Norwood Exiles vs Plastics XI, 2019-06-23

40/40 game. Plastics won the toss and batted first. Plastics 166 ao. Exiles 159 ao.

This is another ground that is in a public park, and shares the club house with the boating club that inhabits the nearby lake, which is separated from the cricket field by their boat yard. There’s a slight slope from one side of the wicket to the other down towards the lake. At one end there is a large tree which overhangs the field at well below head height. I asked if there was a local rule to deal with it, but there isn’t – so as per the standard Laws, the tree is entirely outside the boundary, including the overhanging bit, so you get four runs if the ball hits the ground and then either hits the tree or rolls over the boundary under the tree, and six runs if you hit the tree before the ground. Likewise if a fielder throws the ball and it hits any part of the tree that’s four overthrows.

When I arrived for the pre-match inspection there was a group sitting around – not on the square, which was roped off – having just finished a casual knock-about. The groundsman-cum-scorer was already there and between us we decided that of the two wickets that were ready to use we should use the one furthest from the lake, mostly on the grounds that we’d lose fewer balls. That it was marginally less green, being slightly higher and hence better drained, was a bonus. Being a public park there was unfortunately quite a bit of litter on the outfield, and I gathered up the most egregious of it, including some drinks cans that I’d not have wanted to slide over if I were a heroic fielder.

Again I shared the umpiring responsibilities with player-umpires throughout the day, although this time I was only doing one end.

I did better at signalling byes this time, but made up for it with a different howler. When a ball rolled under the tree I signalled for four runs even though it was miles from the boundary. The chasing fielder, the scorers, and the gaggle of waiting batsmen on the boundary all yelled at me so I swiftly corrected myself. Pedometer data shows that for the first half of the match I was moving a consistent amount, and consistently less for the second half, which is an improvement from the slow decrease over time that I’ve had before. For now, let’s assume that I had to move less in the second innings because of differences in the way the teams played. It definitely wasn’t due to a surfeit of cake at tea.

Holtwhite’s Trinibis vs Plastics XI, 2019-06-16

40/40 game. The captains agreed that Trinibis should bat first. Trinibis 132 all out. Plastics 100 all out.

Holtwhite’s is a multi-sport club with a modern clubhouse facing out onto their main cricket field, which was in use for a league game. Their second field shares a boundary with the first, and has a significant slope from one side to the other which has a significant impact, although somewhat oddly the slope is visually much more noticeable from the northern end. Scorers are well looked after, with a triangular hut positioned in a gap between the corners of the fields where scorers for both games can work, with excellent views, and there’s even an electronic scoreboard facing both pitches. The bar in the clubhouse is comfortable, and they provided an excellent tea.

Again I shared the umpiring responsibilities with various player-umpires throughout the day. Some were less confident than others and so I sometimes did both ends with them just umpiring at square leg. Some umpires don’t like doing this, as standing at square leg allows them to relax a bit, but I don’t mind. I reckon that if I can concentrate and drive a car all day then I should be able to concentrate and judge LBW appeals all day too. And as a cricket fan, behind the stumps is the best place from which to watch the game as you can see every little nuance.

My pre-match inspection found that one of the sight screens was inside the marked boundary so I moved the rope, and a few yards beyond the boundary in one corner was an alarmingly spiky and rusty piece of what I assume was groundsman’s equipment. Or possibly an Inquisition torture device. Either way, I wouldn’t have liked to have been a fielder legging it after a ball, running past the boundary into it. But I judged it to be far enough outside to be safe.

Pedometer data shows that my moving is still not up to snuff – there’s a drop-off through the day showing that I’m still not moving fast enough or far enough away from the bowler’s end to judge potential run-outs – but it’s an improvement from the previous match. And again I missed signalling some byes.