When an amateur umpire spends some €9,000 of her own money to come back to Europe to umpire from her new home in Australia, we are sure that Irene Clelland who hails from Scotland, won’t mind us saying that she indeed one of our very valuable hockey volunteers….

Irene umpired her 50th International indoor game yesterday, Czech Republic against Kazakhstan together with her US colleague Stephanie Judefind.

Yesterday we caught up briefly with Irene, through her umpire manager Yolande Brada.

She earned her first official indoor cap in January 2004 at the then European Nations Trophy in Padova, Italy. She told us that her most memorable Indoor game was the Semi-finals 2011 at the Indoor World Cup in Poznan, Poland. She was in no doubt that her career high point was an outdoor game where she was privileged to officiate at the Final of the EuroHockey Championships in 2013 in Boom, Belgium. Her empathy and good humour has always been appreciated by players and colleagues alike.

A few years ago she and her wife Anabelle Willox (also a Grade I umpire) emigrated to Australia, she decided to continue her international career as a Scottish umpire, so she has to pay the difference between UK and the country she is going to, a decision that has certainly cost money and time but one that she was happy to make. She is very grateful to Scottish Hockey in particular for their continued support of her throughout the years.

Irene acknowledged that her journey was not alone and she wanted to put on record her thanks to Janice McDonald who was at the start of her umpiring career, in particular for indoor in Scotland, was indeed her first UM for her first official indoor cap as well. She also thanked Yolande Brada who was her Umpires manager at a number of recent events, including Boom.

Irene has sadly decided that this is her last International event “There is a moment in which you have decide to stop and that moment is now”. she said.

Irene, you will be missed! By players and colleagues alike, you have done yourself and Scottish Hockey proud, 50 Indoor Caps is no mean feat, well done!

Photograph: Irene (centre) is pictured with her college, Stephanie Judefind, UM Yolande Brada and Lousie Knipe and reserve for the game Michelle Meister