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Cook happy to be right in the middle … with a whistle in his hand

TOP UMPIRE: Kaleb Cook looked after the NSW Hockey Under 13 Girls’ State Championship final between Lithgow and Northern Beaches. Photo: NICK McGRATH 0709nmumpire2HOCKEY
Nanjing Night Net

ORANGE may have narrowly missed out on claiming a medal at this year’s Hockey NSW Under 13 Girls’ State Championship, but one person in the Orange contingent didn’t leave Tamworth empty handed.

Kaleb Cook, 14, umpired the state division one final, officiating the championship’s top game between Lithgow and Northern Beaches (1).

Lithgow romped home 5-1, and Cook performed with aplomb throughout.

Umpiring now for three years, Cook said he never imagined being handed the division one final.

“They could put you anywhere on the first day and I was lucky enough to get division one. I then got the semi-final and final. All I wanted was to do a couple of division one games,” Cook said.

“I didn’t expect to do that well.

“It wasn’t bad hockey, either. There were a lot of good players there.”

Cook’s accomplishment was accompanied by three members of the Orange under 13 girls’ outfit making the initial 45-strong NSW squad named at the completion of the tournament.

Heidi Townsend, Pip Mannix and Phoebe Litchfield caught the eye of Hockey NSW selectors, and the trio is now in the running to be part of either the State or Blues teams to be selected to compete at the national championships in Sydney from September 25.

Cook, who now boasts ambitions of similar success at the under 15 state championship, says he enjoys umpiring and views the discipline as the ideal way to give back to his chosen sport.

“I still play, but I thought umpiring would be a good way of getting involved. It’s a good way to watch the games as well,” he added.

“Hopefully I’ll get a chance to umpire some higher level comp games and then up at state champs as well, something like the under 15s.”

Umpiring both men’s and women’s hockey in Orange, Cook also officiated at this year’s Primary Schools Sports Association girls’ state carnival, earning a semi-final appointment before being selected to look after the state final between Polding and North Coast.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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