Whilst teenage umpires are not unheard of; they are still somewhat unusual. The writer should know, having started at 18, while current NZCUSA Chair George Morris was even younger, George umpired senior cricket in Dunedin aged 15.
Wellington is fortunate in having two current senior umpires who have started young. In addition, the Wellington group have a junior membership where young school-aged players are encouraged to train as an umpire and then stand in appropriate level junior games on days that they are not playing. They are supplied with the full uniform and receive reimbursement the same as their senior colleagues.
John has been umpiring for eight seasons even though he is just 21, having started through the junior programme. He is now one of the Wellington top 10 and completed his Level 4 qualification in 2019. Away from cricket, John is studying at Victoria University for a degree in meteorology. An excellent qualification for an umpire to hold
Zak also joined the Wellington junior programme as a 14-year-old. Like John, Zak umpired his first club Premier games while still at school. Now 18, Zak is also well known among the Premier Grade player in Wellington club cricket. He will be sitting his Level 4 Qualifications during the winter of 2022. Zak will commence studies at Victoria University in the autumn studying commerce.
John and Zak recently stood together in a Premier Grade club game in Wellington. It could not have happened too often anywhere in the world that a game of that level had umpires with a combined age of 39.
Written by: Jeremy Busby (NZCUSA)