The magnificent seven

ECB Association of Cricket Officials

ECB ACO would like to introduce their seven tutors who are to oversee the Young Umpires Courses which are aimed at those aged between 16-25 years old.

Alasdair Shaikh

Not being the most brilliant of players I took up umpiring at 11 for local clubs in Sussex. Two years later, after gaining a reputation of giving batsmen out, I went on a training course. Whilst taking my exams I joined Eastbourne CC as a club umpire before going on the local league panel. By the time I was fully qualified I was still giving batsmen out the same as before, albeit this time with more confidence.

Alasdair Shaikh

I’m now 23 and gearing up for my fifth season on the Sussex County League. I sit as the Hastings and District rep on the Sussex ACO Committee and help with the instructing for Level 1 umpires for my local association. The league is superb and I am surrounded by great colleagues who support one another, enjoy umpiring and are good for a laugh and a pint after the game.

Thanks to the support of friends and colleagues I soon made the jump to the County League and can honestly say I haven’t looked back. I’m absolutely chuffed to be part of the Young Umpires Award team and look forward to going around and teaching the course and getting to know potential young umpires around the country.

Chris Fortune

Chris Fortune

For me, the journey to officiating began in 2002 after I had planned a short time away from the game due to an injury I had sustained as a young lad. Having been out of the game for such a long period, I took the decision to take my first umpiring course with The Bristol & Western Counties ACU&S. This was something that I had never imagined doing as a cricketer. I had a completely different view of the officials whilst playing but I felt that I had something to add to the game and could make a contribution.

Looking back, I achieved an incredible amount through officiating. For example, I am now umpiring in the West of England Premier League and have even been fortunate to officiate a live match on Sky Sports. I look forward to the new challenge of tutoring.

Graham Pickering

I’m 22 years old and I’ve been umpiring for five years. I started umpiring at junior level, totally by chance but the role of the umpire had always appealed to me. By the time I was 17 I had passed my first exam. I continued officiating junior cricket until I was 19, passing all the relevant exams along the way.

Graham Pickering

When I was 20 I contacted my local league in Leicestershire and they advised me to follow a second XI club team around for the season, which I did. Officiating in my first season of adult cricket was a huge thrill and I knew that I wanted to do this week in, week out. By the time I was 21, I was officiating on the Everards Leicestershire County Cricket League panel. Last season I was appointed a Premier League game. I am currently tutoring on the Level 1 course in Leicestershire and hoping to further my umpiring this season, still on the Everards League Panel.

I am really looking forward to tutoring on the Young Umpires Award, passing on my experience and teaching the new generation of umpires will be a great thrill.

Andrew Dowsett

Having started playing at eight years old, I wanted to achieve the best standard of cricket I could, whether I was playing or not. Umpiring seemed an obvious choice – there appeared to be scope to develop, to become the best of the best.

I started umpiring for my local cricket club, High Halstow in Kent, standing at square leg. Although I always wanted to improve, I did not want to rush my development – every year I took small steps up the leagues, umpiring 46-over league cricket at the age of 11.

Andrew Dowsett

I also took part in training and exams, gaining GL6 and GL5 under the ACU&S by 2005, more recently gaining Level 2 under the ECB ACO with a nomination for Level 3 in 2010. I am currently a member of the Kent Premier League Panel, umpiring the highest standard of cricket in the county. On a weekly basis I have the pleasure of meeting county cricket players and seeing the high standard of cricket that I craved as a young boy.

In December 2009, I was appointed as a tutor for the ECB ACO’s Young Umpires Award designed to teach other young officials the ropes. I am very much looking forward to delivering my first course and hope that I can help promote young umpires and inspire them to become the best that they can possibly be.

Kevin Ling

I started umpiring as a player and attended a training course with the Brentwood and Chelmsford Umpires' Association. I passed the oral exam from the ACU&S and have been on the umpires' panel for the T Rippon Mid-Essex Cricket League since 2005. I have been on the umpires' panel for the Essex Sunday League since 2007.

During the winter I umpire indoor cricket at Essex County Cricket Club. This winter I have umpired in the Junior Indoor League and the Ladies' League. I am the Appointments Officer for the Junior Indoor League, Essex Indoor League and the Essex Indoor Cricket league.

Todd Holland

Todd Holland

I currently umpire in The Shepherd Neame Essex League, an ECB Premier League, and have done so for the last six seasons. At the age of 24 I am the youngest umpire on the league panel. I umpire a range of outdoor matches and during the winter months I umpire indoor cricket.

I began umpiring when I was 18 and attended a course run by Met Essex. I completed my umpires training whilst at university in Birmingham at Wednesbury CC. During my training I won two National awards - The Tom Smith Award and The Arthur Sims Award for my exam success.

My umpiring has taken me around country and given me many great memories. I have had the honour of umpiring The Lord Taverners Cup and Prince’s Trophy at Arundel Castle, The Peter Coe Cup Final at Essex CCC and the London Schools County festival in Ampleforth.

I was fortunate enough to watch one of the first Young Umpires Award Courses being delivered and found it thoroughly enjoyable. I look forward to being involved in training the next generation of umpires.

Michael Wood

Michael Wood

I am 21 years old and have been umpiring for five years. I was 16 when I took my original examinations (GL6) and during my training course to become an umpire I appeared on Sky Sports News about why I wanted to become an umpire. I then took two further examinations (GL5 & GL4) with the now defunct ACU&S (Association of Cricket Umpires & Scorers).

From that original training course I was approached by the Durham Cricket Coast League to start my umpiring career. I umpired in the Durham Cricket Coast League for four years, umpiring many cup finals for the league. I then took the decision at the end of 2008 season to apply for the North East Premier League. I was accepted and umpired my first season for the premier league where I am the youngest umpire on the panel.