Youngest umpire not scared, just excited

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When Gracey Farquaharson got the call last year to say she had been chosen for the Netball New Zealand national umpire squad, she was studying for her university law exams.

“It was the best moment to happen right in the middle of studying,” Farquaharson said.

“I had to try contain my excitement while focusing on finishing my exams.”

At 21, Farquaharson is the youngest person in the 16-member squad, but her age does not intimidate her, as she is already very familiar with most of the squad.

“I’m not scared, I’m just taking everything in. It’s very exciting.”

Originally from Invercargill, Farquaharson began umpiring at 13, after learning how to umpire as a player.

She quickly fell in love with umpiring and when the two began to clash, she chose umpiring over playing. Coached by Southland netball stalwart Colleen Bond, she was chosen to attend South Island secondary schools tournaments.

Her favourite moments came when she was selected to umpire tournament finals in 2015 and 2017.

Farquaharson has always had a close relationship with Bond and is pleased that Bond is now coaching her in the national umpiring squad.

Being a member of the zone umpire watchlist for the past two years set Farquaharson up for the next stage in her career with the squad.

“I’m excited to be a part of this squad, to get the exposure and share in the experience of the Commonwealth Games umpires who are a part of my squad – you can’t really go past that.”

Farquaharson has been appointed to umpire Beko Netball League games and officiated at her first game last weekend.

“It was quite daunting but everybody was really supportive,” she said. “It was great to get the first one out of the way.”

Travelling around the country for the Beko league is a massive task but Farquaharson is committed to giving back to Dunedin netball.

“I’ll umpire Dunedin club netball, where I can. I coach five up-and-coming umpires here and will take coaching courses – it’s important to give back.”