“As one of the youngest umpires in the Caribbean, it is a real honour to be part of the group to officiate in the Caribbean T20. I come from what people call a ‘cricket family’. Everyone in the family played cricket or has been involved in the game so I was around [cricket] from a very early age,” Reifer told WICB Media.
“It’s a special feeling for me to join other members of my family who have participated in cricket at this level. My father, my uncles and my cousins, have all done it as players and now I have been given the opportunity as an umpire.”
Reifer comes from one of the leading cricket families in Barbados. His father Leslie Reifer Sr was one of the leading club captains in the 1980s and also played for the island during its dominant era in the Shell Shield two decades ago.
His uncles – twin brothers Elvis and George – both played first-class cricket for Barbados in the 1980s. Elvis also had a stint with Hampshire in English County Cricket while George played for Scotland in the early 1990s.
His oldest cousin Floyd Reifer is the best known cricketer in the family. He played six Test matches and eight One-Day Internationals and led the West Indies in the 2009 series against Bangladesh and the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa. Now at age 40, he is player/coach of the Combined Campuses and Colleges team which includes another cousin, Ramon Reifer – a left-handed middle-order batsman and left-arm seam bowler.
“Umpiring with cousins on the field will be a unique occasion, I guess, but it won’t affect me,” Reifer said. “We all have our jobs to do. They have a job which is to try and win matches; while I have a job to do, which is to make the correct decisions and make sure everyone plays in the true spirit of the game. To me they are regular players.”
Reifer, who is presently pursuing a degree in Marketing at John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Canada, also represented Barbados at the Under-15 level but switched to umpiring at age 17. So far he has done matches in the West Indies Women’s tournament in 2011 and last year’s West Indies Under-19 tournament.
“My family has always encouraged me in everything. I get a lot of support from the people around me,” he said. “I enjoy being involved in cricket and I love umpiring. It’s enjoyable and I just strive to give my best.”
This is the fourth year of the Caribbean T20 tournament. Matches started at Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday and will run until Saturday, January 12. The tournament then moves to St Lucia for the second phase at Beausejour Cricket Stadium from Tuesday, January 15 to Sunday, January 20.
Guyana won the title in 2010, while Trinidad and Tobago won in 2011 and 2012.