UP and coming young cricket umpire Paddy Brown is set for the opportunity of a lifetime!
He will be getting in some useful early season practce when he jets out to Dubai in March to umpire in a competition for the leading public schools of the world.
Paddy starting playing cricket as a nine-year-old at Whalley, making steady progress through the ranks, and he has graced the first team for the Station Road club, having been leading wicket taker in the seconds in 2011.
But with the full backing and support of the club, Paddy now makes limited appearances due to his ambitions to become a full-time umpire and the ultimate pinnacle of standing in a Test match.
Last year he became the youngest-ever official to stand in the world-famous Lancashire League, where he was a resounding success and received excellent marks from the team captains and was well received by most players.
This year he will also be covering the Northern League, travelling to places like Barrow, Kendal and Blackpool.
He is a member of the English Cricket Boards “elite” group of junior officials who are being mentored and coached with a view to them progressing to the first class game.
Last season he also volunteered his services to cover an event featuring the English disabled team.
Also he has covered many county age group games and county girls cricket.
As a result of his progress to date, he has been invited to umpire at the International Cricket Conference Academy in Dubai, when the leading public schools of the world will contest the Emirates School Arch 40 trophy at the end of March and early April.
The competition involves Eton, Harrow and Dulwich Colleges and Cheltenham School from the UK, Westville from Durban, South Africa, Newcastle School, Sydney, Haberdashers Aitchinson College, Pakistan, Auckland School, New Zealand and others.
It involves various games over a two-week period, including day night games, all at the ICC academy in Dubai, where numerous counties have played warm-up friendlies and the lesser nations play full internationals.
Paddy will be standing with current first class officials, and former Test umpire John Holder.
Paddy is one of four young officials - all under 30 - selected.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, he is the only one not working and they have been asked to pay for themselves as the ECB see it as a great opportunity.
So Paddy is on the look out for sponsorship or donations towards his costs, and if anyone can help, they can contact him on 01254 824719 or 07794611102 .
Whalley Cricket club have backed Paddy both on the field and financially, as there is a distinct lack of funding for officials in the game, and they have started the ball rolling.
A fundraising event is being held at Whalley Golf Club on Thursday, February 21st at 7-30 p.m.
This will be in the way of a question and answers forum, along with stories from former Test umpire John Holder, former first class umpire Tommy Wilson and a former first class cricketer who is to be confirmed.
Tickets are £5 and include pie and peas supper.
They are available from Paddy as above, or his parents on 0789 686 7723 or contact Stephen Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org