Guest article by Anton McCloy
Now that the whites are being dusted off and some are maybe even “training” for the upcoming season it is a good time to look at last season from the umpiring angle.
Firstly I’d like to congratulate Millennium on their win. A hard fought victory against the wily Wombats was a fitting if unspectacular finish to the KCL competition.
Secondly, I’d like to say well done to the umpires and captains in the KCL. From all the feedback I have received it is clear that the KCL was largely incident free, as it was the previous season, apart from a couple of minor incidents.
By all reports, these incidents were the result of ignorance of the rules by one or more parties rather than any actions outside the “Spirit of Cricket”.
These relatively trouble free seasons reflect the extra work the umpires, players and, most importantly maybe, the captains are doing to ensure the games are being played in the intended spirit. Small things like pre-game communications and working harder to ensure prompt arrival of all players to the grounds are helping the standard and enjoyment of the competition.
In terms of development, small steps are being taken in the umpiring area.
The JCUIP proved useful and raised awareness of the umpire’s role. It is hoped that the cards will be available in Japanese this year so umpires involved in any competition will be able to participate in, and contribute to, the JCUIP.
I was mildly surprised that only a few people contacted me to inquire as to the captains’ analysis of games they umpired. Don’t be shy!
The JCUIP feedback did suggest that we umpires need to dress better and make our calls louder – a couple of things for everyone to work on along with the basics of course – nothing worse than being 9 balls into a game and finding out there are 12 fielders out there – recent personal experience has taught me this!
Two umpires’ courses were conducted during the year – one for the KCL and one for University students. The KCL was attended by a lot of the “usual suspects” and I’m hoping for some new faces to appear this year…….!
The University seminar was more than well attended – we will need a much bigger room this year. This seminar is as much for those interested in learning rules as it is for those wishing to improve their umpiring. I’m looking forward to another good session with the students this year.
At the senior level of umpiring in Japan a core group of regular and competent umpires is emerging, and at the top of that pile is Neil Harrison from Shizuoka. Neil has established himself as one of the best and hardest working umpires in Japan and this was recognized in his selection to stand in the EAP tournament in Vanuatu last year. He had an very good tournament personally and it was only Japan’s success at the tournament that meant Neil was unluckily not considered to stand in the final. Congratulations Neil – keep up the good work.
Looking ahead to 2006, I’ll be taking an umpiring seminar in Osaka early next month to assist with the development of the Kansai competition as well as doing a couple of sessions in Tokyo in the near future.