You will all be aware that each time you turn up for a match as an umpire you are being assessed from the minute you walk in the ground. From the groundsman to the tea ladies, the spectators, players and captains, all will have something to say about you.
On the official side you can be assessed in a number of ways. As a new umpire you will be accompanied by an experienced umpire on a few of your early games and they will be giving you a few informal tips and comments. They will also report back to the grading committee on your performance that day. You will also be assessed by an official NIACUS assessor who will monitor your game from start to finish, chat with you afterwards, and complete a report to be given to the grading committee with a copy to yourself. Also, every captain must complete an online umpires report for each match. This is marked under specific categories i.e. Decisions, Knowledge of Laws, Match Management, Teamwork and Weather. They can also add comments where necessary. If these comments are in any way derogatory the grading committee will discuss with the captain and if needed the umpire in question. Over the season these reports can show any trends or points that need addressed for an umpire. They are by no means the definitive method of grading our umpires as we feel our own Assessors provide the best reports.
We are actively trying to increase our assessors for next season and hopefully, you will see more of them at your matches.
Analysising the Captain's reports on a general basis, the reports show 94% with A/B marks. This is very positive and shows that overall teams are happy with our umpires and the standard is always improving. The marks are graded A to D so there is no sitting on the fence. The main complaints can be split into two categories. LBW & missed caught behind. We cannot debate these as there will always be differences of opinions in these decisions and we can only give what we see and hear. This can only be a problem if it repeatedly shows up on an umpire's reports. This has not been the case to date. The other category is where we make mistakes regarding laws or regulations. These can be eliminated. Paddy O'Hara stands up at our pre-season meeting each year and preaches from the MCC law book. I can only reiterate his words. You must read the regulations prior to each match as we all do so many varied competitions these days. There can be no excuse. Paddy has also written a couple of articles recently which cover some of the points that arose last season. They are on this website.