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Alberta Umpires Scorers Cricket Association


Cricket Alberta has been working towards forming an association that will over see umpiring in Alberta.


Cricket Umpiring

A progressive cricket league must have the following as basics:  good administration, disciplined cricketers, efficient, capable umpires, playing rules for a disciplined game.

Due to the variations in human nature and therefore human behaviour, it is necessary to revise the Playing Rules after each season to cover events that occurred during the season and were not covered or fully covered by the existing rules.  There are always a few players to whom good conduct does not occur naturally.  Team leaders must be held responsible for knowing these rules and making sure the members of the team also know them.  Ignorance of the rules is never an acceptable excuse.

It is the duty of the administrators to make sure these rules are fair and are enforced when they are broken.  The greatest problem for umpires is when individuals or teams behave improperly and there is no action or inappropriate action.  Often, strong forceful action by the Disciplinary Committee deters future problems.

Good umpiring is crucial for good cricket.  Umpires must have some basic qualifications and qualities.  They must know the Laws of Cricket and the Playing Rules and must know them well enough to make deliberate but quick decisions on the field.  There is often the option of consulting with your partner as the Laws permit.  The umpire must constantly keep up with changes to Laws and Rules as they occur.  Being socially well adjusted is crucial.  While umpires should not socialize on the field, it is necessary to be fair and pleasant or at least civil.  Be firm but don’t do things in anger.  If players have confidence in the umpire’s knowledge of the game, ability to execute the rules fairly and of exercising firm and fair control without being angry and aggressive, more than half of the umpire’s job is done before he gets on the field.  Competence is the key and it does not come quickly – especially in our situation where cricket is not year-round.  That means new umpires should be trained over the winter and early spring with a thorough review of their performance in the fall.  Putting them on the field with an experienced umpires vital for training inexperienced umpires.   Practicing umpires should be urged to upgrade until they are at the highest CCA (Canadian Cricket Association) standard.  All umpires should have to attend revision and update courses before the new season starts.  The practice that we had a few years ago of umpires meeting monthly to discuss problems they encountered on the field should be resurrected.  It focused on problems that were current, how they were dealt with and what was the best way to handle them.  Most umpires did not attend, unfortunately.

The ideal for good umpires is to deal with players who know the laws and rules.  Most conflicts on the field and sometimes off the field are due to ignorance.  If an umpire doesn’t know the rules and laws, this is a disaster waiting to happen.  It is worse than the players not knowing the Laws and Rules because the umpire is in charge.
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Cricket umpiring has evolved over my years in Calgary.  In the 1970’s and before, umpires were untrained and were volunteers.  It was not so stressful however, as gentlemen cricketers were still around and walked when they knew they were out.  As the 1980’s progressed and there were more local, provincial and national competitions, officiating had to improve.  Locally, the League voted to pay umpires but it was one umpire per pitch with a square leg from the other pitch.  This is a brutal system, especially when we expanded to 50 overs.  Presiding at both ends with no colleague to turn to, and concentrating on 100 (possible) overs in one day is more than we should expect of anyone.

The two-umpire system became a reality in the 1990’s and this was welcomed by all umpires.  It is more expensive but more humane and more efficient.

Problems remain.  The umpires sent by many teams are unqualified, untrained and inexperienced.  Often, only one of the two umpires turn up for a game and it is back to the single umpire with a succession of square leg stand-ins.  There are rules against this but it continues to happen with few consequences.

The League must stay with the two umpires per game system but the League should train and schedule the umpires.  There will always be an economic factor.  When the Calgary economy is robust, few players seem to have the incentive or the time to umpire.  The reverse happens when the economy is in recession.  Many former as well as potential umpires are so overwhelmed by player harassment on the field that they feel it is not worth it – the fee paid is not a greater incentive than peace of mind.  This is why administration must be alert, aware and enforce discipline forcefully.  A healthy League is the aim.

We have tried over the years to have a functional Umpire’s Association.  They have come along and faded.  A strong Association working with a vibrant local administration would be ideal.  It really distresses me when I see how lousy some umpires dress.  There is a dress code but no one enforces it.  Are we really serious about first class officiating?  There are several persons who can teach the course; there are people who are interested in becoming qualified umpires, so where do we go from here?  Are sporadic attempts good enough?

Spencer Gooden