ICC Europe umpire Ben Lougheed reflects on THMF scholarship

Ben Lougheed
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 5:57 PM

ICC Europe umpire Ben Lougheed reflects on THMF scholarship
Ben Lougheed
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.

Ben Lougheed is one of the umpires who have benefitted from the scholarship he gives his account of the Under 16 County Cricket festival in Jersey where he was placed.

As in the previous summer I was lucky enough to be awarded the Trevor Henry Scholarship by ICC Europe which allowed me to officiate at the Standard Bank U16 County Cricket Festival which is annually held in Jersey.

This year there were six participating counties; Hampshire, Berkshire, Cheshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Jersey. The umpires were allocated to a county for whom they would umpire all week-in my case this was Jersey. The format was very simple; essentially the old one day international rules like those many teams play in English club cricket today (no power plays).

There were a few familiar faces from European cricket as Richard Eames was also umpiring and Gina Kearns was scoring for Jersey. Her husband Heath a newcomer to European cricket this season also attended several matches as a supporter.

Having already seen Jersey in action a couple of times I recognised several familiar faces amongst the Jersey players and coaching staff, which made things easier when it came to bowling changes, it was very encouraging to see how much many of the players had improved over the past twelve months and how well they held their own against the other counties who on paper at least were more experienced and stronger.

Jersey were in with a good chance of winning most of their matches but often were just unable to get over the line. They did however get a much deserved win against Oxfordshire bowling them out in the penultimate over to win by eight runs. This win was all the more impressive as Oxfordshire had beaten the only first class county Hampshire on the first day.

Having umpired Hampshire v Jersey on the last day with Richard Eames it is fair to say that they were easily the strongest team present and worthy winners of the tournament.

I can safely say that it has taught me a great deal about umpiring at a higher level, field-craft and man-management in tense matches when emotions are running high and there is a lot going on I also learned to appreciate the value of standing fairly close to the pitch at the strikers end and in keeping control of the pitch at all times as there were several incidents involving Hampshire which required immediate action. Thankfully due to my proximity I was able to deal with the issues promptly and keep control of the game.

Being able to umpire on grass pitches also greatly added to my experience as all cricket in Luxembourg and Belgium is played on artificial pitches so I rarely get the opportunity to learn about the necessary considerations such as any approaching weather, players potentially running on the pitch and when a pitch was unfit for play as this is different on artificial pitches.

I would like to say a big thank you to the Jersey Cricket Board for looking after me so well during the tournament, to ICC Europe for awarding me the Trevor Henry Scholarship which allowed me to make the trip and to all the other umpires and scorers who were kind enough to share their knowledge and experience with me. I hope to be able to take my standard of umpiring to the next level in 2012 as a result of the experiences gathered during this trip.

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