A trouser incident in Shifnal

Posted in ECB ACO

The month of June started quietly when, in the Rutland and District Cricket League (R&DCL) John Wilcox Cup, there was a predictable win for Bourne over Stamford.

This was followed by a ladies' under-17 match in which Northants were always in control against Leicestershire. However, the Leicestershire under-15 captain, playing in the higher age group, had the impressive bowling figures of 9-4-5-0, albeit in a losing cause.

Weather ruined what had promised to be an intriguing match between the sides who finished first and second last season in the R&DCL - Oundle and Godmanchester.

Godmanchester, the hosts, had won their previous three matches whilst Oundle, who had gone through last season unbeaten in the league, had already lost two matches. The match was delicately poised when rain washed out any prospects of play after tea, after the hosts had reached 238 in their 45 overs. My colleague and I both thought that the total was eminently gettable - we shall never know.

This month saw me officiate in my first Saturday match when I found myself at the scenic Stamford School ground. Wellingborough were the deserved victors but the game was not without incident.

I lost count of the number of LBW appeals I turned down, one of the Wellingborough players answered to the name 'Trig' (he did bear an uncanny resemblance to a young Roger Lloyd-Pack) whilst we admired two aerobatic displays which were part of a Military Tattoo nearby. Additionally, I recorded a first when I gonged the bell to indicate the resumption of play following the lunch and tea intervals.

The following day saw a tremendous league match between Rushton and Peterborough Town which the latter somehow won by three runs. The losing skipper was crestfallen and I felt particularly sorry for Rushton's South African who took the man-of-the-match award with a hard-hitting half-century and three wickets.

For me, the match was notable for the Peterborough skipper imploring me to signal a wide to enable him to have another ball at the Rushton number 11 who, with the greatest respect, did look a bit of a rabbit.

On Wednesday June 16th I ventured over to Shropshire to stand in a BSL T20 Cup Match which was memorable for a quite extraordinary, perhaps unique, catch. First slip appeared to spill a regulation catch but the ball fell through a hole in his flannels and lodged in his trouser leg where it was secured by the fielder's hand - bizarre. Bridgnorth, perhaps surprisingly, overcame their hosts, Shifnal.

A second round John Wilcox Cup match produced a score of 405 for five in 50 overs, a club record fourth wicket stand of 208, an innings by the New Zealand overseas player of 172, a total of 77 extras and a winning margin of 340 runs. During the course of the match, both my colleague and I signalled one short, and the unfortunate wicketkeeper was struck on the head by a batsman attempting a reverse pull.

Perfect cricket weather witnessed my first experience of powerplays when I was privileged to stand in a match between Leicestershire Women and Ireland A.

Unusually, the first two wickets in Ireland's innings were caught and bowled. Ireland were penalised two overs for slow play which ultimately contributed to a narrow defeat by 10 runs. The Leicestershire captain very much led by example.

My next appointment was at the picturesque Shipley Hall ground in Derbyshire (mind you, you need a degree in geography to find it - even with a satnav) for a 60+ County Championship game. My abiding memory of this particular afternoon will be a request by a Derbyshire batsman to look after his box which he was clearly having problems with. Unfortunately, from my point of view, he batted for quite a while.

I received just 24 hours notice of an under-15s boys' final in which Kibworth held off the challenge of Lutterworth to win a nail-biting match by four runs thanks, in part, to no less than five run-outs.

Medbourne are beginning, I suspect, to find life in Division 1 of the R&DCL rather tough following their promotion. A much depleted side lost inside two hours to Bourne after losing their last nine wickets for just eight runs. Bourne's Masood, who bowled fast and straight, finished with the impressive figures of 8-18.

Leicestershire 60+ are enduring a difficult season and have yet to win a match. They appear unable to score enough runs to put the opposition under any pressure.

Their latest defeat was at the hands of unbeaten Cheshire who completed a comfortable double with a comprehensive 10-wicket win as they reached their target of 209 with ease. Leicestershire 50+ are, on the other hand, yet to lose and could well progress to the knock-out stages of their competition.

A busy month ended with an under-13s cup semi-final in which Leicester Ivanhoe kept their nerve to record a two run win against Medbourne who conceded twice as many extras and were not quite as sharp in the field.

Looking ahead, the second week in July looks busy with five appointments scheduled. One unforseen benefit of umpiring is that I am fitter than I have been in a while and my weight is down to where it was more than 30 years ago.

May the good weather continue well into July and beyond.