong.

“You evolve as a person and your game evolves, too.

“There’s still different things I want to achieve.”

Simpson farms with husband Logan and two sons, Mannix (10) and Baxter (7), at Waimahaka.

“It’s pretty crazy some days but we like it that way.

“You’ve got to make the most of life.

“You only get one shot at it.”

Eastern Southland Netball umpiring co-ordinator Alison Cormack said it was “fantastic” Simpson had been recognised.

“Everyone in Eastern Southland appreciates Kristie coming back to umpire in the premier games,” Cormack said.