Keep up to date with the latest news from NPUA and our members.
Vacancy – Appointments Coordinator for EHL Conference Divisions
25 June 2022
English representation at FIH Hockey 5s in Lausanne
The Pro League fixtures between England and Netherlands were not the only international hockey fixtures taking place this weekend, as Lausanne in Switzerland, home of the IOC, hosted the inaugural Hero FIH Hockey 5s tournament.
The event was the first ever senior international Hockey 5s tournament and saw five men’s and women’s teams from three continents compete. Although England were not playing in the tournament, there was English representation in the officiating team, with Rachel Williams and Sean Edwards appointed as umpires.
Once again English umpires excelled at the top level, as Rachel umpired the final of the women’s competition in which Uruguay defeated hosts Switzerland, while Sean umpired the men’s final between India and Poland.
For Sean, it was a second appointment to a Hockey 5s event, having previously umpired at the Asian Youth Olympic Qualifiers in Bangkok. When asked about this weekend’s tournament in Lausanne, he explained:
“It was a really impressive setup; FIH constructed a purpose-built stadium right on the edge of Lake Geneva, and from the stands there were amazing views across the harbour and the lake. There was a DJ playing music throughout and an announcer commentating on the live action – it was a bit different to what we’re used to on a Sunday afternoon, but it’s got a lot of potential to help bring new audiences to our sport.”
“The matches themselves were high intensity, even more so than indoor. There are almost no stoppages with sideboards and end boards keeping the ball in play, so concentration was probably the key skill.”
“There’s always a lot of preparation that goes on in the months leading up to a tournament to ensure we perform at our best. As well as the physical fitness stuff, there’s lots of mental preparation including reviewing video of our own games and the teams competing, online briefings with the umpiring team and sharing clips within the group. This one was a bit different with very little Hockey 5s footage available so a lot of it was spent reviewing and discussing the rules and how we’d apply them, as they are quite different to the eleven a-side version of the sport.”
Rachel has also umpired a Hockey 5s event before, her first event being the EuroHockey5s Future Heroes Cup B in Poland. Since that appointment in 2016, the movement of #EquallyAmazing has taken shape which promotes gender equality and at the Hero FIH Hockey 5s, mixed gender appointments were encouraged – diversifying the umpiring appointments, mixing the women’s and men’s tournaments with female and male umpires appointed across genders.
At this event, Rachel made her mark in record books being the first female in world hockey history to umpire a men’s India vs Pakistan game. We asked Rachel about that experience:
“It was fitting to have the inaugural FIH Inclusion and Diversity Day at the start of this tournament, as the Hero FIH Hockey 5s brought together men’s and women’s teams from all over the world; Switzerland, Poland, Uruguay, South Africa, India, Pakistan and Malaysia. It was awesome to have the opportunity to be involved in this spectacle for our sport. Dynamic hockey, even-encounters with final match ups not known until the last few games! The India v Pakistan men’s game promised to be fast and exciting, and certainly didn’t disappoint! The atmosphere was incredible with a packed stadium (standing room only) and the players showcased their skills ending with a 2-2 draw. India vs Pakistan was my first men’s game at International level, and I’m hoping that the visibility of a female in a game like this will empower other women and girls to know these opportunities are also for them; the cool thing about being the first is paving the way to ensure you won’t be the last!”
So what’s next for our English cohort:
“There are a few European Hockey 5s tournaments this summer which English umpires are appointed to, so we’ll be looking to share our experiences and what we learned from the tournament to help their performance. As well as umpires continuing to contribute to the ongoing Pro League season, we have five umpires heading to the upcoming Commonwealth Games which will be a real highlight being hosted in Birmingham”
Congratulations to Rachel and Sean on their excellent performances at the tournament and their appointments to the finals.
If you are interested in learning more about the pathway to reaching the top level as an umpire in England, you can find more here.
3 June 2022
Rebecca Woodcock represents England at FIH Women’s Junior World Cup in South Africa
England under 21 women’s team is set to compete at the FIH Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa, from Friday, but, they aren’t the only English representation at one of the most prestigious events in the hockey calendar.
Rebecca Woodcock, one of the country’s best female umpires, is also in action which sees the world’s top fifteen under 21 teams compete for the title of world champions.
For Woodcock, 26, it’s a first appearance at a Junior World Cup but she is no stranger to world-level events having recently umpired Japan v Korea in the final of the Asia Cup in Oman.
We caught Woodcock to learn more about her umpiring journey, as well as her preparation for the tournament. You can read more about her story here: https://www.englandhockey.co.uk/media/news/rebecca-woodcock-represents-english-umpires-at-fih-hockey-womens-junior-world-cup
30 March 2022
How Dan Barstow prepared to umpire the Junior World Cup Final
Despite England’s men withdrawing from the 2021 Junior World Cup due to Covid-related travel restrictions, there was still representation at the event in India in the form of umpires Dan Barstow and Paul Walker.
