CHAIRMAN – Rhys Mclachlan
Rhys Mclachlan is a 20 year old Management student at Waikato University. Away from his studies he is heavily involved in hockey: as a player, a rep coach, a Premier grade umpire and Co-Chairman of the local Umpires Association.
Rhys’ involvement in umpiring began when he was in Year 7 and continued through his years at Hamilton Boys High.
A quietly efficient umpiring demeanor has helped Rhys’s umpiring progress to prosper when controlling club or rep games.
Recently he umpired at the National U18 Boys tournament, including officiating in the final, the culmination of a satisfying week.
Reflecting on the week, Rhys commented, “I enjoyed the tournament dynamics and the challenges the week offered.”
Louisa Balsom recently umpired at the girls’ U18 Regional tournament. It obviously went well for her as she was appointed to umpire the final. For Louisa, it was the successful culmination of umpiring at a higher level tournament.
Tournament umpiring had begun some years ago with appointments at Collier and Hatch development tournaments, U15 girls and then U18s. Along with these appointments, Luisa has served her umpiring apprenticeship ‘whistling’ primary and secondary level and men’s and women’s club games.
Reflecting on her recent U18 tournament, Louisa noted the step up for umpires on issues of preparation, fitness and expectation.
A big focus was having “no surpirses” while umpiring. It meant that players should be confident of the calls we were going to make, rather than being confused.
“Fitness is a big part of tournament umpiring with the need to be ‘mentally and physically capable’ each day. In addition, we had radios so umpires could communicate. It helps in high pressure situations when co-umpires can assist you if you are unsighted.”
“Finally the U18 Tournament has motivated me to work hard to achieve my umpiring goals. It has given me the drive to continue and to enjoy it. That’s the reason I do what I do.”
Caleb is a senior student and a 1st XI player at St John’s College. He is also responsible for appointing umpires for Thursday’s 6 aside competition and all the Club Hockey on Sundays. Besides controlling the Thursday and Sundays appointments Caleb regularly umpires several games in each of those competitions. He has a challenging role especially when sickness or injury suddenly makes an appointed umpire unavailable.
Congratulations to Caleb on filling such an important role so enthusiastically and effectively.
– Bruce Rosemergy, May 2017
Our featured umpire this month is Julena Phillips a local player and now Waikato’s top-ranked women’s umpire. Julena is very much a Waikato hockey product and personality. Both her parents were local hockey enthusiasts and their interest was contagious for Julena and her brother Jimmy, encouraging them through their school years and through into premier club hockey. But it is in umpiring where Julena has really made her mark.
“Mum encouraged me to an umpire. Even though she isn’t with us any more I still think of her each time I take the pitch, whether it be for club game or international.”
Julena’s extensive playing background served her well as she progressed through umpiring. Being athletic and an experienced player she transitioned successfully to umpiring, excelling when officiating on the premier club and Masters Hockey fixtures. Her performances were noticed and duly rewarded. Besides receiving significant game appointments locally Julena was identified as Waikato Hockey’s leading female umpire. Away from Hamilton, Julena has had some notable appointments including, international fixtures and the finals of Masters Tournaments in New Zealand, Rotterdam and Canberra. Julena notes that it has not been without effort. She said, “Passion, hard work, determination and perseverance are essentials to make your umpiring dream come true.” “Interpreting rules and applying them to games takes a lot of work and dedication. And at times it also takes a thick skin to cope with the occasions you are told you’re wrong, even when you know you are right.” Despite the demands on her, Julena says it has all been worth the effort. Whether the games be club hockey at Gallagher HC, NHL fixtures, international hockey matches around New Zealand or even Masters World Cup games abroad, umpiring remains challenging and rewarding.