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Life in the fast lane

Posted in Domestic Cricket

I umpired my first Twenty20 game between Nottinghamshire and Durham at Trent Bridge and I loved it. Having played there for seven years it was great to stand out in the middle with all the new stands in front of a big crowd. The ground has changed so much from when I was playing there.

It was a brilliant game of cricket which went down to the last ball.

The other umpires told me I would enjoy Twenty20 games and they were right. I can see why the players like that form of the game so much. It’s very intense and fast.

I have been getting used to changing from Friends Provident Trophy rules and regulations to Twenty20 cricket. You need to be switched on before you go out to umpire. What are the fielding restrictions? How many catchers are there?

I was fortunate to stand with some experienced umpires who know the different rules. Rob Bailey, Nigel Cowley and Vanburn Holder are so experienced that if you have a question then you know you are going to get an answer back straight away.

It’s a great safety net having guys like that to help you along. You can read the rules and regulations as many times as you like but it’s the experience of being out in the middle which really counts.

The umpires have been in the news a lot recently.

Peter Willey and Michael Gough, the umpires standing for the FPT game between Somerset v Middlesex game, got the number of Power-play overs wrong. Power-plays are new to the domestic game and it could have happened to anyone. The umpires put their hands up as soon as they realised they had made a mistake and reviewed their strategies to apply the playing conditions accurately.

The ECB then did the right thing by upholding the result of the match.

We had a situation during the recent Warwickshire v Kent FPT game which ended up being a tie on the Duckworth-Lewis method. I was the third umpire that day while Nigel and Jeff Evans were out in the middle. I was busy making sure we had all the calculations correct.

When the rain came Warwickshire were level with the par score which meant the game was tied. We tried to get back out but we ran out of time which meant Warwickshire did not qualify for the quarter-finals.

There was some confusion at the end but it is simple – you need to beat the Duckworth-Lewis score if you want to win the match.

The Duckworth-Lewis system is pretty straightforward as there are computer programmes which work out the scores. It’s not a case of sitting there and having to work it out yourself.

I have to say the standard of play this season has been very high. Teams have improved on last year.

I have umpired Somerset a couple of times and they appear to be a very well organised and well drilled unit. They have a lot of good players there too.

I have not noticed too many individual performances during the last two weeks. When you are umpiring you are so focused on your game that you tend to ignore the players. When I was umpiring Sussex v Durham I didn’t even know Ed Joyce was closing in on a hundred until people started clapping him.

I have a busy period coming up with Twenty20 games at Old Trafford, Headingley, and two at Edgbaston. Then I am off to Chelmsford for a Championship game.