The league has reached the position where it no longer has sufficient panel umpires to provide two to every Division Three first team match each week.
This is a situation the Management Board is not happy about, and is sadly a direct result of a poor response to the league’s recruitment efforts and four umpires standing down from the panel due to being subjected to unacceptable behaviour and a lack of respect.
With the holiday period likely to further strain resources we cannot afford to lose more umpires. It is now essential that all clubs and captains play their part in cleaning up the game.
Cricket is a game played with passion and with a competitive edge but there is no place for foul mouthed abuse, abusive sledging, send offs, crude taunts and insults, discriminatory behaviour, and physical violence.
At their pre-season meeting club captains were told there would be zero tolerance to all verbal abuse. This message has not been disseminated as widely as we would like as there are still players oblivious to the harm their behaviour causes.
It has been noticeable already this season that our umpires are frequently subjected to intimidation with players engaging in excessive appealing even when they know the batter is not out. This is cheating and has no place in our game.
You may not agree with decisions but there is no excuse for vilifying umpires, showing dissent or treating them with a lack of respect. Clubs and captains who fail to exercise their responsibilities for ensuring their players behave will be punished and points penalties will be imposed where it is appropriate to do so to deter behaviour that damages the image of our league.
Where it is only possible to appoint one umpire to a first team game, they will stand at the bowler’s end throughout with the players expected to perform square leg duties.
The Match Officials Association are trying to bring in additional umpires and will endeavour to minimise the impact the current shortage will cause.
Moving forward the whole league community has a part to play in ensuring the game is played in a way that encourages more people to become umpires otherwise the shortages the league is now facing will have increasingly serious consequences.