Interview with Laura Lovett   22/03/2018

On the last Premier League match of the season, Laura Lovett passed her A Grade umpire assessment following a successful pass in the written assessment earlier on in the season.  Yesterday at the Netball NI Schools Finals day at Lisburn Racquets Club, we managed to catch up with Laura in between sixteen matches and a spectator record of 1,200 people which has never been as high for any sports event at Lisburn Racquets Club. 

How did you get into umpiring?

I started coaching in Belfast Ladies junior club and also became the U19 NI team manager and wanted to widen my skill set in order to help the players develop their skills and knowledge. I was very lucky that I had Sonya Thomson as a friend and fellow club player who encouraged me with every step and put so much time into my progression.

What has been your umpiring journey to date?

I gained my C badge in June 2015, B in February 2017 and A in March 2018. Throughout this time I have umpired various club and university matches including the Student Sport Ireland University final as well as match play for our national teams including Open v Republic, U21 v British Unis and U17 v British Unis.

What do you most enjoy about umpiring?

I enjoy seeing this game flow and the players participate and enjoy a well contested match. I enjoy testing my skills and knowledge to the highest level and improving with practice. It's also fulfilling to see how players develop through the correct application of the rules and appreciating the game better.

How has umpiring helped develop you as a player, coach and in life?

Being an umpire has helped me greatly as a coach and player it's given me a solid foundation of knowledge regarding the rules and protocols. Although i had played for many years before becoming an umpire it amazes me how much i didn't fully understand the rules and it is clear to see this is still the case for many players. Personally it has helped my self confidence and belief that I can achieve the goals I set for myself.

What would say to anyone thinking of getting into umpiring?

Go for it. Being an umpire brings a different perspective to the game and it's a great feeling being involved in a closely contested match.

What’s next for you in your umpiring journey?

At present I'm awaiting news if the U17 Netball Europe tournament will be rearranged so I can begin my pathway towards international umpiring. Otherwise I hope to be involved with the Shield Finals day and the upcoming national programmes including the U21's for whom I am a squad umpire.

Many congratulations to Laura from all of us at Netball NI, we look forward to supporting you further in your umpiring journey and would like to thank you for giving up your time for an interview at a very busy Schools Finals day.