Northern Ireland Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers

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Match Referee - June 2020

My journey to becoming a Match Referee for Cricket Ireland began when CI had a website entry inviting applications for the available positions. A short time later I was invited to Stormont for an interview with Simon Dyke, who was the Cricket Operations Manager. An extensive interview covered Man Management, Discipline, Calculations and the ability to work in harmony with the Umpires and Scorers. Later a meeting of the Referees was held in Ballymascanlon, when we discussed the different report forms that had to be completed.

Match Referees are expected to be at the ground to greet the Umpires on their arrival. This can mean being at the ground 2 hours prior to the scheduled time of play. This time was used to talk to the Scorers and Umpires. To confirm with the Caterers, the time for lunch. To talk to Scott Irvine, the National Performance Analyst. Another person to talk to was the person who was the Liaison Manager, who in most of my matches was Uel Graham. Uel was responsible for getting any printing done and arranging Drinks. At the lunch break, or at the innings break, in the absence of a 3rd. Umpire, the Referee is responsible for the supervision of the pitch, ensuring that the 7 minutes rolling is observed and to keep players away from the pitch.

Other people to speak with before the match were Captains and Team Managers. The most conversations occurred at the conclusion of the match when Captains and Managers were invited to comment on the game, ground conditions, catering and Umpires and decisions. Then the Referee has to be informed of any adverse comments. Scorers to be thanked and then a host of forms to be completed and sent to Cricket Ireland.

One of my first appointments was at North Down when the Knights played Leinster Lightning. The standing Umpires were Alan Neill and Roly Black, a 3-day game curtailed by rain for most of the time, but it gave me time to discuss the ins and outs of Refereeing, with two of the Senior Umpires, and I believe that this time helped me for the remainder of the season.

I then made the trip to Sydney Parade in Dublin when Knights played Lightning in a T50 game. The Officials were Alan Neill and Phil Thompson and on a sun drenched day with Lightning losing the toss and inserted, the good weather brought them nothing but misery. Mulder, Adair, Getkate, McCarter and Cameron-Dow, ripped through what was a strong side on paper, to have Lightning all out for 114. Knights began badly with McCallum falling to Chase in the 3rd.. over. Adair hammered bowlers until Chase took his wicket. Ellison fell cheaply and it was left to Tector and Wilson to seal a 7 wicket win.

On to a wet Holywood with Gary Blair and Dessie Milne where the Dragons entertained the Typhoons. However very few overs were completed before the rain returned and play wiped out.

Stormont was the venue for the return game with Knights and Lightning. Mark Hawthorne and Poly Black officiating in the 3-day game. Another cracking day and the good weather brought misery for Knights, when Dockrell and McCarthy took Lightning to victory.

I was lucky to stand in 7 games, which were all played with great regard to the Laws and the Spirit of Cricket.

Unfortunately, due to the reduction in revenue at Cricket Ireland, the Referees Panel has been stood down this season. Hopefully it will be resurrected in 2021. The experience I enjoyed, was excellent and anyone being offered a place in future years will find it a most enjoyable time.