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Preparing for the season ahead

Posted in ECB ACO

It’s Sunday 24 February as I sit in front of my laptop penning this blog.

This means, of course, that it is just seven weeks before I find myself walking to the middle, with my colleague, to supervise the toss in my first appointment of the season, a game in the Rutland & District Cricket League.

This does pre-suppose that the unpredictable British weather will behave itself and not do its best to ruin the season as, we all know, happened in 2012.

Hopefully, I can look forward to circa 70-75 appointments across the various competitions that I am involved in. Last season saw me officiate in 18 different competitions in 11 different counties – what will this season bring I wonder?

Very soon now I will need to check the regulations of these diverse competitions, to ensure that I am up to speed with any changes. In this respect, I note that the MCC are introducing a change to ‘Finn’s Law’ with effect from, I believe, 1 October.

I’ll also be thumbing through ‘Tom Smith’s’ to remind myself of some of the more obscure, less obvious law interpretations.

Another consideration, as the build-up to the new season gathers momentum, is my fitness level.

However, having walked – sometimes as far as 10-12 miles - on a regular basis throughout the winter, I am confident that this will not be a problem. Only three days ago I enjoyed a nine mile walk and earlier today saw me complete a routine four mile round trip with breakfast at the halfway point.

Aigburth rain

We all remember the terrible weather which ruined plenty of cricket last summer - I'm hoping for better luck this time round

As usual, I’ve been watching plenty of cricket around the world and was very pleased to see Anya Shrubsole, whom I’ve umpired at Loughborough University a number of times, perform so well for England in their, sadly, unsuccessful bid to retain their World Cup crown.

I have to agree with Charlotte Edwards’ assertion that poor batting cost them dearly.

Last weekend I attended one of my former club’s annual dinner and presentation evening which was very well supported and extremely enjoyable. I hosted an umpires' table which included colleagues from the Birmingham Senior, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire County Leagues, all of whom appeared to enjoy the occasion.

Next Friday I’ll be attending the Leicestershire & Rutland ACO dinner and then, in early April, yet another dinner before the season gets underway.

I have to say that, for me, the winter has passed relatively quickly – I hope I’ve not spoken too soon - and the recent improved form of Northampton Saints, together with Northampton Town Football Club’s genuine promotion push, have helped to move things along nicely until I can once again immerse myself in our wonderful game.

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