Umpiring awards to Opele, Lyttle
Kevin Opele and Heath Lyttle have the best seat when it comes to watching Mid Canterbury’s best netballers battle it out.
They’re umpires, and they’re pretty good at it; their service and skill saw them take home Mid Canterbury Netball’s two top umpiring awards this season.
Opele took home the Leech Cup, awarded to an umpire who has achieved at regional or national level, and Lyttle took the Leath Cup, for an umpire who has achieved at centre level.
Neither are strangers to officiating sports. Lyttle is a softball umpire as well as a centre grade netball umpire, while Opele is an international level referee for touch and tag, national level referee for league and rugby, and at the moment he’s a zone level umpire for netball but is aiming to go further with that, too.
Moving up levels in terms of umpiring qualifications involves theory and practical testing, and it’s a lot of work. But both Opele and Lyttle want to keep moving up, and if the opportunity to umpire at the Commonwealth Games or the world championships was to come their way one day, they wouldn’t say no.
‘‘It’s hard to get to the top, but I don’t mind going three-quarters of the way,’’ Lyttle said.
Both are this week in Christchurch umpiring at the South Island Secondary School Championships.
Kevin Opele and Heath Lyttle took home Mid Canterbury Netball’s two big umpiring awards this season.