Richard Eames describes his week umpiring in Jersey thanks to the Trevor Henry Memorial Fund

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 8:19 PM

The Trevor Henry Memorial Fund which raised money at the beginning of summer at the Governance and Administration Conference has benefitted many umpires across Europe by providing further development and education for them.

Richard Eames one of the umpires who have benefitted from the scholarship gives his account of the Under 16 County Cricket festival that he stood in.

I went to Jersey to umpire in the Under 16 County Cricket Festival thanks to the Trevor Henry Memorial Fund. All six teams invited played each other once and the umpires followed a team; mine was Hampshire and Ben Lougheed, who was also there thanks to the Trevor Henry Memorial followed Jersey. We met informally soon after arriving to run through the playing conditions and clarified the interpretation of wides with the tournament management, as consistency on this is imperative.

Hampshire won three of their matches with ease while their other two went into the final over. On Monday, Oxfordshire, who scored 190 for 8, thwarted a lower order rally to win by 9 runs after the last three Hampshire wickets added 93. On Wednesday, Hampshire chased down Cheshire?s 200 for 8 to win by 3 wickets with 3 balls to spare. Three counties started Friday on 3 wins, two finished with 4 from 5, and Hampshire won the Standard Bank Trophy thanks to that head to head result with Cheshire. The presentations took place in glorious evening sunshine, a symbolic reflection on the success of the week as a whole which was blessed by dry weather throughout.

There is always something to be learned to build into one's bank of umpiring experience. This week reminded me not to assume that just because it is the second or third time at a particular venue, everything will fall into place. There was a different groundsman on duty on each of the three days I was at one ground, so adjusting a boundary had to be done from first principles every time. Learning can also come by way of reinforcing known best practices. Keeping a run counter was helpful since even the most experienced scorer can miss something when without a full-time colleague and simultaneously trying to operate the complex gadgetry of an electronic scoreboard. Walking the ground before the match proved essential, not just for boundaries but also for the more unexpected such as a damp outfield over-watered during the night.

The type of cricket was different from my own domestic competition "grass wickets of course, spinners turning the ball appreciably, wicketkeepers standing up more, faster over rates requiring very intense concentration, and a consistently high standard of fielding. When umpiring juniors in a festival environment one always tries to take the educational approach" one example of this was giving two encroaching wicketkeepers a chance to modify their technique first before stepping in.

I would like to conclude by thanking the Jersey Cricket Board for their invitation and providing a schedule that had me fully occupied all five days, and ICC Europe for their generosity in funding from the Trevor Henry Scholarship. Had the weather been as warm as it was for the last two days throughout the whole week, standing five consecutive days would have been much more tiring, and it made one appreciate the qualities of physical and mental endurance that all elite umpires must possess.

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