An Oxford teenager has earned his place in the history books after becoming the country’s youngest qualified umpire – at the age of just 15.
Ethan Peel, who attends Wallingford School, has been studying towards a BTEC Intermediate Certificate in Cricket Umpiring at Oxford Brookes University as part of an initiative by the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring (IICUS) to recruit young officials. The course comprises of three units, the first two are classroom-based, with the third unit involving field experience in cricket matches. Students can complete the course within a year. It is accredited by an independent educational validation body – Edexcel, owned by Pearson.
Ethan had already completed modules on the laws of the game and field management, man management and duty of care. However, the final phase of the qualification came on Saturday when Ethan, who has spent a season on the field under the watchful eye of cricket officials assessing and monitoring him, independently umpired a friendly match between Tiddington, based in Oxfordshire and Nomads, based in London.
IICUS Chief Executive David Brandon said “The BTEC in umpiring has been running for four years now with around 200 participants in the UK and more in the likes of India and Bangladesh. We even have a course starting in the USA in January. It’s been invaluable in attracting more people into cricket and giving them qualifications for the future. We are delighted with Ethan’s progress on the course and he thoroughly deserves the accolade of becoming Britain’s youngest umpire.”
Now that Ethan has successfully completed the course, he will receive his BTEC certificate in January next year. He said “I’ve always been a huge cricket fan but it was never something I thought I would actually be able to get a qualification in. The BTEC has been an amazing help – I’ve been able to learn in a way that suits me in something I’m passionate about. I’m really looking forward to getting my certificate next year so I can get stuck in and you never know, maybe become the next Dickie Bird”.
A new course starts in October, and has already attracted interest from nine students, including three 17 year-olds.