Bright future predicted for up-and-coming umpires

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The future of Eastern Netball umpiring is in good hands if the South Island Secondary School tournament week in Nelson is to go by.
Five umpires from the area went last week as part of a team of 12 from Southland, including Keziah McCornick (18) and Morgan Craig
(17).
The two Gore High School pupils were joined by Gabby Knapp (15), of Menzies College, Sandra Horrell
(15), of Blue Mountain College, and Holly Williamson (17), of St Peter’s College.
It has been a busy season for both Keziah and Morgan.
Keziah has had to make a comeback after gall bladder surgery earlier in the year.
‘‘It was a lot to come back from. I was in hospital for 18 days and lost a lot of weight,’’ Keziah said.
Everything was now fine and she was thankful for the support she had received from the Eastern Netball community, including Alison Cormack, Colleen Bond, Anne Reid and Morgan.
She has come back from illness to win the Colleen Bond Award for the best secondary school umpire this year, an award held by Morgan for the previous two years.
‘‘It was really emotional to receive the award after being sick this year,’’ Keziah said.
The illness has meant she has done only the theory of her NZ C endorsements, whereas Morgan completed his by passing his practical at the tournament.
Keziah said she and Morgan were tournament buddies, having been away to the last four SISS tournament weeks together.
Morgan, a year 12 pupil, said to gain his NZ C meant he could umpire at a national level for under-19, under-21 and secondary school tournaments.
Morgan umpired all A grade matches at the tournament and both were selected by a panel of umpires to be referees for the A, B and C grade finals.
For the past two years, they have also been identified out of the 85 umpires as having talent for umpiring.
Both began as netballers, though they are now playing more socially as umpiring has taken priority.
‘‘The best thing is umpiring those really good games, where you have two teams contesting — it makes it enjoyable,’’ Morgan said.
They both said fitness and professionalism were the key elements in making an umpire.
‘‘We don’t usually interact with the teams too much. We keep more to ourselves,’’ Keziah said.
For fitness, Colleen Bond helped by giving fitness programmes.
Netball Southland publicity officer Anne Reid was ecstatic with the young umpires.
Keziah and Morgan would have a big umpiring future if they continued to stick with it, she said.
‘‘They are both outstanding young umpires and people and they have a big future.’’