In great news for the promotion of equality in the game, Cricket Australia has appointed Claire Polosak and Eloise Sheridan as the on-field match officials in the Marsh Sheffield Shield. This is a historic announcement as Polosak and Sheridan will be the first woman match officials in the tournament. Polosak will officiate the game between Western Australia and South Australia at the WACA on November 15th while Sheridan will umpire the Queensland and Victoria game at the MCG.
Both Polosak and Sheridan have previously officiated international fixtures with their last one being the ODI between Australia and West Indies. They have also been a part of the Marsh One Day Cup, the WNCL, and the men’s and women’s BBL.
Polosak and Sheridan both carry immense experience with them and have scripted various records. Polosak was the first woman to officiate a men’s domestic fixture in 2017 and became the first woman to stand in a Men’s ODI in 2019. She was also the first woman to stand in a Men’s test match during the Border Gavaskar Trophy in 2021.
Regarding her appointment, she said, “I am very much looking forward to standing in the Sheffield Shield match at the WACA Ground. Just like players, umpires are always working towards opportunities at higher honours, and this is undoubtedly another step forward on the pathway for umpires.
“Thank you to Cricket Australia, Cricket NSW and the NSW Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers’ Association for their support. I’d especially like to extend my appreciation to the countless umpiring colleagues that I have had the pleasure to stand with. I have learned from every single one of them and this appointment is standing on their shoulders.”
Sheridan started her journey as an umpire in South Australia. She eventually made her women’s test debut during the 2022 Ashes series and went on to umpire in the ICC Women’s World Cup. She too expressed her happiness at the opportunity of umpiring in Marsh Sheffield Shield and said, “I am excited to be making my men’s first-class debut and honoured to be doing so in the same round as Claire. This is a significant moment for umpiring in Australia, and hopefully we can continue to break down barriers for those who come after us.
“It also provides a great opportunity for others to recognise the important role that umpires play in the game and it might inspire a few budding umpires to join the team. I am proud that my hard work has resulted in this opportunity and excited to see what the future holds in my umpiring career. I am really grateful for the support from Cricket Australia and SACA along the way, as well as my family and friends.”
On this historic appointment, Cricket Australia’s Umpiring Chairman of Selectors Damien Mealey said, “It is testament to the strong CA umpire pathway that both Claire and Eloise have progressed through our elite domestic competitions before officiating in international women’s T20, ODI and Test matches.
“More recently, both attended the Commonwealth Games and represented their states and Australia proudly with exemplary performances. As pioneers in women’s officiating, they have set and maintained a high standard and thoroughly deserve this accolade of becoming Australian cricket’s next first-class umpires.”
Their appointment is a momentous day in the history of the game and will surely pave the way for woman umpires going forward.
(Quotes sourced from cricket.com.au)
Vaishnavi is a passionate author with an unwavering love for cricket, particularly women’s cricket. Her writing reflects her deep admiration for the sport and her dedication to promoting women’s participation in it. When she’s not following the latest cricket matches, Vaishnavi can be found engrossed in books or enjoying movies.