The class of 2009

Posted in ECB ACO

The last few weeks have seen a switch from working on the results of the Level 1 courses that ended with exams in March and issuing the certificates (they really do look the business don’t they?) to now following all that up by checking how many of those candidates have actually joined us.

What I am then planning to do is to monitor ten per cent of the new ‘09’ intake and log the personal progress of these 100-or-so individuals over the next few years.

This has never been attempted before but shows yet again how dedicated we are to focus on how all of you organize your umpiring and scoring lives.

Also in the last two weeks I have brainstormed with colleagues regarding a patron for the ACO. This comes from the thought that most organizations enjoy having a figurehead and if it is the right person – usually royal, aristocratic, celebrity or business boss – who is keen on cricket, then there is mutual benefit from the link.

Finally, after months of technical tricks, we have organised the answerphone on our membership hotline - 0207 432 1240 - so now calls will ring first on my line and then Sam’s, and if both of us are engaged, it will now pass to the message bank.

The increasing flow of calls prompted by so many direct debits being absent have caused us problems and as I am only part-time in the office, this has not helped – but we are now confident that if we do not speak with you, one of us will have called you within 48 hours.

My next most important task is to create the second edition of the ACO Newsletter and having spent so many years writing many of Kuoni’s beautiful travel brochures, to ‘pretty-up’ what is mainly a technical round-up for a closed-user group will, I hope, enable me to raise the impact, content, and scope of our association’s flagship medium.

Of course, this then suggests that if it is to become a magazine it cannot be another Wisden or All-Out Cricket but something in between? Anyway, I very much look forward to see it develop. So, do bombard me with name suggestions, articles and pictures.

My other work, which is on-going, is to run the Membership Services Committee that reports to the board. Why this affects you is that I am asking for volunteers from among you to act as your region’s representative on this committee – all you need to be is enthusiastic about what you do and what you think we need to be doing. As long as you are a competent umpire or scorer and want to help the ACO give members what they need, send me an e-mail.

Finally, as the only other ‘active’ official here, I have to say I will miss wearing my new blouson out on the Surrey pitches over the next few months because I have just become a happy recipient of a new, artificial, lens to replace the cataract-cloudy natural one that I had in my right eye.

This will give me some time to observe you from the boundary and take pictures for the assessment and mentoring programmes being planned. So every cloud does have a silver lining and in my case, a diamond one.

Next time you read this, I will probably be up at Trent Bridge for the whole period of the World Twenty20 looking after the officials based there for the tournament.