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Diary of a Part Time Umpire

David Morton/Neale Matthews

Everyone involved in local cricket at the moment will be aware of the serious shortage of umpires involved in the game. The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) would like to encourage anyone at all interested in taking up umpiring to contact Ian Houston by email  and you will be invited along to give it a go.

A short evening long course will cover all the basics you will need and best of all you'll get paid for the matches that you umpire!

For those interested in part time umpiring or have some questions, Neale Matthews, NCU Assistant Director, undertook some part time umpiring last season and has kindly opened his diary of his experience....

Diary of a Part Time Umpire - By Neale Matthews Aged 49½ (NCU Assistant Director)

I was asked to put in writing my experiences last year when Ian Houston persuaded me to stand in a few (3) games towards the end of the season. We are all aware of the diminishing numbers of umpires, although I doubt a single voice would ever be raised lacking sympathy for the concerns this raises. What we don’t have are numbers. The NCU have come up with new proposals which are I believe to be innovative, club friendly and easily achievable.

There are however a number of reasons why players/fans are unwilling to take up the challenge of umpiring. I want to outline some of these and respond with my own experience.

  1. I want to watch my own club – I stood on 3 Saturdays. I watched my own club on numerous occasions. Particularly with the proliferation of Sunday cricket and re-arrangements there are plenty of opportunities. I will stand again this year, I will watch my own club and kids and will probably even turn out for a few games.

  2. I don’t have the gear and don’t want to pay for shirts/jackets etc for a few games of cricket – I didn’t have the gear and still don’t. I had a white shirt, club tie and black trousers. Clubs still have the white umpires coats if required. It was more than sufficient.

  3. I have no experience – you are appointed with an experienced umpire who keeps you right on the technicalities. They are told in advance they will be with a part-timer and will also dress in the same manner as you.

  4. I don’t want the hassle from players – honestly, none! Players were greatly appreciative of having umpires (part-timers will not be doing Waringstown -v- North Down). The only thing I got from the players was craic and a bit of stick about my age/weight etc.

  5. I don’t know the laws – unusual this one as everyone I’ve ever played with is apparently (like me) an expert. Well, you DO know the basics and the rest is in the book. Personally I now have a better understanding of the laws of the game, and that in itself is no bad thing.

  6. I don’t want to commit to a 6 week training course – neither do I. I didn’t. I wont. But one evening for a ‘refresher’ or ‘basics’ evening as is being proposed. No bother.

Overall the experience was genuinely enjoyable – even more so when a cheque arrived by post at the end of the season!

I would encourage everyone with a love of the game not to ‘give up’ 1, 2 or 3 Saturdays during the season, but to ‘enjoy’ 1, 2 or 3 Saturdays by watching a game form the best seat in the house, and to contribute to the game that has given you so much over the years.

For anyone interested in umpiring occasionally, part time or on a more regular basis, please contact Ian Houston by email  and for more information