The season continues after the Christmas/New Year break. Another one-day game to start the new year, and an important match for both sides. Whoever looses, will probably be out of the semi-finals, but whoever wins will have to keep on winning to make the semi’s. I had what you might call a very quiet day, my partner didn’t. Nearly all the appeals were for him to answer, and the fielding sides were not impressed. So what do you do in this situation? You support your fellow Umpire. In private, you might mention what you saw or heard, but always with encouragement.
I had one appeal for LBW that I turned down which upset the bowler (nobody else though) and I explained to him that “might have hit the stumps” is not good enough; I have to be certain. He replied that it was his “straight one”, and I replied “oh, was it?’.
A few overs later he got his man, out Hit Wicket. The majority of the fielders appealed to me, but I had no idea how the bails fell off as I saw the ball pass wide of the stumps. Luckily, a fielder appealed to the Square Leg Umpire and he raised his finger. I then realised the batsman had stepped on his wicket. A first Hit Wicket in a senior competition for both of us. The new batsman came in to face the next ball and the bowler, as he walked passed me, said “this will be my straight one, Don”. He bowled the ball and hit off stump – out Bowled. As I walked down to pick up the ball, I turned to the bowler and said “Yes, it was”. What do you do when the bowler broadcasts what he is going to bowl? Ignore it and watch the ball as it is bowled. It’s okay to have a little by-play with the bowler, but what is important is the decision on what you see and hear. Don’t let the bowler talk you into a decision.
I have watched this particular bowler for many years and I must say that he is now bowling the best I have seen in the local competition. He is not only taking wickets, but he is also restricting runs. It must be a Captain’s dream to have a bowler who can do that and also have the knowledge of many years to help bring on the young guns.