Cooma celebrates umpires

The Cooma netball community have cause for celebration this week after four umpires made history by being the first National ‘C’ Badges to be tested at the Association’s home courts.

Lisa Gibb, Dianne Hobb, Robyn Lunt and Belinda Tozer were all awarded their ‘C’ Badges following testing during Cooma’s summer night competition last Monday 25 November, and take the small Association’s total tally of badged umpires to six.

Their newly badged umpires wasn’t the only event celebrated by the Association, with it also being the first time Cooma umpires Lara Hansford and Michelle Miller were involved in the testing process.

Hansford, who also acts as the Association’s Umpires Convenor, said it was a very exciting time for the small Association of 99* registered members.

“I’m thrilled for the four umpires that they have been awarded their ‘C’ Badges, it’s very exciting and it haslit the fire for other umpires to strive to also get badged,” Hansford said.

The journey to Cooma’s first badging started in January of this year, when Hansford joined the Association and recognised the potential to up-skill the local officials in white.

It was while Hansford met Netball NSW Umpire and Officials Coordinator Jan Simpson when Netball NSW visited the South Coast region that the small idea began to grow.

“Jan was fantastic; she really sowed the seed about how we could go about up-skilling our umpires to get them badged, who could then pass on their knowledge to our juniors.  From there we identified 10 umpires as potential ‘C’ Badges and continued to mentor and work with them,” Hansford explained.

“We still have six umpires on their ‘C’ Badge pathway, while the four who were recently badged have agreed to work with our younger umpires to help mentor them.  It’s a small idea, but with more people gaining more skills and giving back to the community, our umpires will get better and better.”

“I have always said that if you don’t have an umpire that can umpire, then you don’t have a game.  It’s not just the players that we want representing Cooma at Rep Carnivals or State Age Championships, but also our umpires flying the flag.”

“Now that we have taken the first steps, it’s like a domino effect.  I’m so excited to see what the next 12 months and beyond will bring!” Hansford concluded.

Association President Amanda Steinke echoed Hansford’s comments, saying one small idea has turned into a very successful strategy which would have long term benefits for Cooma Netball Association

“Receiving their ‘C’ Badges has really increased the ladies confidence and has rubbed off on the other umpires.  They all turned up to night comp this week in their whites, looking terrific, and all want to strive to be better,” Steinke said.

“I want to thank Jan Simpson for her help in turning a small idea into this long-term strategy, and also to Nicole Bowles (Netball NSW Regional Development Manager) who was more than happy to come assist us when we called for help.”

“There are some exciting times ahead; it’s been a great experience for the umpires officiating our night comp to learn from these badged umpires and I’m hoping that will flow on to our Winter comp starting in March next year,” Steinke concluded.

Congratulations to Lisa Gibb, Dianne Hobb, Robyn Lunt and Belinda Tozer, and to the wider Cooma Netball Association community, on your achievements and best of luck for 2014!

If you would like assistance with your Association’s badging process, or require more information, please contact Jan Simpson at the Netball NSW office on 02 9951 5000 or email