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Over and out

Posted in ECB ACO

September has finally arrived and whilst we begin to see a return of the warm weather, the 2010 cricket season has sadly come to a close.

Domestic league tables are sorted and as champions celebrate and those relegated look to the winter to regroup, umpires are placing kit bags in the back of the cupboard.

For me it all ended at Bexhill where Preston Nomads clinched their third consecutive Sussex Premier League title. Requiring just one further point to win, victory was assured within the hour as the visitors raced to 125 for the all important batting point.

Although the title had been claimed a fantastic game of cricket was played the rest of the day and, for me, it provided a fantastic end to a fantastic season.

August proved to be a very busy month as far as umpiring was concerned and it all began with the Under-13 National Finals at Oakham.

Though sadly we were rain affected quite badly on two of the three days it was brilliant to see the potential stars of the future battle it out for victory.

The mentoring scheme for the umpires was fantastic with self-assessment meetings and boundary assessment meetings taking place. The social side in the hotel and the company of my colleagues was second to none.

Whilst at Oakham, I received a phone call from my RAC about whether I fancied umpiring with him. I have always enjoyed this as we are both on the Sussex panel but on this occasion he was talking about the Nursery Ground, Lord's. Not something to turn down.

A beautiful Monday afternoon saw the ECB Chairman’s XI play the Cricket Writers XI a fantastic (and at times hilarious) game in the shadow of the home of cricket. The tea was great too.

Meanwhile, back down south, the league had been gearing up for our Twenty20 finals day at Preston Nomads. The winner of this would not only receive the league trophy but would also represent the county at the area finals of the Cockspur Club T20 the following weekend, also at Nomads. I had been afforded the great pleasure of an invite to umpire at both.

Horsham won the final of the league cup by a narrow win over Stirlands but was defeated in the semi-final the following week by a team from Bexley – one member of which hit a cracking 50 of 14 balls, and I don’t mind telling you that my arms were quite tired after that.

By the end of the day Wimbledon were the victors and will now play at finals day at the Rose Bowl.

Back in London, I attended an evening at Lord’s to listen to a talk by Messrs Bowden, Hill and Davis of the Emirates Elite panel. A thrilling evening of Q&A as they told a packed room great stories and gave their advice on umpiring and their own personal pathway from playground to test arena.

Well, as another season comes to a close, I have my usual chance to reflect. Whilst I would love to be playing a high level of cricket, this season has reinforced to me that I made the right decision to stay in the game through umpiring.

This season I have met and umpired people I admire on grounds that I probably would not get the chance to play on. It is an honour and a privilege to don the white coat and do this and I shall be forever grateful for those who have helped me get this far and continue to help.

I look forward over the winter to continuing teaching the YUA to young people, getting new candidates through the Level 1 in Sussex and continuing my own personal journey through Level 3.

Thanks to all of you for keeping up with my season – where does it all go? Oh well, I suppose next season isn’t that far away now, is it?

Well that’s it for now...over and out.