ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Jacqueline Williams will create history later this year, when she becomes the first female umpire to ever officiate in the Regional 4-Day Tournament.
The 39-year-old from the western Jamaica community of Ashton in the parish of Westmoreland will stand in the middle with international umpire Peter Nero for the fifth round match in the WICB Professional League R4Day between Jamaica Scorpions and Guyana Jaguars from December 11 to 14 at Sabina Park in her nation’s capital of Kingston. (EDS: See schedule of appointments for Rounds 1 to 5 attached).
“It’s a humbling feeling to know that I will have this opportunity,” said Williams. “I have put in the hard work over the last few years, it’s been seen and now it is paying off for me.
“I still am pinching myself to know that it is real and will be happening. I am not overawed at the prospect of standing in a match with male players – I have done it before at the club level – but it is still a learning experience for me and I am just open to all of the challenges it will bring.”
Prior to this, Williams will have standby duties for the fourth round match between Scorpions and Leeward Islands Hurricanes from December 4 to 7 at the same venue.
“I used to play the game and I was encouraged to become an umpire even before my playing days were finished,” said Williams. “I took it up in 2007 and it has been a lot of hard work, but I am happy with what I have been able to achieve so far.”
Williams recently made her international debut, when she stood in the first One-day and first Twenty20 Internationals during the ongoing Pakistan Women’s Tour of the West Indies.
“The experience I have gained working with Joel Wilson, Gregory Brathwaite, Peter Nero and Nigel Duguid, as well as match referees Hayden Bruce and Michael Ragoonath has been invaluable,” said Williams.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them and learn so much in such a short period of time. The things that I have learnt I will also be looking to transfer that knowledge to other umpires in Jamaica, so that they too can benefit.”
Williams is being groomed by the WICB with an eye to possible selection on the international panel for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017 in England and Wales.
She was one of four female umpires that joined two-dozen of their male colleagues in benefitting from a workshop last June in Trinidad.