Leading netball official nets sports award

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A Southland netball umpire has been recognised at a regional awards night.

Kristie Simpson, of Tokanui, was named official of the year at the ILT Southland Sports Awards in Invercargill on Friday night.

The awards celebrated the best of Southland sport and performances.

“It’s nice to be recognised for the hard work that you do,” Simpson said.

“It’s pretty cool.”

She attended the awards, held at Ascot Park Hotel, which featured guest speaker Scotty Stevenson.

“It was a great evening.

“They [Sport Southland] did a great job.”

During last year’s netball season, Simpson officiated in the ANZ Premiership, Super Club finals and the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

“That was probably the highlight of the year.”

During the tournament, she umpired several different nations, each with their own style of play.

But it was the one-off, unusual game-play that was the most challenging to deal with.

“A lot of the teams don’t have the same exposure like New Zealand and Australia.

“[They] don’t have the same understanding of the rules.”

Simpson said she enjoyed umpiring because she could”get out there and be part of the game”.

She liked “being able to make it enjoyable for the players”.

Malcolm McKee and Gerry Ward for their services to sport.

McKee was recognised for services to rugby, equestrian and tennis, and Ward for cricket.

Cyclist Tom Scully, who is riding in the Tour de France, was the ILT senior sportsperson of the year.