Wednesday 7 December 2011 | Published in Regional
The development of local cricket umpires has taken a significant step forward with the recent announcement that Avatiu cricketer Brendon Fiebig will be the first Cook Islands-based umpire to officiate in a New Zealand secondary schools tournament this December.
Cook Islands Cricket (CIC) chief executive Alister Stevic said the opportunity is a result of Cook Islands Crickets expanding relationship with Northern Districts Cricket.
We are extremely fortunate to have the support of Northern Districts Cricket, in particular their operations manager Pat Malcon, who is passionate about seeing cricket in the Cook Islands develop, he said.
For CIC to work toward its goal of gaining ICC Associate status and performing on the international stage we must continue to strengthen relationships and think outside the box for opportunities to develop local talent.
Stevic said that CIC was exceptionally fortunate to have a highly productive relationship with and solid support from Chris McGeown and his team at the Edgewater Resort and Spa whose support has made a direct impact in achieving this latest milestone.
Todays announcement comes off the back of an announcement last week that Cook Islander Pastor Zekaria was the first Pacific Islander given the opportunity to travel to New Zealand to compete in a New Zealand secondary school tournament.
Stevic said the umpiring opportunity had come a year early when CIC signed off on the agreement in early October.
Cook Islands Cricket had envisaged needing a year to bring our umpires up to the demanding standard that is required at these future Black Cap tournaments, however we have been delighted with the emergence of Brendon Fiebig, both as an umpire and an umpire educator, he said.
The experiences and skills he acquires at this tournament will have endless benefit to other aspiring umpires in the Cooks.
Fiebig recently completed his NZ Cricket Level II Umpiring qualification and is awaiting the results of his Level III examination.
Ive been a passionate cricket player and follower my whole life and I see umpiring as a means to stay involved in the game after Ive eventually hung up my boots, which I still hope is a fair way off yet, he said.
Im delighted, and extremely privileged, to be given this opportunity provided by CIC, The Edgewater, and Northern Districts Cricket, to return to my old stomping ground of Gisborne to umpire in this tournament.
I look forward to returning to the Cook Islands with a great deal more experience and knowledge of umpiring that I can in turn pass on to my colleagues and support them in taking the next step.
Northern Districts Crickets Cooks training officer Colin Elstob said that he had received two very good applications, with the second applicant being very, very close to selection.
However, ultimately they just missed out based on experience, these tournaments are highly competitive and are full of pressure so we want to ensure that we are sending the umpires into tournaments prepared.
I understand Cook Islands Cricket has been working with the applicant and with other keen umpires to get them umpiring more regularly in preparation for this (and other) opportunities next year, Elstob said.