Gin and tonic anyone?

Posted in ECB ACO

According to my calendar we are now into July. Where does the time go?

As I write this latest edition of my musings I am sitting by the pool of my family villa in glorious Turkey. The temperature is well into the late 30s and the gin and tonic is flowing very well, thank you very much.

I know what you are all thinking - ‘What kind of cricketing nutter, especially an umpire, goes on holiday midway through the season?’

In some part I agree but if you could see how lovely the Mediterranean looks as I type this I’m sure you wouldn’t begrudge me a break.

Anyway, back to umpiring. It has been a manic, but brilliant, season so far. I’ve been on the road so much and still love every minute of it.

The past few weeks have seen me standing at an MCC game against Brighton College, Sussex Academy games, countless league games and the 4th Round of the ECB National Club Championship where Bickley Park beat Eastbourne to progress to the next stage.

I have also had the pleasure of adjudicating, on two occasions, Monty Panesar as he turned out for Bexhill in the Sussex Premier Division. A smashing chap but with an almost certain appeal coming every other ball you need to keep your head in the game and make sure you’re watching the ball.

This is one of the many things I love about the Premier League, rocking up to a ground to discover new faces that are trying to get some practice in for themselves whilst helping the chances of a league team.

Over the past years on the panel I have had the pleasure of the likes of Alan Wells, James Kirtley and Dinesh Mongia to name but a few. All great guys and, as an umpire, fantastic to watch in action.

I also have a nice appointment to look forward to as I head up to Oakham School in a few weeks to umpire the Under-13 National Club Finals.

Monty Panesar

I enjoyed standing at Bexhill when Monty Panesar played but I had to stay alert

It’ll be fantastic to stand with some of my fellow YUA tutors and also to go back to Oakham – we used to play there regularly when I was at Stowe, of course beating them every time.

I feel very honored indeed to have been invited to take part.

On the YUA front I have had the immense pleasure to lead courses at Yateley Cricket Club and also to go to Chippenham to take part in a Young Officials day. This involved officials of all major sports leading groups of volunteer students.

For me to be able to chat to tutors from other sports gave me a greater understanding of how officials are trained outside cricket and in my group I had 23 willing candidates who wanted to learn more about the game.

We had a lively bunch that weren’t afraid to engage in great conversation and share experiences and stories.

The hot weather also made for some brilliant practical work as we played a few rounds of Kwik Cricket with everyone getting their chance as player or umpire.

As I left Chippenham for the long drive back to London I felt really proud of this fantastic bunch of guys and girls who took part. I hope they soon start on the umpiring ladder.

See you in the middle.