Once again the Umpires of the Dukes North East Premier League are looking forward to the start of the 2016. Kit all brought down from the loft or removed from the garage, inspected and washed with the hope of fine and warm weather. This year we are better off than most Leagues with 63 umpires registered although there will be games in Division 3 with only one umpire although hopefully less than last year.
I have been working with Keith Sutherland, Jack McGurk and John Crockatt in giving Level 1 umpires some field experience and these new umpires will stand with experienced umpires on a Sunday and will benefit from the experience. I hope that they will learn from this and go on with further examinations to Level 1a and Level 2 so that eventually they can stand in games in the Premier Division. Three umpires, Graeme Burn (brother of Ray), Jon Glen and Peter Connor are also making their debuts on a Saturday as well as the Sunday and are new to the game. Best of luck.
We have recruited some experienced umpires from other Leagues and some making a welcome return.
We have said goodbye to Peter Gardner who is a great loss as he is a past Umpire of the Year and experienced in Minor Counties and a D List umpire, David Venn who found last year standing became a problem and we wish David all the best. Richard Harrison has also decided to have this season off mainly for family reasons. Several of us have passed the three score years and ten so it is glad to see younger umpires coming forward.
It is remarkable how many umpires have come and gone since the inception of the NEPL and only Bill Wake, Peter Brown, John Crockatt, Alan Clark, Bill Oswald, Charlie McNamee (with a small break), Alan Howe and Eddie Collins remain. Many umpires have gone on to stand in higher standard of games namely in County second team games, National televised games, Minor County games and BUCS University both Indoor and outdoor games plus many more. We do keep the flag flying but always find it hard to convince the powers that be on the ECB appointments that we are worthy of more.
I hope to start up regular contributions from umpires to be included on this website to provide an