I was never good enough to play cricket, but the next best thing is to umpire, and this I’ve been doing since 1987. 32 long years, full of joy, of pain, of disappointment and of satisfaction.
Certainly today’s game was one of joy and satisfaction. It was a thrilling finish to a really fluctuating game. And I loved being in the middle, enjoying the drama, but concentrating hard and having to make the right decisions.
With no colleague to assist me, I had to do both bowler’s end in both innings. That’s a long day and my back was complaining many times, and of course, the weather was often cold and blustery, as has often been the case this summer.
The finish of the game, as I said, was full of tension, drama and entertainment. My club were chasing the runs but had made it difficult for themselves, hence the tension. With four overs to go, and two wickets to fall, my experience was called upon as the fielding team led a concerted appeal for a catch behind the wicket. However, the ball hit the batsman’s pad and I said loudly and decisively “Not Out” before pointing to my leg and indicating where the contact was made. One or two fielders started to get a bit excitable but calmed down when it was clear I had got it right, under pressure. The square leg umpire, one of our dismissed batsman, complimented me on my decision.
I felt really good about getting a decision right at the real nitty gritty of the game. That wasn’t all. One of our guys who had 100 runs to his name was struck on the pad and I had to raise my index finger this time to signify lbw. No complaints at all, and then we had the last pair at the wicket with four runs to get.
It’s fair to say that our last pair were hanging on but the number 10 hit a glorious shot to the boundary for the winning runs amid wild and raucous cheering from the team. A magnificent finish to a cracking match and you know, I feel lucky to be in the middle and enjoying the atmosphere. It’s days like today that you store in the memory bank and call upon them when things get tough.
Tired now though, and I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep. But what a day.