Keep up to date with the latest news from NPUA and our members.

Vacancy – Appointments Coordinator for EHL Conference Divisions

We are recruiting for an additional Appointments Coordinator to work with Chris Peart and the Outdoor Performance Committee to complete appointments for the Conference divisions.  Anyone interested in applying for the position can do so via the route outlined in the attached job description, before the closing date of Sunday 10 July. 
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:

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:

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

The 2021 NPUA Conference will take place on Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th September, between 9am and 1pm each day. This year’s conference will be an online event once again, however the NPUA Executive Committee hopes to be able to return to an in-person event from 2022 onwards.
13 May 2021

Coach and Assessor Convergence Session

We are delighted to announce that NPUA will be hosting an online coach & assessor convergence session on Saturday 12th June, 9:30am to 12:30pm. The interactive session will be facilitated by International Umpire Managers Liz Pelling & Hamish Jamson, and involve watching a pre-recorded match, with interactive note taking, followed by a group discussion on the key themes from the match. 
Full details and joining instructions will be circulated nearer to the event, but in the meantime, please keep the date free in your diary.
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

2022 Anne Bartley

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

2022 Daniel Stewart

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

2022 Gemma Jones

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

2022 Gary Stent

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