FOR the second year in a row – and third in the past four – the Bendigo Umpires Association has been named the state’s best in community football.
The BUA again took out the Umpire Group of the Year at the AFL Victoria Community Football Awards on Friday night.
The BUA also won the award last year, as well as in 2014.
“It’s fantastic we’ve won it again… three in four years, so we must be doing something right,” BUA chairman Craig Findlay said on Saturday.
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“We’ve done a lot of work this year in the community and supporting sporting organisations, as well as an involvement in a trip to India.”
Findlay and BUA vice chair Paula Shay travelled to India in January to umpire in the AFL India National Championships.
In winning the award, the BUA was also praised for its coaching structure, led by Dean Goodridge, and the diversity of members, which includes a number of Indian umpires.
The BUA this year passed the 200-mark for the first time, with its number of umpires in 2017 reaching 208.
“The aim is to keep improving next year… like all sporting organisations you can’t just stop still,” Findlay said.
“We’ll be looking at new ways to recruit and retain our umpires next year and keep moving forward.”
Also among the winners on Friday night was Stanhope-Girgarre-Rushworth Giants’ Andrew Hipwell, who received the David Parkin Junior Coach of the Year.
Kyabram’s Paul Newman won Senior Coach of the Year.