It isn’t just netball players who dream of representing their country at the highest level, with our friends in white also aspiring to be selected to oversee international matches featuring some of the best netballing talent in the world.
Four New South Wales umpires have done just that after being selected to officiate at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which commences with the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday 23 July.
Rachael Ayre (Sutherland Shire), Clare McCabe (Eastwood Ryde), Michelle Phippard (Manly-Warringah/Netball Victoria) and 11-time Netball Australia Umpire of the Year Sharon Kelly (Northern Suburbs) will jet off to the UK next week to begin preparations ahead of the two-week international tournament.
The four New South Welshmen join Aussie colleague Joshua Bowring as the largest contingent of umpires from a single country appointed to the tournament. The five Australians make up nearly half of the 14 international umpires named for the 11-day competition which gets underway at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) on July 24 between Malawi and Northern Ireland.
While the others have known of their appointment since October last year, McCabe only received an invitation to the Games last week after originally being on the Reserves List. Despite the late call-up, McCabe was only too happy to confirm her attendance at one of the biggest international sporting events this year.
“I’m really excited and really honoured to be selected to officiate at the Games – the opportunity is just amazing so I’m really looking forward to it,” McCabe said.
“I only received the call last week and I didn’t ask any questions – I just said yes! It’s really exciting and can’t wait to get over there.”
The tournament will also see Kelly officiate her fifth Commonwealth Games, appearing at every Games since netball’s inception in 2008, while it will be Phippard’s third and Ayre’s second appearance at the Games; Bowring and McCabe will be making their debuts in Scotland.
The five Aussies will join their international counterparts late next week for the official International Umpires Commonwealth Games preparation camp, before joining the Australian Commonwealth Games Team for the opening ceremony.
Netball NSW would like to congratulate Rachael Ayre, Clare McCabe, Michelle Phippard and Sharon Kelly, as well as Josh Bowring, on their appointments and wish them the best of luck at the Commonwealth Games.
2014 Commonwealth Games – Netball Umpires
Rachael Ayre – Australia
Joshua Bowring – Australia
Jonathon Bredin – New Zealand
Gary Burgess – England
Ian Fuller – England
Dalton Hinds – Jamaica
Sharon Kelly – Australia
Clare McCabe – Australia
Yvonne Morgan – New Zealand
Terrence Peart – Jamaica
Michelle Phippard – Australia
Theresa Prince – South Africa
Tracey Smith – England
Marie-Louw Van der Merwe – South Africa
Jury of Appeal:
Janet Wrighton – England
Tina Browne – Cook Islands
Umpire Appointments Panel:
Yvette Smith – Jamaica
Carolene Logan – Scotland
David Pala’amo – New Zealand