One short at Loughborough
Posted in ECB ACO
My name is Alan Pearce - I live in Market Harborough and am qualified as a Level 2 umpire. I retired at the end of the 2008 season but did play six games last season including three on tour.
Sunday afternoons from mid-April to mid-September have always been synonymous with cricket as far as I am concerned so, at the start of last season, I made myself available for The Rutland & District Cricket League which attracts clubs from east and south Leicestershire, Rutland, south Lincs, Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire.
This well-established and thriving league, which comprises seven divisions, appoints panel umpires to all Division 1 games and although the cricket is mainly competitive and can include current Minor Counties players, it does, perhaps, lack the intensity of, say, the Everards Leicestershire League or the Lincolnshire Premier League. There is, however, some very good cricket on offer.
I was delighted to stand in 18 games last season and, having made myself available for mid-week games this season, I have set myself a target of 40 matches. Time will tell how realistic this figure is.
In my first game I awarded the man of the match award to an off-break bowler on the losing side although I became aware that two members of the victors were looking over my shoulder in the hope that they were worthy recipients.
My next foray involved a first ever visit to Loughborough University where I was introduced to Graham Dilley.
Although the match my colleague and I were officiating in was not on the main square we witnessed a superb game of cricket with the hosts prevailing by one run off the very last ball of the match in which over 550 runs were scored.
This, for me, was 100 overs of full-on cricket with, seemingly, left and righthanded batsmen in tandem at the crease throughout both innings. To say I felt shattered the next day would be something of an understatement.
My travels then took me to Medbourne which is very much a local fixture being just 15 minutes up the road. Medbourne were promoted last season and this, I believe, is their first taste of Division 1 cricket.
Undaunted, they dispatched their visitors, Wisbech Town, for just 110 and lost but four wickets in reply. It is claimed that I gave the visiting number 11 out caught off his shoulder. I have replayed the incident in my mind a number of times and believe I would give the same decision again based on what I saw.
My next game which, like the match at Loughborough the previous week, was in the BUSA Championships and became a very painful experience for me.
Standing at the bowling end, I momentarily - that's all it took - lost sight of a thunderous straight drive which crashed into my groin like an exocet missile. To say I was poleaxed would be, perhaps, over cooking the egg but I certainly sank to my knees and I am told took a good ten or 15 minutes to recover.
Thankfully I was able to continue and finish an excellent match which saw Leicester University overcame their opponents from Cambridge by five wickets with ten balls to spare.
My first four appointments have certainly been full of incident and good cricket - long may it continue but with one notable exception.
Weather permitting, my most recent game fell victim to the weather, I will have stood in seven matches by Wednesday.