Diana Venter, left, Kathy Cross and Kim Cotton are the first all-woman appointment to umpire an international cricket match in New Zealand.
Cricket umpires Diana Venter and Kathy Cross are used to being described as pioneers.
But along with third umpire Kim Cotton, they took their ground-breaking careers another step forward as the first all-woman appointment to officiate in an international match in Monday’s Twenty20 clash between New Zealand’s White Ferns and Pakistan in Nelson.
Now based in Wellington, Taumaranui-born Cross, 59, achieved a significant milestone in 2014 when she became the first woman named on the ICC Associate and Affiliate panel of international umpires.
She stood in three Women’s World Cups, in 2000, 2009 and 2013, and in March this year, joined Australia’s Claire Polosak as the only two women to officiate at the Women’s World Twenty20 tournament in India. Cross created history when she stood in the opening clash between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Chennai.
She was also the first women to umpire in a New Zealand men’s domestic T20 match during the 2006-07 season, the former wicket-keeper having initially taken up umpiring in 1998.
“I’m very happy that it is another first, particularly for two more women in New Zealand cricket,” Cross said.
South African-born Venter, now based in Auckland, last year became the first woman to umpire an Australian premier match as part of Cricket Victoria and Auckland Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association’s umpire exchange program.
A national powerlifting champion in South Africa, 50-year-old Venter went on to play, coach, then umpire the game in Finland, before moving to New Zealand in 2004. She has still to officiate at a Women’s World Cup, with those appointments for next year’s tournament in England and Wales still to be determined.
“I’m very honoured to be here with Kathy and to share in the experience,” Venter said.
Aucklander Cotton began umpiring senior men’s cricket in Timaru in 2010 after a playing career which included a brief involvement with the Wakatu club in Nelson. She also enjoyed a stint in England when she represented Kent.
Now a Christchurch solicitor, 38-year-old Cotton has also been involved in several trans-Tasman umpiring exchanges. Since moving to Christchurch, she has regularly umpired premier men’s club cricket and for the past three seasons has stood in NZC’s national women’s under-21 tournament.
Earlier this year, Venter and Cotton were named in New Zealand Cricket’s high performance umpire reserve panel for the 2016-17 season.
– Wayne Martin.