It was a third appearance at the event for Dan, who has also been appointed as an umpire for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup. He took charge of seven fixtures in total, including overseeing the final as Argentina beat Germany 4-2.
Before heading out to India, he spoke to us about how he got into the role and his experiences so far. You can learn more about his experience here: https://www.englandhockey.co.uk/media/news/how-dan-barstow-prepared-to-umpire-the-2021-junior-world-cup-final
15 December 2021
NPUA’s Fantastic Five appointed to 2022 Indoor World Cup
NPUA is delighted to announce that five of its members have been appointed to officiate at the FIH Indoor World Cup in Liege, Belgium next year.
Lee Barron, Sean Edwards, Louise Knipe and Rachel Williams (all England) and Cathy Wright (Wales) have been selected by the FIH Appointments Committee to attend the event in February 2022, which is the sixth time the tournament has taken place.
For Louise Knipe it will be a record sixth appearance at the prestigious event, having also been appointed to all five previous tournaments.This will be her fourth Indoor World Cup as an Umpire Manager; she also umpired at the first two Indoor World Cups (Leipzig 2003 and Vienna 2007).
Rachel Williams will be attending her second FIH Indoor World Cup, having officiated at the 2018 tournament in Leipzig, where she umpired the semi-final between Belarus and Germany.
It will be a first appearance at the Indoor World Cup for Cathy Wright, who umpired the final of the European Indoor Nations Championship between Belarus and The Netherlands last year.
Lee Barron will be making his third appearance at an Indoor World Cup, having previously been selected for the events in Leipzig 2015 and Berlin 2018; umpiring the final on both occasions.
The tournament will a first Indoor World Cup appearance for Sean Edwards, who has previously officiated the finals of the African, Asian and European continental championships.
Barron and Edwards are no strangers to umpiring together; the pair having presided over the final of the 2020 European Nations Championship.
Simon Gillett, Chairman of the NPUA Indoor Performance Committee said of the appointments “Congratulations to all concerned. Special congratulations go to Lou Knipe, our World Cup specialist, and Lee Barron who makes it three in a row – only the third man to have ever achieved that feat. For the first time ever, England will have two umpires of the same gender at a World Cup. What an amazing set of appointments for England and NPUA.”
17 September 2021
NPUA Conference 2021
13 May 2021
Coach and Assessor Convergence Session
13 May 2021
FIH Pro League Debuts
Congratulations to NPUA members and English international umpires Hannah Harrison and Paul Walker, who both made their debut in the FIH Pro League this evening, umpiring the fixtures between Great Britain and Germany.
12 May 2021
New Vice President of England Hockey
Congratulations to our very own Dawn Bonner, who this week was elected as Vice President of England Hockey. Dawn is an active member of NPUA as a coach and assessor, as well as being a member of our Outdoor Performance Committee.
18 March 2021
New Appointments Coordinator
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Rob Jenkins as Appointments Coordinator for Premier & Division 1. Rob has been a member of NPUA for many years, umpiring nearly 400 national league games to date, as well as serving as a coach, assessor and previously as a member of the outdoor performance committee. Rob will replace Colin Barthorpe, who is standing down at the end of this season after a new of years in the role.
6 February 2021
Proving failure leads to success
Thanks to England Hockey for this fantastic article profiling NPUA member and current holder of the Chris Todd Umpire Support Award, Dawn Bonner: Dawn Bonner’s Umpiring Journey – Proving Failure leads to Success
21 December 2020
Coach & assessor webinar
On Wednesday 2nd December, two of our top International Umpire Managers are hosting an online webinar for our coaches and assessors. Margaret Hunnaball and Louise Knipe will be sharing the knowledge they have gained from working at the top level!
30 November 2020
Stop the count!
Congratulations to Robert Brownbridge who recently umpired his 200th National League match. A great achievement – well done Robert!
7 November 2020
The unrecognised key of the game
Thanks to England Hockey for this great article profiling three of our umpires: The unrecognised key of the game
21 October 2020
New umpiring shirts dispatched
The new umpiring shirts have just been dispatched; look out for yours being delivered int he next few days. Thanks as always to our partners at Specialist Sports
25 September 2020
NPUA Conference 2020
Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s virtual NPUA Conference; with over 110 attendees each day it was our biggest event ever! A special thanks to all of our presenters, as well as our friends at Sharp Focus for their support in producing the event.
