This weekend sees the Scottish Thistles, who are ranked 12th in the world, go up against world number 14 Samoa in a two-match Test Series in Perth, Scotland. English International Umpires Ian Fuller and Louise Travis will form part of the umpiring team with Welsh International Alison Davies.
Samoa then move on to face the Welsh Dragons, who are ranked 7th in the world, at the National Sports Centre in Cardiff. The umpiring team for this Series will be made up of English International Umpires Jackie Mizon, Louise Travis, Ian Fuller and Kate Stephenson.
England Netball briefly caught up with Ian, Louise and Jackie ahead of their travels.
Louise commented: “I’m really looking forward to umpiring these teams. There will be two totally different styles of play to umpire which will be both exciting and challenging.”
Ian added: “It’s always good to be selected to do any competition. I have never umpired Samoa and am looking forward to the experience that it brings.”
Jackie said: “I can’t wait. The crowds are very passionate and knowledgeable in Wales.”
When asked about any special preparations ahead of the Test Series, Ian said: “For this Series, it’s a hot water bottle! It’s snowing up there [Scotland]! Keeping fit and well and avoiding any coughs and colds at this time of year to make sure you are at 100% for your match is also very important.”
Louise said: “You have to factor in the increased distances and travel time to ensure you get there in plenty of time.”
Jackie added: “Rehearsing your terminology and match protocols is a must. It means that you are autonomous in your delivery.”
Also appointed to the different Series will be English International Umpire Assessors Heather Gleadall and Judith Groves. The role of an Assessor at this level is to provide both assessment and support to ensure the umpires are able to perform to the best of their ability.
Discussing her appointment to the Scotland Series, Heather commented: “I love the role and am always pleased to be appointed by the INF [International Netball Federation]. It has been a very busy few months with appointments to other International Matches and Series and this will also be good preparation for the beginning of the Superleague after Christmas.”
Discussing her appointment to the Wales Series, Judith commented: “I am there to support the International Umpires on what will be a test of two different styles of play on court – it will be interesting!”
Speaking of the appointments, England Netball’s Head of Officiating Gary Burgess said: “This will be a good challenge for the umpires to get their teeth into prior to the holiday break. With the start of the Superleague only a few months away, this will also be great preparation for the umpires all of whom are Superleague Umpires.”
Scotland vs Samoa – Both matches will be hosted at Perth College in Scotland on Saturday 2nd December (3pm) and Sunday 3rd December (1pm).
Wales vs Samoa – Both matches will be hosted at the National Centre Cardiff on Wednesday 5th December and Friday 7th December (7.30pm).