England Netball is delighted to announce that following an extended period of assessment, Louise Cole (South West), Natalie Gregan (North West) and Farrah Jaura (North West) have been awarded the status of World Netball International Talent Identified Umpires (ITID).
The awarding of the ITID indicates that these umpires have consistently demonstrated the potential to gain the full International Umpires Award (IUA) in the next few years and provides them with additional opportunities to be appointed to matches and tournaments overseas to build their umpiring CVs.
Speaking of her appointment, Louise Cole said: “I’ve really enjoyed being involved in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) this season and to achieve ITID is way above anything I could have imagined.
“I still can’t quite believe it has happened and to achieve this alongside Natalie and Farrah is great!
“The support I have had from those directly involved in the VNSL, from co-umpires, my buddy and assessors, to those who helped me when I first began umpiring locally has been fantastic.
“I must also thank my colleagues for supporting me to give the time to commit to the league and of course my family who have been fabulous!
“I cannot wait for the next step in my umpiring pathway and am really excited about any opportunities that will come with it.”
Farrah Jaura, who works as senior manager for the NHS, said: “It’s an exciting and unexpected achievement this season in light of COVID-19 adaptations.
“I’m always proud to represent both the North West region and England Netball with this status and give thanks to my mentor, the VNSL assessors and my co-umpires for their continued support.”
Natalie Gregan, who returned to elite umpiring this season following a maternity break, said: “I am feeling incredibly proud. Coming back from maternity and straight into VNSL is always daunting but I have been fully supported and empowered to develop my own performance.
“Analysis has played a huge part in my progress this season and I have worked closely with my peers, assessors, and mentor to focus on the aspects of my game that needed greater consistency.
“20 years ago this year, I passed my C award and must thank Pauline Samson who has been a constant support throughout my whole umpiring pathway.
“I would also like to offer my thanks to England Netball for their continued support during my maternity break and when I came back, the assessors for their honesty and professionalism and my family for allowing me the time to continue to be involved in elite sport.”
Gary Burgess, England Netball’s Head of Officiating, said: “I could not be prouder of the girls for their commitment this season, their performances on court and their professionalism away from it. They have flourished in the environment that England Netball has created.
“The increase in video coverage has provided better accessibility for virtual assessment and mentoring, multiple matches in a weekend to tweak performances and being able to watch and gain support from senior umpires in the central venues in Wakefield and at the Copper Box has all contributed the success of these umpires.
“We have also seen a marked increase in the consistency of the wider VNSL umpire pool with some really exciting performances.
“In addition to this announcement, our ‘system’ has actually produced four ITIDs this season with Welsh umpire Rhian Edwards, who is supported by the league, being awarded the status a few weeks ago.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it much heartache for many but the progress and success of these umpires really has brought a silver lining and shows the future of elite umpiring in this country and indeed the wider Europe Netball region is in very safe hands.”
The Vitality Netball Superleague concludes this weekend and we wish those umpires selected to the semi-finals and Grand Final the very best of luck.