FOR THE first time Tamworth will have an international indoor cricket umpire when Steve Young officiates at the Junior World Series in South Africa later this week.
Having played the game at a high level and umpired at national level in recent years, the overseas trip is arguably the best opportunity yet.
“Before I even get onto the court or up in the umpire’s stand it will be an experience just being there,” Young said.
“It will be unbelievable just to go overseas.
“I’ve been to Perth and Cairns and Brisbane and Melbourne and South Australia umpiring and you walk into a different centre and see how they play or how they set things up.
“Now to go overseas, it’s a big thing for me.”
Young has played and umpired for 26 years, represented NSW at nationals on the court, has umpired at national tournaments since 2007 and was assistant tournament director at the 2009 World Cup in Brisbane.
He joins just one other Australian umpire on the trip to South Africa.
There he will umpire games in the under 12s, 14s and 16s tournaments, possibly ruling on up to 20 matches per day.
A good performance could earn an umpire further appointments in international competition.
“My aim is to do well,” Young said.
“There’s a masters tournament in Sri Lanka next year and a world series, although I don’t know where that is yet.
“If you do well you get to go away to more places.
“So the goal is to do well and if I get a final, that’s a bonus.”
Like all sport officials, there is pressure on the umpire to make the right call at all times.
In a fast game like indoor cricket that is a tough job.
“Concentration is the big thing,” Young said.
“Sometimes you’ll get a game off or two games off and sometimes you’ll come down and get the team sheet and go straight back up again.
“I don’t know about internationals, but that’s happened at nationals before.
“So it’s all about concentration.
“We did a course that said there’s 40 decisions you have to make before a ball is bowled, whether it’s if blokes are wearing gloves or are the stumps set up or do they have a ball.
“If you don’t check all of those things, bowling a ball is irrelevant.”
As an Australian umpire at a world event, Young said it would also be important to be seen to be completely impartial.
After Tamworth’s indoor centre closed, it made it harder for him to practise but he occasionally goes to other centres in northern NSW for a game.
He said it was a shame local players and umpires don’t get an opportunity to show what they can do in the absence of a centre in Tamworth and hopes that a new centre will be operating in the future.