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Lukewarm response to new umpires’ course

Man in the middle: Umpires Oscar Andrade officiates in his first Cup Match in 2013 as he watches Somerset's Malachi Jones in his bowling stride at Wellington Oval. (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Four people have expressed interest in taking the six-week umpires’ course which lays the foundation to becoming a member of the Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association.

“We’re looking for as many as we can get,” said Oscar Andrade, president of the BCUA.

“We won’t know until next week who actually turns up. We’ve had people in the past say they are interested and never turn up, but I’m hoping they all come through.”

The course teaches the laws of the game, such basics as the ten dismissals in cricket, bowled, caught, stumped, lbw, run out, retired out, hit the ball twice, obstructing the field, hit wicket and timed out, when the new batsman takes more than the minimally allowed time to get on the field to replace the departing batsman.

The Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association is a full member of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association and local umpires can obtain both the local and international umpiring certifications through the BCUA, giving them opportunities to officiate in international matches.

For the aspiring umpire it starts with participation in the six-week training course which includes a qualification test and practical sessions over the next six Tuesdays from 6 to 8pm.

“It’s not an issue of the folks we have being able to do it, but it’s a case of how long can we do it,” said Andrade on the topic of new umpires joining the ranks.

“We’ve had a few good guys come through in the last few years, but it’s one or two here and there, not fives and sixes as we’d like to see.”

Andrade took over the presidency last March from James McKirdy after stepping up from treasurer, while Roger Dill was returned as vice-president.

Andrade did not get a full season of cricket in his first term because of Covid-19 which only allowed Twenty20 cricket in a shortened season. Even so, the umpires were kept busy with the matches that were played at a few select grounds.

Andrade anticipates more action this season, with both Cup Match and the counties expected to return, meaning busy weekends again for the umpires.

“Last year we got through the whole season with the rotation of about ten guys,” he added. “This year, obviously, with Eastern Counties and Cup Match, it means that the umpires that we need have to be West Indies qualified, too, because for Eastern Counties and Cup Match you have to be West Indies-qualified, ideally.

“It means that you have done three more exams and have a few more years of umpiring under your belt before we throw them into the deep end. The basic thing about the six-week course is we focus on law as opposed to the playing conditions.

“Towards the end of the course we do go into the 50 overs because that is normally what we play first in the season. This year we will probably see T20 first, so will go into that at the end of the course.”

The BCUA hope to confirm the venue for the course by the end of this week.

“It is face to face and we have two sites lined up, one that will cope with the smaller number. If we get a few more than we have access to a classroom where we can sit more than five or six people,” Andrade added.

“The course is designed to be face to face and interactive. I’m comfortable we can do it in a classroom and keep a reasonable distance between people.

“There is also a practical side to this in terms of having to get on a pitch and show people crease lines and explained the lbw laws and umpire positioning, things you can’t see in a book.”

Andrade said preparation for the new season has already started for the umpires, even though a start date for the season hasn’t yet been determined.

“There is a lot of work done up front with the Bermuda Cricket Board, talking with them and Government on what the Covid protocols are going to be,” he explained.

“Then there is the umpires association stuff like the AGM to get ready for in the next month. It keeps me involved pretty much all year round.”

For more information or to register, e-mail the umpires association at bcua.umpires@gmail.com

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Published February 18, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 17, 2021 at 10:13 pm)

Lukewarm response to new umpires’ course

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