Umpire's goal is to control trans-Tasman games
Georgina Bell is a young Southland netball umpire who dreams of making it all the way to the top in the sport she loves.
The 16-year-old Southland Girls' High School student took up umpiring only three years ago, but has made rapid progress, as was illustrated at Netball New Zealand's recent national development camp in Cambridge.
Bell was one of 16 secondary school umpires from around the country to attend the five-day camp and impressed the coaches and organisers - winning the on and off the court all-rounder award.
Bell's Southland Girls' High schoolmate, Gracey Farquharson, and Blue Mountain College's Ashleigh White also attended the umpires camp.
Bell, who is a zone award holder, umpired in Invercargill Netball Centre games this winter, while getting her first taste of the Thursday night Southland-wide netball league.
Her promise was also recognised at the South Island secondary school netball tournament in Dunedin, where she controlled A-grade games all week.
On the finals day of the tournament, she officiated the B grade third and fourth playoff game between Menzies College and Christchurch's Cashmere High School.
This season, Bell juggled her umpiring commitments while playing for the Southland Girls' senior B team. She also helped out, coaching the Southland Girls' year 10 Blue team, who finished third in their grade.
Umpiring is Bell's passion, though, and she admitted her ambition was to one day follow in the footsteps of elite Southland umpires Bobbi Brown, Jono Bredin, Kristie Simpson and Alison Cormack, and control games in the trans-Tasman netball league.
"Definitely that's my long-term goal. I'd love to gain my international award and umpire in the ANZ Championship," she said. "That's my big goal."
Match official co-ordinator and longtime Southland netball umpire Colleen Bond said Bell was a special talent and had made strong strides this year.
"Georgina is a really promising umpire," Bond said. "She's really developed this year.
"We took her away to South Island secondary schools this year and she performed creditably. Her umpiring standard is very good."
She said Bell's knowledge of the rules was exceptional and that she had a great temperament under pressure.
"She's got a really lovely manner on the court and a really nice understanding of the game," Bond said. "She controls the game really well."
Bell is hoping to gain her New Zealand level theory next year, which will enable her to take the next step forward with her umpiring.
- The Southland Times