Strathclyde Sirens Vs Severn Stars

Natalie Gregan

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Natalie Gregan

Occupation: Primary school teacher and Mum

Current award and date achieved: A Award, March 2012

Year started umpiring Superleague: 2014

Career highlights:

Being selected to be part of the Superleague umpire team in 2014.

Being selected to attend Netball Europe in Gibraltar in 2013 for the first time. My first experience of international netball.

How and when did you get involved in umpiring?

I became involved in umpiring from an early age. At 13 years old, I started playing in the local league. It was here that I was encouraged to pick up a whistle by Pauline Samson. I quickly moved through the beginner awards within the league and achieved my C award. From there…I have never looked back.

What has been your favourite memory on or off court?

My favourite netball memory was playing fast net at the Liverpool Echo Arena for my club Blackpool Netball Club. We had played within the region and managed to reach the final with was to be played before the international series. To play in that arena was amazing and to top it, we won!

Another amazing memory was being part of the Superleague umpire team at the opening weekend at the Genting Arena. What dreams are made of!

Do you have any pre-match rituals before a game?

I always go through my hand signals during warm up in a specific order. The speed of the game is so quick, my hand signals need to be automatic so that the players are clear of my decision and the game can progress.

What are your aspirations for the future?

To be the best that I can be. I have been incredibly lucky to have so many tastes of umpiring, I am ready to grasp them with both hands. I have experienced Superleague, Netball Europe and umpired a training session for the Australian Diamonds. I want to achieve my IUA award and continue to learn and become the best umpire I can be.

Who has had the biggest influence on your umpiring so far?

Pauline Samson started me on my path all those years ago and has been a constant support throughout my journey. She will always be at the end of the phone. Both Jackie Mizon and Gary Burgess have been constant in recent years. They have both supported me with my evaluation of my own performance and answered so many questions. They have allowed me to develop at the elite end of my sport.

What is your favourite song to train/work-out too?

A few years ago, Radio 1 released a sports mix for Sports Relief. It is a combination of high pumping songs that fit together. Always makes me go faster!

Do you have any embarrassing netball moments?

In my second season of Superleague, I was umpiring up in Northumbria. The ball had been intercepted in the ģoal third by the GK and then deflected off court. The GD, in desperation to get the ball, totally sent me flying over the team bench chairs. I have never got up from something so quick. Safe to say I had a few bruises the next day!

What is the best part about being a Superleague umpire?

There are so many things to mention. Having the opportunity to umpire players who are at the top of their game and enabling them to play the best netball that they can.

Working with an incredible team of people who support each other no matter what. The Superleague umpiring team strive to support each other and be the best they can be.

Travelling around the country and making memories in new places with new people.

Finally, what advice would you have for anyone who wants to Umpire in the Superleague in the future?

I was just a normal umpire in Blackpool who never even thought they could be part of something like this. Any umpire can do this if they are prepared to work hard, keep fit and self-analyse. Ask for advice, watch games back and don’t give up. Doors open all the time, take the opportunity to be the best you can be.