And so it begins...

Posted in ECB ACO

May is upon us, the clocks have gone back and the sun seems to stay up well into the evening. Could this mean what I think it does?

Yes indeed, the cricket season has finally arrived. All over the country aspiring cricketers are cleaning the mud off their spikes and oiling bats, whilst hundreds of umpires from Bedfordshire to Yorkshire are returning to their kit bags – only to wish they had put those blousons in the washing machine back in October.

As for me, my season is now underway with friendly club fixtures and my regular pre-season appointments at a local college as 1st XI umpire.

I’m currently beginning my fifth season with the Sussex Premier League and with the first fixture done and dusted I’m looking very much forward to a busy season in the middle. Even though the season has started I’m still busy checking up on regulations and reminding myself of local eccentricities.

Over at my local ACO in Sussex (Hastings and District) I am delighted to report that the Level 1 training course, of which I am one of the tutors, has had a 100 per cent pass rate and these chaps can now return to their clubs – or those starting on feeder leagues – with a well-deserved feeling of accomplishment and a greater understanding of the great game.

This is a great achievement for our association and for Sussex and I am delighted to be part of a team dedicated to providing great training and support for potential umpires.

It has also been a smashing few months for the Young Umpires Award. So far I have led courses in Bury, Herts and Bromley and each time I have been delighted to find classrooms full of engaging people wanting to learn about the laws of cricket and get involved with the volunteering aspect.

I’m not sure how many will be able to complete the three matches to umpire within their playing season, but if only one does then I think it will make this excellent course worthwhile.

Even though I’m involved in the YUA my own training hasn’t finished. Last month I and several other umpires, including two of my fellow YUA tutors, travelled up to Reading to begin our journey to Level 3, which is our preparation for multi-day cricket.

Alasdair Shaikh

I'm umpiring my fifth season in the Sussex Premier League but I know I still have plenty to learn about being an umpire

Arriving on the Saturday night a group of us, including ECB ACO’s Nick Cousins and Sam Greaves, met around the dinner table to laugh and talk about various things and our expectations for the following day.

The next day we were treated to the first two of six modules required for the qualification. Led by Dave Burden and Chris Kelly, these were Self Management and Limited Over Cricket.

Whilst my mind is still in overdrive after the powerplay section I found the day enjoyable and informative and look forward to the remaining four modules to take.

It was also interesting for me to experience my first ECB ACO training course as a candidate – all my previous exams had been under the old ACU&S.

Well, time for me to depart to my darken room to read some more regulations – Saturday isn’t that far away.

See you in the middle.