Those that play bowls competitively, particularly in the Nelson Centre, will have started to find themselves playing under the attentive eye of bowls umpire Margaret Eames.

She’s been umpiring in the Nelson area for more than 10 years, including a stint as Treasurer of the Nelson Umpires Committee, umpiring the finances of the local Centre organisation.

But her adjudication skills have reached far wider than the Tasman area … Margaret has recently been appointed to the New Zealand Umpires Committee … the group responsible for minding the umpiring of lawn bowls throughout the country.

And as one of New Zealand’s accredited International Technical Officials, she joined six other New Zealand ITOs at the World Championships on the Gold Coast where invariably, like all excellent under-the-radar umpires, she will be the centre of inattention!

It’s the continuation of a busy year for Margaret.

In May and June, she spent her time training new umpires, as well as those umpires wishing to move up the ladder to level 2 accreditation.  There are 4 levels of accreditation … Margaret has reached level 4 enabling her to officiate at World Bowls events.

In April, she was an umpire at the Oceania Challenge at the Blockhouse Bay Bowling Club in Auckland.

At the end of February and into March, Margaret umpired at the National Open Mixed Pairs and Fours in Central Otago.

And in January, she was an umpire, marker and event manager at the National Open Singles and Pairs in Auckland.

Last year, in November, Margaret umpired and marked at the World Bowls Champion of Champion Singles at Naenae in the Hutt Valley, which included marking in the Women’s Final which our very own Taya Bruce won to take the world title.

You’ll be getting the picture.  Margaret’s been there, done that.  What’s more in between all these high profile umpiring assignments, she’s continue to attend to umpiring duties in her own Nelson Centre.

As well as attending to an equally ‘invisible’ task, but a far more critically important task, being involved in Victim Support.

“She’s not only a top umpire, but a bloody good person,” says Chair of the Umpires Committee, Michael Johnson.  “She’s been heavily involved in bowls for years … at her own Wakefield Bowling Club, in her own Nelson Centre, throughout New Zealand and now internationally.”

“She’s a real star. And I’m thrilled that she has been made Umpire of the Year for 2023.  She not only deserves it as an umpire, but as a person too.”

“Over the years I’ve worked with her, I’ve found she’s got marvellous administrative and organisational skills.  And she seems to have endless energy.”

“The Gold Coast has been a great place for her to show her skills.”

Congratulations for being Umpire of the Year, Margaret.  We look forward to continuing to see you around the tournaments.