Sussex Sports editor Mark Dunford is in his first year as a qualified umpire, after passing his ECBACO Level 1 course over the winter. He is recording his umpiring journey with a series of columns about his experiences.
In the past three weeks, I have umpired two Sussex Cricket League 2nd XI Division games - Horsham v East Grinstead and Roffey v Eastbourne.
And I have to say the standard for 2nd XI cricket in Sussex is very impressive.
Both games saw more than 500 runs and there were three centuries - two of which were unbeaten 150s.
Having done a couple of division 4 games I can partly see why the league want to restructure things so that teams are playing more against teams of their own standard.
Having seen Preston Nomads 2nd XI earlier in the season as well, I have seen easily four team who could hold their own in Division 4 or even Division 3.
If you would like to find out more about the ECBACO training courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email SACO secretary Derek Knight on email@example.com
Now back to the umpiring and this has not been great for weather but last Saturday at Roffey, it was the first time I did a game without my jacket.
I was worried about the lack of pockets without my trusty jacket, but with the ECB ACO-approved bum bag and belt loops, I was fine.
Standing out in the middle for six to seven hours is mentally draining and when the heat is so oppressive like it was on Saturday, it makes it even harder. But I felt I passed the test and it was nice to get some compliments from old colleagues at Eastbourne after the game.
Luckily all the controversy happened at my colleague Clive Worrell’s end. Don’t worry Clive, I am sure it will come my end next time we stand together.
This week I am back to Division 3 1st XI cricket for Crawley v Burgess Hill. It’s nice to have a game just round the corner from my house.
It’s top versus bottom and Crawley will be scrapping for every point. It will be a very intriguing match and I am standing with someone I haven’t stood with before so looking forward to that.
That is the joy I am finding with umpiring, standing with colleagues who have different styles, seeing how they deal with tricky situations and so on.
Also getting to stand in the middle while watching players like Walter Huchu (151 not out for Eastbourne against Roffey) and Sam Attfield (158 not out for Horsham v East Grinstead) is also an absolute privilege.
I am really enjoying this umpiring journey, be interesting to see where it goes.
Former first-class umpire Martin Bodenham is president of the Sussex Assocaition of Cricket Officals (SACO).
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