Web_m781313THE Leongatha and District Cricket Association’s new season started on Saturday and with that the association’s 16 umpires also cast their eye over the action. The LDCA umpires however, are hoping to attract more people who enjoy the game to come and test themselves overseeing the action.

Umpire appointments officer Graham Laird said numbers are on par with last year but were still not at the required level.  “We have picked up three umpires this season but we have lost two as well – that’s what happens,” Graham said. “There will be 16 of us this season which may go up with a couple more that will hopefully come across. “We basically cover the two A Grade divisions and one B Grade division each weekend. We have two umpires that only want to do C Grade as well.  “It obviously isn’t enough – we definitely need some more. We are doing OK, but it’s like umpiring anywhere at the moment, we just can’t get people to take it on.”

Cricket offers umpires a nice financial incentive for those willing to get involved.  Umpires earn $100 for overseeing an A Grade one day match, $90 for a B Grade match and $80 for C Grade.  An A Grade two-day match will get you $190, $170 for B Grade and $150 for C Grade. “You can earn around $2000 for a year and it is all tax free,” Graham said. “It is very different to football umpiring; a lot of people say they wouldn’t be able to stand for five hours.  “Cricket is a lot different to football umpiring as well. You don’t get the abuse you do in footy.”
Graham has been part of the LDCA umpiring panel since 2000.   “I love it, and I think if more people who love cricket gave it a go they would as well,” he said. “We meet together maybe four times a year for about an hour and half, but it’s not very often.  “It’s pretty hard to train for cricket umpiring, but we do encourage our umpires to go down to club trainings and stand at the top of the nets.  “Sometimes I think clubs should ask an umpire to come along – then maybe players would stop bowling so many no balls!”

For more information call Graham on 0408 454 741 or contact your local cricket club.