A 15-year-old school boy has bowled his way into the record books – after becoming Britain’s youngest CRICKET UMPIRE.
Pint-sized Ethan Peel has just qualified as an official umpire after studying for the qualification at Oxford Brookes University.
On Saturday Ethan, dubbed ‘the new Dickie Bird’, completed his BTEC Intermediate Certificate in Cricket Umpiring on Saturday when he took charge of a friendly end of season match in Kidlington, Oxon.
Ethan, who took the qualification while studying for his GCSEs, said: ‘I am thrilled to be here today but I’d rather be known as a good umpire than a young one.
‘I hope what I have done will inspire more young cricketers to join the game.’
He umpired his first all adult match between Tiddington, Oxon., and London-based team Nomads.
Ethan is now qualified to umpire any cricket match in this country and abroad but is likely to start overseeing school and college matches next year.
Mick Warren, secretary of the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring (IICUS) helped run the course.
He said: ”Ethan has just got something special which makes him a natural umpire.
”Despite being slight Ethan commands respect because he has got the killer combination of a gift of the gab and a clinical eye for detail.
”He reminds me very much of Dickie Bird and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ethan follows in his footsteps in the years to come.”
Ethan took the course, which usually takes 17 and 18 year-olds last September, after impressing the tutors with his knowledge of the game.
He underwent an intensive nine week evening course learning the rules and theory of cricket followed by five weeks of ‘field craft’ training.
During the course he learnt how to deal with controversial incidents and handling difficult players.
Mick said: ”We put the students through their paces and come up with all sorts of different scenarios.
”One of the most common things umpires need to learn is how to deal with back chat from players.
”As long as the umpire acknowledges they have heard it and nips it in the bud the players know not to push it.
”Players can weigh up whether an umpire is weak the first moment they see them so it’s vital to assert authority.”
The final element of the course was a gruelling assessment which involved being assessed on 10 real friendly and competitive games.
The BTEC in umpiring has been running for four years with 200 participants in the UK as well as cricket fans in India and Bangladesh.
We even have a course starting in the USA in January.
Ethan will receive his BTEC certificate in January.
He said ”I’ve always been a huge cricket fan but it was never something I thought I would actually be able to get a qualification in.
”The BTEC has been an amazing help – I’ve been able to learn in a way that suits me in something I’m passionate about.
”I’m really looking forward to getting my certificate next year so I can get stuck in and you never know, maybe become the next Dickie Bird.”