A University of Worcester student has been selected as an umpire for an international netball tournament in Dubai.

Evie Stewart-Davis is one of 10 umpires from the UK selected to oversee the Emirates Dubai 7s tournament next month.

“I’m so excited, I was over the moon,” said the 20-year-old, of Cheltenham, who is in the second year of her PE and Sports Coaching Science degree.

“Obviously it’s an amazing experience to be able to umpire at that level. Umpiring internationally, there’s different styles of playing the game, which is good experience and will hopefully improve my performance.”

The event, running December 2-4, attracts teams from the UK, Australia, South Africa and across the Gulf.

Evie will join umpires selected from around the world, including the umpire that officiated the last Netball World Cup final.

Evie, who umpires and coaches juniors at the Gloucester-based Challengers Netball Club, gained her regional level qualifications at just 16 and is now working towards her A Award, which will allow her to umpire at national level.

She is honing her skills with the University’s co-owned Superleague netball franchise, Severn Stars, umpiring their training games and pre-season matches.

This will be the former Tewkesbury School and Hartpury College pupil’s second time at the Dubai 7s, which she umpired at in 2019.

Evie’s interest in umpiring was first sparked at school, in Year 8.

Already a keen netball player, a teacher asked her to fill in umpiring a Year 7s game. “I picked up a whistle and had a go and really liked it,” she said.

“I love the netball world, I love being involved in everything.

“I’ve got to have good subject knowledge and I’ve got to be confident to apply that subject knowledge in the scenario at the right time.

“It’s quick, it’s intuitive – I know something’s happened and it takes me a second to know what happened because I’m almost systematically scanning and seeing.”

Evie typically umpires five games a week, alongside six hours of training including strength and conditioning.

Her ambition is to be an umpire on the international stage, alongside becoming a secondary school PE teacher.

She is being supported through the University’s Sports Scholarship programme.

This gives elite athlete students financial and academic support, as well as access to specialist lifestyle advice and support services like physiotherapy, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and psychology.

“I’m astounded at how much effort they’re putting into me as an individual,” she added.

“Without that support I don’t think I’d be where I am and have done what I’ve done.”