RAISING THE FINGER! A cricketing blog from an umpire’s point of view:
In his first season as a local league cricket umpire, Barnsley man Ian Parker gives his humorous take on his time in the middle……
Sunday the 26th of August. A day to remember in my club’s cricket calendar. It was the Dave Barker Pub Knockout 20/20 finals day.
Dave Barker. A man highly thought of in the village. Not just for his butchery skills, but for helping out the local community.
It was also the day when I was due to turn my bowling arm over again. Strap the pads on one last time after I had answered an SOS call to play for one of the four teams involved.
I ended up playing for more than one Not at the same time I hasten to add! Bowling and then facing my own delivery might have proven a touch difficult. Even for an umpire!.
The first game went well for me. Bowled well, took a wicket with my medium-paced dibbly dobbly deliveries, and went for nine runs off two overs.
Batting went well for me too. As any one who as seen me bat will tell you, I’m not the greatest. I even forgot how to pad up!. But I knocked nine off about five balls. One cultured straight drive that went for four, to rapturous applause form the thousands in the grandstands. Well that’s how it played out in my head anyway. The shot was as described. And it drew much amusement and applause from the two on-field umpires. Both of which I’ve had the pleasure of standing with in my first season. But the rest, sadly, nothing but a dream from my childhood.
The second team I filled in for fielded first and again I got chance to turn my bowling arm over. No need to use the WD40 this time. The two previous overs had loosened me up a treat.
I completed my two-over allocation for only seven runs and was compared to the West indian Joel Garner! Quite a compliment!
But then the rains came and the day was sadly abandoned before the second semi-final was completed.
But much alcohol and various food was consumed and several hundred pounds raised for a very good club.
Sunday the 2nd September. I should have been umpiring a Section B game at Horbury Bridge. But again, maybe due to the previous weekend’s display as a player, I answered an SOS call from the second team’s skipper’s dad whilst watching Keith Hills Red and White army beat Bristol City!
Anyone who has ever taken a call at a football match will know its near on impossible to hear anything. But It turns out I was again playing cricket. And also it meant my whites weren’t washed. There then followed a swift dash home to get my kit washed and ready.
The game resulted in a 23-run defeat for us. But six overs, two for 29 and a cultured (ahem) 23 (my top score since school by a country mile) with the bat, was not to be sniffed at. In an 87-run partnership too. Wasn’t a bad return to action for an umpire.
Funnily enough, I didn’t get any favours from the umpire standing. Not that I deserved any. But I thought umpires stuck together. Umpires union and all that. How wrong I was! Maybe it was the fact I questioned one of his decisions. Maybe I should have concentrated on playing. Maybe as an umpire, I will grow to hate players like me….?!