6 September 2020
NPUA Annual Awards 2020
Tonight our members had a fantastic evening celebrating our success at our annual awards evening. Over 100 members joined the event to congratulate our NPDP graduates and our award winners:
Chris Todd Umpire Support Award: Dawn Bonner
Indoor Umpire of the Year: Sean Edwards
Graham Nash Trophy for Outdoor Umpire of the Year: Gill Lord
4 September 2020
Guest presenters announced for 2020 NPUA Conference
The Executive Committee is delighted to announce the guest presenters for this year’s virtual event. As well as our high-quality internal speakers, we’ll also be hearing from England & GB International Brendan Creed, former England cricketer turned Sky Sports presenter Rob Key, plus former England cricket & hockey player & coach Jane Powell. it promises to be a great event!
4 September 2020
International umpiring success
Congratulations to Jake Charles on his recent promotion to FIH International Outdoor Umpire, and to Isaac Charles on his promotion to FIH International Indoor Umpire. You can read more about these fantastic achievements here
28 July 2020
International umpire management success
Congratulations to Liz Pelling who was recently promoted to the FIH Indoor Advancement Panel as an Umpire Manager, a brilliant achievement!
28 July 2020
The NPUA Awards ceremony is held every year during the gala dinner at the NPUA Conference.
Honorary Vice Presidents of NPUA are elected at the AGM.
Our annual awards are: The Graham Nash Trophy for Outdoor Umpire of the Year, the Indoor Umpire of the Year and the Chris Todd Award for Umpire Support.
Occasionally we also present our special awards; the NPUA Special Merit Award and The Julia Gill Lifetime Achievement Award.
Honorary Vice Presidents
2018 Peter Worrall
2013 Peter Halliday
2006 John Gawley, MBE
Julia Gill Lifetime Achievement Award
2019 Liz Pelling
2019 Jackie Gibbs
2018 Frances Block
2018 John Litchfield
2017 Hamish Jamson
2016 Richard Kirk
2016 Geoff Blakeman
2015 Val Sassall
2012 Julia Gill
2010 Andy Mair
2009 Colin Barthorpe
2008 Louise Knipe
2007 David Lane
2006 John Gawley, MBE
2006 Paul Box-Grainger
2005 Frank Lockhart
2005 Peter Halliday
NPUA Special Merit Award
2016 Terry Norwood
2015 Sarah Bush
2014 Hannah Harrison
2014 Carol Unwin
2013 David Dowdall
2011 Julia Gill
2010 Val Sassall
2009 Hamish Jamson
2008 Richard Wood
2007 Bridget Midwinter
2006 Peter Stiven
2005 James O’Hara
2005 Margaret Hunnaball
Outdoor Umpire of the Year, The Graham Nash Trophy
2020 Gill Lord
2019 Lee Barron
2018 James Barnes
2017 Matt Harrison
2016 Gareth Perry
2015 Tim Benford
2014 Rob Argent
2013 Hamish Jamson
2012 Matt Harrison
2011 Stuart Baxter
2010 Lili James
2009 Hamish Jamson
Indoor Umpire of the Year
2020 Sean Edwards
2019 Lia Waine
2018 Rebecca Woodcock
2017 Andy Poulain
2016 Gemma Jones
2015 Frances Block
2015 Lee Barron
2014 Rob Jenkins
2013 Tim Benford
2012 Nick White
2011 Sarah Bush
2010 Lili James
The Chris Todd Award for Umpire Support
2020 Dawn Bonner
2019 Liz Pelling
2018 Margaret Hunnaball
2017 David Ellcock
2016 Louise Knipe
2015 John Litchfield
2014 Tony Kelleher
2013 Jane Nockolds
2012 Barry Anderson
2011 Liz Pelling
NPUA is incredibly proud of the following members, who have reached the pinnacle of our sport and officiated at an Olympic Games.
|2016||Andy Mair (video umpire), XXXI Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro||1996||Gill Clarke (umpire), XXVI Olympic Games, Atlanta|
|2012||Frances Block (umpire), XXX Olympic Games, London||1992||Graham Nash (umpire), XXV Olympic Games, Barcelona|
|2012||Hamish Jamson (umpire), XXX Olympic Games, London||1992||Chris Todd (umpire), XXV Olympic Games, Barcelona|
|2008||Andy Mair (umpire), XXIX Olympic Games, Beijing||1988||Graham Nash (umpire), XXIV Olympic Games, Seoul|
|2008||Jane Nockolds (umpires manager), XXIX Olympic Games, Beijing||1984||Graham Nash (umpire), XXIII Olympic Games, Los Angeles|
|2008||Julia Gill (technical official), XXIX Olympic Games, Beijing||1980||Graham Nash (umpire), XXII Olympic Games, Moscow|
|2004||Julia Gill (technical official), XXVIII Olympic Games, Athens||1976||Graham Nash (umpire), XXI Olympic Games, Montreal|