Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Not out...

This video has found its way to me via Twitter, and is apparently advertising the government-sponsored drinkaware campaign.

In it Jimmy Anderson is denied a plumb LBW when the umpire is so beered up that he's busy wazzing all over the wicket, an incident I've never seen on a cricket pitch, although a few opposition umps have metaphorically pissed all over my bowling figures by denying me full-and-straight leg befores that were knocking middle stump out.

In lower league club cricket the umpiring is conducted by the batting team's own men, or by an ageing short-sighted chap whose playing days are decades behind him.

There;s quite often a low-level gamesmanship that goes on in umping. The majority of people are straight down the middle, but tend to be not outers on the basis that they're not going to risk giving their own batters out unless all three stumps were likely to cartwheeling out of the ground.

Decisions at the death of a game, where a wicket could swing the balance, are not likely to go in favour of the bowler. Likewise it's probably not even worth appealing for close run outs or stumpings as no-one can be sure either way.

The other form of gamesmanship in umping is to deploy an umpire so hopeless that they probably don't even know the laws of cricket. Young kids are a speciality, and most young uns these days seem to be coached into a kind of 'give-em-nothing' attitude that basically promotes out-and-out cheating.

At the other end of the scale is the hopeless old duffer, who miscounts balls in an over, gives patently absurd decisions and does it all with a smile on his face. One opposition ump allowed the bowler to continue into a ten-ball over that was devoid of extras. Off the tenth ball the opposition batsman was out. They went hopping mad, but it was their own man. We chalked it down to cricket karma.

I find it hard to be tough on these old guys, as the weekly cricket match is clearly a highlight for them, but they're among the worst not outers in the game. This is particularly galling when you're a bowler.

At Sefton Park CC I honestly think we mainly play it fair. If anything I think we're probably too generous, though my own umping was described as 'embarrassing' by a particularly obnoxious bowler with an absurd name this season when a decision didn't go his way.

Although respect for umpires seems to be going the way of all things in the game I think it's important to uphold, and though I reckon I've kissed goodbye to a couple of dozen extra wickets over the years (I bowl wicket-to-wicket seam so LBWs form a big part of my attack) I don't think slating the umpire is really, well, cricket.

So I'm resigned to meeting the 'down leg's and 'too many variables' from umpires in club cricket with a wry smile or baffled stare, though the day I see an umpire openly urinating on the pitch in answer to an appeal may be the day I finally snap.


  1. I have to say on this is that there is absolutely no way this could be out, so the umpire may as well relieve himself. At no point does anyone on the fielding team make the required appeal to make the umpire make a decision. Also it looks to me like it might just be sliding down leg.

  2. Why is thin Iwan on telly?

  3. As your sole reader in these parts I'd like to take advantage of the freedom this gives me to add to the mythopoeic'kilted Cricket' stories that Jonny Northcroft has already implanted in all your Liverpuddlian consciousnesses, by telling you that anything Lancs cricket can do then Aberdeen Grades cricket can do even more grossly, whether it be Fat Slogging or urinating umpires.

    One regular (very regular)aged umpire with obvious prostrate problems would frequently relieve himelf on the field of play. However, he had sufficient sense of propriety to await the fall of a wicket so as not to hold up the action. Unfortunately for batsmen all this meant was that whenever he felt his bladder no longer controllable he would simply tell the bowler that his next appeal -and it would be helpful if that were sooner rather than later- would meet a positive response. As the victim was walking off he would then chat away to all and sundry, spluttering willy in one hand and gesticulating with the other to demonstrate the absolute correctness of the decision he had just dispensed. During tea intervals the next-to be bowling side would make sure his cup was always full...


Write something crickety: