Keep umpiring - the alternative is less attractive

Posted in ECB ACO

When one is pushing on in years, packing as many matches into a fortnight is not very clever. However, the alternative is far less attractive so one has to go through the pain barrier.

Eight matches in 14 days is not very excessive but driving vast distances within or outside of Cumbria is more demanding than officiating. One should not grumble as visitors as well as locals get great pleasure from viewing this beautiful part of the UK.

As we cannot drive in a straight line due to those large hills and the volume of visitor traffic, one has to anticipate all types of problems so that you arrive at the ground on time.

My two weeks started on a Thursday with Barrow v Kendal in a Twenty20 game. It was two good sides boasting two excellent pros. The match was reduced to 15 overs as rain interfered, plus the Air Ambulance touched down on the hospital helipad right next to the cricket field. Barrow eventually emerged winners.

Two days later I was umpiring Keswick v Kirkby in the North Lancashire League. It was a very hot day at Fitz Park, a Minor Counties ground and recently voted one of the most picturesque in the UK. Kirkby batted first but were all out for 106. The Keswick pro, a home grown lad from Durham, took most of the wickets and Keswick knocked off the total for the loss of six wickets.

On Sunday it was Burneside v Shirehead & Forton in the Cumbria final of the National Village Knock-out. Another blisteringly hot day, it was like standing out in the Gobi desert, but an excellent match produced a tight finish with Burneside being the victors.

On Thursday was Kendal v Barrow in another Twenty20 match, this time played in overcast conditions. It was rather one-sided as Kendal succumbed to bad batting once more, Barrow the more organised and disciplined in reaching yet another victory over the 'Mintcake' lads.

Two days later I was umpiring another North Lancashire League game, this time Carlisle v Lanacost in what turned out to be another uneven contest. Lanacost did not perform on the day and do not have a pro while Carlisle have a Sri Lanka Under-21 international. Carlisle bowled out Lanacost cheaply and then went on to knock off their score for the loss of four wickets.

Stewart Hulse

Stewart Hulse has enjoyed a busy period umpiring but he is not ready to call it quits just yet

Twenty four hours later it was Netherfield v Carlisle in the Cumbria County Cup. Again this match was played in very hot conditions and with leg side wides being much in evidence, the final score was a tie - 194 per side. However, Netherfield lost fewer wickets and came out victors.

On Thursday I was at Warton Cricket ground near Carnforth for a two-day game between Cumbria and Scotland Under-17s. Thursday was the hottest yet, even hotter than the Gobi desert. Cumbria batted first but the top order capitulated against a fast Scottish attack. Fortunately for them the lower order came good and they finished 174 all out. At close of play on the first day Scotland had mustered 114 for five.

The following day was a complete contrast in terms of weather - overcast skies and a weather forecast prediction of rain by midday. After one and quarter hours the rain did come, by this time Scotland had scored 186 for six. As we never got back on the field after an early lunch, Scotland won a one innings game.

I now look forward to another three matches in as many days but anything is better than DIY.