TRIP OF A LIFETIME: Umpire Bruce Baxter will fly out to the UK next week with an SCG Trust team, which will watch two days of the Ashes at Lords.
TRIP OF A LIFETIME: Umpire Bruce Baxter will fly out to the UK next week with an SCG Trust team, which will watch two days of the Ashes at Lords. Adam Hourigan

Tour of cricket's home on itinerary for leading local umpire

CRICKET: Umpiring gave Grafton cricketer Bruce Baxter one of his greatest thrills, standing in the middle at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Now being one of the black and white brigade has him on the verge of a tour of a lifetime, umpiring for a Sydney Cricket Ground Trust touring team about to jet off to the UK for three weeks of play that just happens to coincide with an Ashes series.

Baxter said the invitation to tour came as a pleasant surprise.

"The SCG Trust has tours to most parts of the world but, being an Ashes year, they chose England this winter,” Baxter said.

"They needed to take an umpire. They asked me and I was more than happy to accept.”

While the tourists will play about a dozen matches during the tour, they are taking time out to watch a couple of days of Ashes play at the home of cricket, Lords.

"It will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lords ground as well as lunch in the Long Room,” Baxter said.

"It will be a coat and tie affair. They're pretty keen on their traditions at Lords.”

Baxter said the touring team did not include any world-beaters.

"They're trust members, mostly second or third-grade cricketers who have the time and the money to make this tour,” he said.

"We will play an MCC team on the tour as well as visiting plenty of county grounds.”

Umpiring has given Baxter many opportunities to fulfil lifelong ambitions, such as stepping onto the SCG, which he did for the first time in December 2016 for the Thunder Conference final of the Plan B Regional T20 Bash.

But he believes this could top it.

"It's going to be the trip of a lifetime,” he said.