I fell away from cricket when I left school, and even back then didn’t play much. But as I approached my 40s I came back into passing acquaintance with the game. First as an occasional village cricket spectator, then at the occasional county match, and after a couple of years of passive consumption I picked up a bat again and wafted it ineffectively at balls, mucking about in some of the most casual cricket you can imagine in the park with some friends. My passing acquaintance blossomed into affection and then love, and I wanted more. My ineffectively wafty batting and my worse bowling don’t really permit me to play seriously, so I decided to become an umpire.

In February 2019 I did the ECB’s level 1 umpiring course, and also that winter did some indoor umpiring for the Thornton Heath Cricket Club juniors. I also joined my local adult club, Beddington CC.

Meanwhile some of my casual cricket mates from the park had taken the game a bit more seriously and formed a side playing friendlies, so I approached them to see if they would let me get a few games under my belt. They did, and I didn’t mess up too awfully, so made myself available to Beddington. I’m now their regular umpire for the 4th XI, in a league where most matches are umpired by players, members of whichever team is batting at the time.

I’m going to use this blog to write a diary of how it goes, including my mistakes, very much inspired by the excellent book “What Was Wrong With That Then Umps?” by Matthew Stevenson. I will also comment on occasional matches at which I am just a spectator, and other cricket goings-on.


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