Bready umpire Roly Black is off to the West Indies in the New Year to officiate in the Under 19 World Cup.
Black, who has been umpiring since 2006, is one of four members of Cricket Ireland’s International Umpires Panel, as well as part of the Irish first-class umpire panel.
He stood as an umpire at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in 2019 and at the Under-19s World Cup in South Africa in 2020.
The 2022 tournament will be held between 14 January and 5 February. Ireland Under-19s qualified for the event in September.
“I am really looking forward to the opportunity – being able to focus on my umpiring for a sustained period allows me the chance to work on improving and fine-tuning my game," said Black.
"I’ll admit, not waking up to dark cold January mornings will also be a bonus!
“I fly to St Kitts and Nevis on New Year’s Day and expect to enter hotel quarantine for several days. If all goes well, I will then meet up with the rest of the officiating team for pre-tournament preparations and workshops.
"I am yet to find out exactly which matches I will be standing in, but I know is the four locations within the Caribbean the event will be held, and the ICC will release schedules - including practice matches - closer to the tournament.”
Black has never visited the Caribbean, let alone umpired there, so is excited by the challenge.
“I have never been to this part of the world before, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity of umpiring across the four host countries. I really enjoy visiting new grounds for the first time and I had a good long chat the other day with Ian Gould, to try and tap into his knowledge of umpiring in the Caribbean during his career.
"I was keen to get an idea of how the pitches will play, what to expect with the weather and the logistics and challenges of traveling between the different countries.
“I officiated at the last Under-19s World Cup in South Africa at the start of 2020, so I will look to build on those experiences. An Under-19s World Cup is an opportunity for future stars to show what they can do, and in South Africa I made a note of five players across the tournament who really impressed me. It has been interesting to watch their progress from a distance as these names appear in T20 domestic competitions or gain selection to their full international teams.
“To umpire at an event like this allows me the chance to work with officials from across the world. Any small tips I pick up that I believe will be of benefit, I will bring back and share with my umpiring colleagues in Ireland.”