Sue Redfern: Shattering the Glass Ceiling in Cricket Umpiring
A Historical Moment at Sophia Gardens
In a remarkable stride for the world of cricket, Sue Redfern is set to officiate a men’s first-class match in England, marking an unprecedented moment in the annals of cricketing history. The stage is set at Sophia Gardens for the County Championship contest between Glamorgan and Derbyshire, slated for a September 26 start.
Journey to the Top Tier
Redfern, at the prime age of 45, took her place among the elite in 2022, as she became a part of the Professional Umpires Team — the English and Welsh Cricket Board’s (ECB) crème de la crème of officials. With this designation, she’s sanctioned to oversee both men’s and women’s professional cricket fixtures.
Reflecting on her professional journey, Redfern expressed, “When I started umpiring I had to balance other work commitments with my umpiring, but it is now a career I can solely focus on. I am proud of the steps I have taken and that I am proving that opportunities now exist in umpiring for anyone if they’re willing to work hard and dedicate themselves.”
Indeed, it’s been a road paved with determination and ambition. “This has been an ambition of mine for a long time and, while it is a new challenge that will test me, I know that I am ready for it,” she adds, oozing confidence.
Redfern, while championing her role in the cricketing field, also views her position as a beacon of inspiration for many. “Umpiring has become such a fulfilling part of my life and while my focus is on being the best umpire I can be, I hope my journey can also be an inspiration to others.”
From Player to Official: Redfern’s Noteworthy Achievements
Not new to the limelight, Redfern had been on the field, representing England between 1995 and 1999, during which she proudly donned the national cap 21 times.
As an umpire, her resume shines brightly with appointments in six major global tournaments. These include her role at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a trio of appointments in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cups, and dual stints during the ICC Women’s World Cups.
The year 2023 witnessed another feather in Redfern’s cap when she became the maiden female umpire to preside over a Vitality Blast game, which saw Gloucestershire and Middlesex locking horns in Bristol.
It’s worth revisiting another memorable event from a couple of years ago. The iconic Cardiff grounds resonated with applause when Redfern emerged as the first female umpire to officiate a home England Men’s match.