This is former Test match cricket umpire from Australia, Steve Davis. Steve retired from international umpiring three years ago but now works in our summer over here in the UK, being a mentor and buddy to our first class cricket umpires here.
Tonight, he spoke at our Essex county Umpires Dinner. He was due to last year, but sadly got the news he had prostate cancer. Fortunately, he is on the mend and proceeded to entertain us all tonight with a fund of stories from his 25 year career as an international umpire.
Not only that, it was a night of good food, good wine, good fellowship, lots of laughs and Steve Davis to top it off. I was impressed by how personable and affable he is, and his humour is laced with a typical Australian laconic bluntness that got the audience laughing on many occasions.
Also, he recounted the appalling terrorist atrocity that he was caught up in Lahore in 2009, along with fellow umpire Simon Taufel, the match referee and fourth umpire who was badly wounded by a gun attack on the bus travelling to the stadium. It was a horrifying story and very graphic, and superbly told. There for the Grace of God go I. There is a moral in that story is that cricket is only a game, and people get very agitated about trivialities. That terrorist attack was proof that life and family is more precious.
A fabulous night. Steve came up to all of us and introduced himself, and called my table the “rowdy table”!! Not rowdy at all, just enjoying the vibe. Great to see so many of my colleagues, past and present, and though the umpiring flame has been extinguished for me, still being involved in a lesser capacity is very cathartic and therapeutic.
I could have listened to Steve Davis for hours, and he gave a lesson to us never to get too big for our boots. A memorable and fun night, without question.