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If you work behind the scenes in netball, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Magriet Bester, one of Netball South Africa’s most experienced Technical Managers. We took some time to chat to Magriet who again manages the ‘technical table’ at this year’s Telkom Netball League.

Hi Magriet, tell us a bit how you got into netball?
I started playing netball at the age of 10. I played senior netball on a social level and then started to umpire. I’m also a National A graded umpire.

How did you get involved with the technical side of things within netball?
In 2008 I did the technical official training with Isabelle du Pisani, as my mentor.

Please explain to us how the ‘technical table’ works?  Who and what’s involved and how does everything come together?
The officials bench is the heartbeat of a match. The officials working at this bench are responsible for the official score and timing of the match.

The officials bench consists of two score keepers and two timekeepers. Scorer 1 completes the ‘World Netball Score Sheet’ this score sheet provides match, team, and technical officials’ details. They record score and goal stats of the match on this sheet.

Scorer 2 completes the ‘Running Sheet’ and ‘calls the goal attempts’ for Scorer 1. They also check the centre passes.
Timekeeper 1 (The Official Timekeeper) is responsible for the playing time, intervals and stoppages time keeping.

Timekeeper 2 records injury and other stoppages. The table manager oversees the officials bench during the match and assists when and where needed.

My duties are to communicate with the team managers for the team lists, at least 24 hours before a match and the starting line-up of the teams at least 90 minutes before a match. Then we make copies of the starting line-up and distribute them to the relevant points. Set and start the countdown clocks an hour before the match begins for the team managers, umpires, emcee and the officials bench. We work closely with SuperSport during a live televised match. After the match, we check the paperwork and distribute it to the relevant people, update the log standing as well as the stats of the match.

These technical officials need to be able to concentrate for long periods.

How many events have you covered thus far?
Since 2016 I have covered all the National and International events except 2 International events. (Diamond Challenge 2018 and Africa Netball Cup 2019)

Do you have any favourite events if yes which ones and why?
Not really all the events is unique in its own way. I love to work at the events with the challenges each event brings, to the table

What makes the TNL such a special event?
It is such a prestige event and the players, coaches, team officials, umpires and technical officials get the opportunity to work at this level together. This unity is needed for netball to keep on growing in a healthy way. I’m thankful for the sponsors who make this event possible.

Any memorable match(es) you can remember you worked on (TNL and/or international) what happened?
Quad series 2017 Durban, South Africa’s SPAR Proteas vs England’s Roses. It’s a full arena and the match plays to a draw and the teams need to play extra time. South Africa lost the match, but the spectators’ support and the vibe in the arena was just incredible. It gave me goosebumps to stand with hooter in hand and count down the last seconds knowing the entertainment of the match was not done.

What are the challenges working as a technical official?
They need to be able to concentrate for long periods, make sure the score, time and team changes etc. is correct. One second in “relax mode” can end in a disaster. A team needs less than 5 seconds to score a goal, so each second counts.

What does it mean to you that the sport’s biggest event is coming to South Africa?
I’m super excited about it. To see the best netball players perform in South Africa and South Africans love sport and to support it in unity.