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Umpire Harry looking forward to Commonwealth Games challenge
3:13pm Thursday 17th July 2014 in Sport
Harry Jutle who is going to Glasgow to umpire table-tennis at the Commonwealth Games. 1428_11001 (8008223)
HEREFORDSHIRE table-tennis players may not be contesting the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
But a county man could well have an influence on the destination of the gold medal.
Harry Jutle will be among the refereeing team taking part in the Games and will be heading off north of the border on July 21.
"I was a volunteer at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 in Manchester," he said. "I helped out with the table-tennis score-boards on that occasion so I'm really looking forward to this."
Jutle's love-affair with his sport goes back to his schooldays in London.
"There was a room next to the woodwork workshop and I looked in and it was filled with table-tennis tables," he said.
"I picked up the game really quickly and then when I went to work for BT, they had a lot of sports equipment so I just carried on and I played in a local league in Essex where I am from.
"In 1990, I had a job interview to work in the international telecom section, which is how I came to work out at Madley.
"Of course, I carried on playing here and was delighted to discover that while I was Division Two standard, I was Division One standard here," he laughed.
Not content with simply being a player, Jutle decided to add to his skills and knowledge of the game.
"Steve Watkins, who was a important figure in Herefordshire table-tennis, got me to do a coaching course," he said.
"Then I qualified as an umpire and found that I was umpiring all the top players.
"I thought 'this is great'.
"You have to umpire at each level before you can apply to move on - I applied to be a national umpire and had to go to London for an interview.
"They really put pressure on you to see how you will respond.
"Then, in April this year, I took the exam to be an international umpire. I had to keep looking at the website to see whether I had passed."
Jutle has already experienced international competition after officiating at a tournament in New Zealand.
But he expects the Commonwealth Games to be quite different to his trip to the other side of the world.
"The New Zealand trip was quite intense - go to the venue, sleep, go to the venue," he said. "This time I hope to have a little chance to look around."
He still retains the ambition to progress in the umpires' ranks.
"I am a white badge at the moment and in two years' time there will be the opportunity to take the exam to be a blue badge," he said. "There are only around four of those in the country."
Jutle, meanwhile, is working hard to raise the profile of the sport in the county.
"I run the veterans' team and we joined the national league two years ago," he said.
"We were in division two and won that so went up to division one. This year, we won that, too and next season we shall be playing in the British League."
But his umpiring role is currently occupying his thoughts with plans already in place for his next challenge.
"There is a tournament in Belgium later on in the year and I'm thinking of applying to umpire at that," he said.
The 2014 Arrow PLant Herefordshire Table Tennis League awards were made at a presentation night at the GWRSA Social Club.
Division 1 winners: Green Farm Rovers; Runners-up: Weobley Warriors; Leading averages player: Mark Owen.
Division 2 winners: Green Farm Juniors; Runners-up: Hereford Table Tennis Club Nomads; Leading player: Richard Owens.
Wenderlish Cup winners: Green Farm Cadets; Runners-up: Green Farm Clippers;
Plate winners: Green Farm Dodgers; Runners-up Green Farm Vikings.
Merit Award, Senior: Mark Farr; Junior: Elliot Volpe.
Junior Progress award: Jake Price.
The Table Tennis England Maurice Goldstein Award for services to table tennis was presented to Nimmie Hodges by league president Olaf Newcombe and league president Richard Owens.