North West umpire Roland Black to stand in English matches as part of exchange

North West and Irish umpire Roland Black has flown to England to stand in two four-day matches as part of an umpire exchange initiative with the England and Wales Cricket Board.


Black, who has been umpiring since 2006 and is a key figure in the North West Umpires Association, 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 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in 2019, at the ICC Men’s Under-19s World Cup in South Africa in 2020, and at the ICC Men’s Under-19s World Cup in the Caribbean – eventually being appointed to be an on-field umpire in the Final.


The two fixtures that Black will stand in are:


  • Middlesex v Hampshire (Second Eleven Championship), Radlett Cricket Club, 3-6 May 2022
  • Nottinghamshire v Derbyshire (Second Eleven Championship), Notts Sports Club, 9-12 May 2022

As part of the exchange, English umpire Paul Nicholls will stand during the first Inter-Provincial T20 Festival at North Down from 27-29 May 2022.


Speaking prior to leaving for England, Black said:


“There has been some excellent work undertaken over the winter with the creation of a High Performance Committee for Match Officials, with Cricket Ireland and IACUS striving to strengthen and improve in all areas. One of the targets of this group initially was to create red-ball multi-day opportunities for officials in the longer format. Standing in two four-day games will be a good test and allow me to gain some valuable experience in red ball cricket. I expect that I will be challenged in many different ways and taken out of my comfort zone. Multi-day cricket is a different test – bowlers bowling longer spells, close fielders around the bat, fitness and concentration are especially important – particularly if any of the games goes to the last hour on the fourth day.


“As for exchanges, I think they are vital for the development of umpires and scorers at any level, and this is – we hope – the start of Cricket Ireland and ECB working closer together to allow others the same opportunity to benefit from the experience.


“With English umpires coming across to stand in the Inter-Pro’s it will be a win-win situation – it will allow other umpires in Ireland the chance to stand and learn from new colleagues, to develop friendships and also to provide the English umpires with a new experience that will be equally beneficial to them.”


The North West Umpires and Scorers Association are kindly sponsored by – Curtis Opticians 

Curtis Opticians was established in 1928 by HP Curtis, a former jeweller. The business was continued by his 3 sons Harold, Noel and Derek and moved in 1978 from the diamond to 8 Carlisle road, where today the third generation of the Curtis family, Derek’s two sons Paul and Ian Curtis continue to offer the highest quality eye care and friendly service the company is renowned for. In 2001 Paul and Ian opened a second practice in 100 Main Street, Dungiven.

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