Um­pir­ing awards to Opele, Lyt­tle

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MOTORING - ERIN TASKER

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.

ERIN TASKER/STUFF

Kevin Opele and Heath Lyt­tle took home Mid Can­ter­bury Net­ball’s two big um­pir­ing awards this sea­son.

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