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Umpires honour David Ratcliffe

Umpires honour David Ratcliffe

David Ratcliffe, secretary and treasurer of the Bradford Premier League Umpires Association, said he was “absolutely delighted” to be made a Vice President at the organisation's final meeting.

It is a status that will be retained within the new Match Officials Association as all life vice presidents and life members have been guaranteed the same rights in the new association.

Ratcliffe joined the Umpires Association in 1990 from the Bradford Central League. He became treasurer in 2000 and later assumed the role of secretary when the previous post holder resigned mid-season 15 years ago.

He said: "I have been honoured to stand in the league and serve the association as an officer. I can still remember the day that our late president Derek Shuttleworth introduced to me to the membership along with Bill Holdstock in 1990.

“Although I will not be on the executive of the new Match Officials Association, I will be one of the trustees to the Derek Shuttleworth Memorial Fund. I believe the time is right for change with new people getting involved."

Ratcliffe took charge of the  2004 Priestley Cup final between Pudsey Congs and Woodlands before stepping in at the 11th hour to officiate in the 2007 Priestley Shield final between East Bierley and Woodlands at Undercliffe.

"i got a phone call from Tom Priestley on the morning of the game to tell me he had hurt his ankle the previous day," he recalled.

"It was meant to be his last appearance andfsubsequently went on for another season before taking charge of the game between East Bierley and Cleckheaton."

Ratcliffe was a highly-respected trainer of umpires. He was considered an authority on the laws of the game and was chairman of the ACS&U Technical Committee.

"I may not be quite so hot on the laws now as they have changed a bit," he said, but it is a fair bet that his knowledge  will continue to be put to good use.