Singapore slings Matthews international experience

It’s been a big 12 months for one of Australia’s emerging umpires James Matthews.

Matthews officiated at the national 21/U championships on the Sunshine Coast in March – where he umpired the Grand Final between South Australia and Victoria – and was part of the panel for the Australian Netball League.

Next week Matthews, pictured right, will take another significant step in his career when he travels to Singapore to umpire in the Nations Cup, being played between 13-19 December.

Matthews will be joined by Emma Davey and Tara Warner at the Nations Cup, which features six of the International Netball Federation’s developing countries Northern Ireland, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Botswana and Chinese Taipei.

Matthews said the opportunity to gain international experience was invaluable as he looks to continue his progression through Netball Australia’s High Performance Umpire Pathway.

“What Netball Australia has adopted with the pathway system has been very good for all umpires looking to progress and the opportunities it provides us,” Matthews said.

“My involvement in the pathway has definitely been fantastic from my development perspective. I catch up with my mentor (former ANZ Championship umpire) Raechel Richards regularly.

“Raechel not only mentors me from an umpiring perspective but has a holistic approach, making sure that I’m doing the right things off the court to get the best out of myself on the court.

“Ultimately, our involvement in the pathway is about putting ourselves in the best possible positon to be able to get an opportunity to be involved with a tournament like the Nations Cup.”

Matthews, who recently turned 30, has been umpiring for almost a decade and been part of state league competitions in New South Wales and Victoria the last three years.

Having played the game in men’s and mixed competitions, Matthews said he took up umpiring as a way to stay involved in the sport long-term.

Andrea Booth and Hayley Burgess will travel to Hong Kong for the Asian Youth Championship being played between 14-20 December.

Twelve countries will compete at the Asian Youth Championships with the winner to secure a spot in the 2017 World Youth Netball Cup being played in Botswana.

Booth, a former Australian 21/U representative, and Burgess are also part of the Netball Australia Emerging Talent Umpire Program.

Netball Australia congratulates all umpires on their appointments.