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An initiative is taking a shot at bridging the gap between junior and secondary school netball on the Taieri.
The Pinkies Umpiring Programme, based on similar initiatives elsewhere in New Zealand, will give junior netballers an introduction to umpiring netball and improve the players' game, Taieri Plains Junior Netball secretary Jules Clunie says.
A group of year 7 and 8 pupils would meet on Fridays from 3.30pm-4pm, starting from May 9, to ''go over a rule'' of the game each week, Miss Clunie said.
By focusing on one rule each week the junior players could focus on a small piece of the game while increasing their knowledge of umpiring.
They would then referee a game on Saturdays, focusing on the rule they had learned and with assistance from an experienced umpire, she said.
''Last year I had several year 7 and 8 players come and ask me if they could umpire this year,'' Miss Clunie said.
''We are screaming out for umpires, so I thought `I want to drive this thing through'.''
About 17 players had expressed interest in the programme so far, but there was still space for more players, she said.
As secondary schools' players had to umpire games at the Edgar Centre, the programme would benefit the players in the future.
It would also ''help drive their game as well'' by increasing their knowledge of the rules of the sport, she said.
• Pinkies Umpiring Programme will meet on Friday, May 9, at Taieri College from 3.30pm-4pm. The first umpiring games are on Saturday, May 10.