KIRKBURTON cricketer John Eaton has just been included on the official Minor County League umpiring list for 2008.
The 43-year-old batsman (pictured below), who skippered the Riley Lane club last season, after a successful spell leading Birchencliffe into the top flight of the Arrow Central League, passed his umpiring examination last winter and, prompted by county umpire Stuart Jakeman, applied to join the Minor County panel.
“I stood with Stuart in Yorkshire’s pre-season friendly with Derbyshire at Headingley last season, and have probably done about 10 Second team games, again with Stuart, and it was he who suggested I apply to step up to Minor County level,” said Eaton.
“It’s difficult to judge your own performances, but I felt that I’d done alright, and after each match, either Steve Oldham or Kevin Sharp have come up to me and said ‘well done,’ and Yorkshire have kept asking me back, which I think is an indication that they have been reasonably pleased with me.
“I’ve never umpired a Minor Counties game before, so it’s going to be interesting next season.
“When I received notification that I’d been placed on the umpiring panel, they included a list of six one-day games and seven Championship matches, so now I shall have to wait and see just where they send me.
“Hopefully it will be in the top half of the country, I can’t see them having me trail all the way down to places like Hastings or Eastbourne!”
Eaton also looks set to be standing is some Lancashire League games (they play mainly on Sundays) next summer alongside Jakeman, who has requested to the Umpires secretary that they are paired together.
“Stuart has been very instrumental in persuading me to apply to join the Minor Counties panel, and I’ve learned a lot from standing in matches with him, particularly at Yorkshire, where all the players know and respect him.”
Eaton will continue at Kirkburton next season, but not as skipper, and not necessarily in the first team.
“I said I’d help with the recruitment of players, but I’m just happy to play now where I’m picked.”