Huddersfield cricket chiefs are desperate for more people to take up umpiring.
With the Drakes League set to expand following the collapse of the Central League , there is a “dire shortage” of umpires for next season.
Umpires Association secretary Ron Tindall had 60 umpires on the books for the summer just gone, but that figure quickly became 48 as people dropped out for various reasons.
And at the moment, the prospect is for only 45 umpires to be involved on a regular basis.
Thirty eight of those are immediately taken up officiating first-team matches in the Drakes (three sections totalling 19 matches).
That then leaves just one umpire per match in the Drakes Premiership Two for second teams – with none for the other second XI matches.
“We are looking at a dire shortage of umpires for next summer – so we need people to get involved from our clubs,” said Tindall, a former leading player himself.
“Obviously we are aware that clubs are getting short of players and people are playing on for longer, but you can’t play the game without umpires.
“The clubs is where those extra umpires will come from, so we want all our clubs to look around and encourage as many of their former players and supporters to get involved if at all possible.
“And we would ask all those who regularly go and watch – whether they were former players or not – to think about getting involved and taking charge of matches.
“Those who do find it a very rewarding experience and at the Umpires Association we will give them all the help we possibly can to get going.”
See Delph receiving the Sykes Cup:
Members of the Association are prepared to host a basic course, while an ECB Level 1 course, with an exam at the end, is planned for Broad Oak in January, providing numbers suffice.
Six people have already put their names down for that. The Drakes League refund half the £30 fee on qualification.
“There are far more positives to umpiring than negatives and we desperately need people to give it a go and get involved,” added Tindall.
“Everyone in our clubs will have a friend, associate or former teammate who could take charge of matches, and we just need those people to be given a nudge in the right direction.
“It’s a serious situation, because the current body of umpires are mostly well over 60 years of age and some younger blood coming through would be a massive boost.
“We believe the answer lies with our clubs, so we are appealing to them to give this some thought and do what they can.”
Tindall can be contacted on 01484 664002 or 07860 137162 for more information.