Northern Ireland Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers

Latest Features

A View From the Middle

The last match I umpired was in early September at Woodvale, standing with Phil Thompson. There are not many memories of the game other than it took me about three days to thaw out. Game over, we checked the score books and confirmed the scores.

This was my first season back on the field after a two year break. Combination of health and a drop in enthusiasm combined to make me take that step, not because players were abusive to me, but more of this later. It was the lack of dedication and application of the basic skills by players. In any sport, there is a league within a league, normally consisting of the top four or five teams. This means that some umpires may be appointed to four or five good competitive matches in the season, especially when the appointments are so fairly managed by Ian Houston.

The question of discipline and respect is a matter of three groups of people, namely the captains, umpires and the governing body. These are listed in no particular order. Briefly I would comment on each. CAPTAINS. Law 42 covers the duties of the captains and I don't need to expand on this. I would say that both umpires and the governing body should ensure that captains are made aware of this. The sad part of it is that some captains are reluctant to accept the responsibility for ensuring good discipline from their players. They should know the Laws; ignorance of the Law is no excuse.

UMPIRES. In our Association we have the March and April meetings designed to cover any changes to the Laws and Regulations. We are reminded of our responsibilities regarding discipline. However I am not convinced that all of our colleagues are willing to submit the necessary forms. This is where things go so completely wrong. If umpires are not willing to report misdemeanours, how can they expect support from the governing body? We have all come across the situation where, on challenging a player for say, foul and abusive language, to be told that the previous weeks officials ignored the same offence. If the language results from a perceived wrong decision, this should not mitigate the required process. Some colleagues would say that it is useless to send in reports as miscreants are let off with a slap on the wrist. Colleagues, it matters not what the outcome of the incident results in, we must do the right thing and report. If anyone has been abused during the game, then it is not acceptable to accept an insincere apology at the conclusion of the game. Naturally, acceptance of the apology would be expected whilst informing the player that the incident would be reported. It will soon be apparent to all and therefore become an effective deterrent. The effectiveness and efficiency of the system will undoubtedly be diluted if umpires do not use it wisely and fairly. Reporting offences and misdemeanours is a sign of strength, not weakness.

GOVERNING BODY. Every cricket league gets the management body it deserves. However, if those managing it are kept in ignorance i.e. offences not being reported to them, then they will fail to function properly.

Joe Moore