View from the Middle
January 21, 2013
We are now into ‘flaming June’ so fingers crossed, we will not have the rain breaks we suffered in April/May
Life as an ECB Reserve List Umpire is going well. Lots of decisions made and as we all know, batsmen are never out and everything is out according to the bowler. Hopefully I haven’t ruined too many people lives (a daily comment from the B3 Managing Director).
I have been allocated some excellent fixtures this season and to date I have done two LVCC matches, four First Class County 2nd XI matches, a First Class University match, a YB40 match, third umpire on Sky TV, Derby League Cricket etc.
The Sky TV experience was brilliant. I shadowed Neil Bainton from the Full List at the Somerset CCC v Warwickshire CCC match. Neil was great at explaining ‘the job’ but the only action we had was a boundary decision which was pretty straight forward but good experience.
My first experience of Third Umpire was the Durham CCC v Essex CCC in a YB40 match at the Emirates Stadium. Having studied the regulations and Third Umpire protocol I was ready to go. Trevor Jesty and Martin Bodenham were the match umpires and we went through the protocol to make sure everyone was happy with their roles. I introduced myself to Mark, the Sky TV Director, who was brilliant to work with. All preparation complete so off we go.
The first job is to tell Mark the Umpires are ready to go and is it OK to leave the Umpires room. Once everyone is in place on the field you check with Mark if it is OK to start and once you get confirmation you relay the information to the Umpire on field via ‘Walkie Talkie’. The match can then begin…
Midway through the Durham innings I have my first review. The boys have told me that once the signal comes from the middle the heart misses a beat and the first reaction is panic! Well, the heart certainly missed a beat but thankfully no panic. The decision was a run out. A direct hit from the boundary against Ben Stokes. The discussion with Mark went something like; ‘Mark, show me what you have’. Mark showed me a side on view at full speed followed by a slow motion view. It was extremely tight and I could not be sure from what I had seen. ‘Mark, show me the slow motion view again please’. I still could not be 100% sure. ‘Mark, could you rock the side on view’. From this I could see Stokes was just short so I gave Mark my decision. ‘Mark decision is OUT, I repeat OUT’. Mark then displays the decision on the big screen. First decision complete.
During the match I also did the time keeping for the on-filed umpires to advise each team if they were up with the required over-rate.
The second referral came in the Essex inning, a stumping by Phil Mustard (great lad) against Pettini. I went through all the available evidence as previous but could not be 100% sure Pettini was out so the decision had to go with the batsman, ‘Not Out’
I have to say, the Third Umpire role is a lot easier sitting on the sofa at home with a cup of tea in hand and no pressure. However, a most enjoyable day and remember, if the Umpire gives you out, simply put your bat under your arm and get off the field……………………