Wide boys and spirit levels

Posted in ECB ACO

Now that I am back from Trent Bridge, the world is almost 'normal' again - except of course for the fact that our days in the office are now pleasantly interrupted by the enthusiasm of the PA system announcing something or other.

Just last Monday we had the Middlesex Panthers playing the Rajasthan Royals on a very showery evening made even more 'sparkly' by our new floodlights, and on Tuesday we had the last women's ODI between England and Australia that ended in a wash-out when the 'monsoon' started.
 
But I cannot leave the memories of the ICC World Twenty20 without giving you a couple of insights - without, of course, breaking the accepted code of silence for the events 'on tour' staying 'on tour'.

As the Officials' Liaison Officer based at Trent Bridge, my role was to look after them by being with them for all the time once we left the hotel until we returned, including driving them in our own vehicle, making sure the changing room was kitted out for their needs, making sure they had tea and sandwiches, that the fridge was full, the balls were there, the radio batteries charged, and the access for the third and fourth umpires and referee to their 'studio' was clear and easy.

All this was fairly effortless thanks to the fact that as with most county grounds, there is a 'magician' in a kitchen-cum-cupboard under the stairway, a provider and problem-solver - and our's was run by 'George', a legend in his own teapot.

Also, I have to say that apart from Trent Bridge being a very 'pretty' ground now that most of the new-build is complete - it seats 17,000 making it one of the best in the land - it is a very friendly and informal county 'home'.

My chats with Derek Brewer, the affable and business-like Chief Executive, were a delight and I hope that he will become a regular contributor to our newsletter on matters to do with ground and club administration and relationships with officials.

Back to those couple of insights. The first was the debate all us umpires constantly have - wides and the novelty of the guidelines being introduced to Twenty20 matches to take the guesswork from, say, a right-arm-round bowler delivering to a right-hand bat with the ball cutting across him from leg to off and further to off...asking for the choice of opinion of when/where that delivery crosses that guideline.

Needless to say there were various opinions given and it would be fair to say the jury is still out on that one, possibly with a view to whether the lines are indeed any help at all.

The other one is more of a social observation in that it is evident that the 'Spirit of the Game' does still apply even at the highest International levels, and it was a particular joy to see how my elite guys got on so well with players, captains, and their sometimes eccentric ways and mannerisms.

So much so that it reminds me of what we are trying to do from this season on, which is to almost force an improvement in relations between players and officials by having the two captains and officials meet in the middle at the toss - and more, I would even suggest that the scorers are there as well, why not? And don't say because they are always late - many of them aren't.

Anyway, back to the office, and the question of those £10 refund to all of you who came across from ACU&S; then the next newsletter, and the comparison of the L1 course takers to joining members, and so much more...

Have a good second-half to your season - as I am about to have my left cataract done, so no umpiring yet, but maybe the last two weeks...