Cricket Tasmania extends its congratulations to Darren Close, Sam Nogajski and Mike Graham-Smith on their appointments to the Cricket Australia National Umpire Panel for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Close, who has sat on the supplementary panel for three seasons, has been elevated and joining Nogajski and Graham-Smith who have sat on the NUP for nine and eight years respectively.

The appointment of Close to the NUP is recognition of his commitment and dedication to cricket. He debuted as an umpire in a first class fixture as an 18 year old in the Sheffield Shield match between Tasmania and Victoria during the 1986-87 season. Between 1987 and 1992, Close stood in 20 first class fixtures, 17 Sheffield Shield matches and three tour matches that saw Tasmania take on New Zealand, the West Indies and Pakistan. In the same period, Close also stood in two List A matches including the 1986-87 One-Day Domestic Cup final between Tasmania and South Australia. 
 
Close’s umpiring journey was temporarily interrupted when he moved to the United Kingdom. Upon his return, Close quickly reacquainted himself with the umpiring pathway and returned to his roots in Cricket North West’s competition in the 2014-15 season while also making several appearances in the Cricket Tasmania Premier League competition. Close continued to stand in both competitions in 2015-16 and was rewarded with appointment to the 2015-16 Under 17 National Championships and the CTPL First Grade Grand Final where he was partnered with Graham-Smith.

As a member of the Tasmanian State Umpire Panel, Close stood in several representative matches and was subsequently appointed to the Under 19 International Series between Australia and Sri Lanka. Over the last couple of seasons, his workload has increased significantly officiating in the BBL, WBBL, WNCL and Toyota Futures League.
 
Cricket Tasmania Chief Executive Dominic Baker said that Close’s elevation demonstrates the strength of the Tasmanian system.
 
“Darren’s elevation now sees Tasmania occupying 30 percent of the National Umpiring Panel which is an exceptional result for the state”, said Baker. “It highlights the strong umpiring pathway we have in Tasmania, and the dedication to the sport by all our umpires.”
 
“Congratulations to Darren, Sam and Mike on their appointments, and I wish them well in the upcoming season.”
 
Sam Nogajski is also a member of the ICC International Panel, and was recently awarded the 2019-20 Cricket Tasmania State Umpire of the Year.

Umpire training will soon be resuming for the upcoming season.

If you are considering becoming a cricket umpire, please contact Cricket Tasmania Match Officials Manager, Kyla Paine, on 0403 696 794 or email kpaine@crickettas.com.au