Drumahoe's Killen family make cricket umpire 'history'

Clarkie and Melanie Killen Image copyright North West Cricket Union
Image caption Howzat? The Killens were 'bowled over' to make history

Cricket appears to run in the blood for one County Londonderry family who have made history twice in one week.

Clarkie and Melanie Killen became the first father and daughter to officiate a senior game in Ireland, according to the North West Cricket Union.

The Drumahoe pair were in charge of Tuesday's game between St Johnston and Ballyspallen in the the Eric Cooke cup.

At the same time, Melanie Killen became the first ever woman umpire of a NWCU match.

"I like the sport, I've always been interested and I just wanted to give something back to it," Ms Killen told BBC Radio Foyle.

"I really hope that me being the first female official will encourage other ladies to come on board.

"The players helped me as well, it was really good to have my dad there just for that extra support."

'Women's game growing'

Her father Clarkie has been umpiring for a while but it was only last winter that Melanie, a keen cricket enthusiast, decided to sit the Level 1 course.

She passed "with flying colours" according to her tutors, and is now looking forward to a bright future in the sport.

"I was nervous at the start, first game, but it went well. Once I got into the match, second innings came round and I got really into the game," Melanie said.

"I had a few decisions to make but I was able to make them easy enough. Everyone was very nice to me, breaking me in gently as they say.

"Also, the abuse I hear umpires get, I don't know if that's going to come my way or not. It's just having to deal with those situations as they arise," she added.

A spokesman for the NWCU said: "We would like to congratulate both umpires and extend a very warm welcome to Melanie in particular.

"In an era when the women's game is growing at a rapid rate it is fantastic to see that participation extended into the officials' ranks as well.

"We hope that Melanie has a long and successful association within the Union and who knows, maybe beyond, and that she serves as an example to other women within the sport."

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