The chance to be back on court umpiring was not to be sneezed at ! The venue - National Badminton Centre; the event - English National championships; when ? 21st and 22nd August.
For the past 18 months, there has been little or no chance to officiate on court due to the dreaded "C" word; for the lucky few, the All England in March was the first and now the National Championships being the 2nd.
Adhering to the current Covid guidelines, only players, coaches and tehcnical officials were allowed to remain in the hall, with mininmal spectators upstairs. Masks had to be worn off court at all times and only the players and umpire allowed to remove them when on court (and actually seated in the chair - not before!). With the schedule divided into four sessions, play started early on Saturday morning but no line judges so umpires had their work cut out for them, especially when the two of the courts were being live-streamed ! For the second session on Saturday, line judges joined us on court and we reduced to four courts. After a hard days work, play ended and umpires adjourned to refresh themselves suitably !
The first session on Sunday on 2 courts, started even earlier for some with some really good close games, where some surprising results were to be had including Olympians being beaten in the Mens Doubles. With lunch on the go, play moved slowly to the finals.
The finals were over all too quickly, with lots of new names on the trophies. It was a very successful event and it was great to be back on court !