Another season has long since finished, and apart from some of us standing in BUCS, Durham Cricket Board and Newcastle Cricket Centre indoor fixtures, coats are hung up and gear washed and stored away with only memories from last season to keep us company
However, the 2016 season started early on the 16th April when typically the whole programme was washed out and despite calls to have this replayed no space could be found in a somewhat busy schedule. Throughout the season matches were badly interrupted by the weather, especially cup fixtures, plus success by both Chester le Street and South Northumberland in the National, played havoc with re-arranged games in the Banks and Co-operative Funeralcare competitions. However, South North did go on to win the National, which shows our strength in the UK as one of the major players in Club Cup cricket.
Umpire appointments which were made and sent out to all umpires by the end of February saw frequent cry offs for various reasons and whilst we started with 49 umpires, we need 46 every Saturday, we were soon down to the bare bones and I made some 260 changes to appointments throughout the season. My thanks to all umpires, many of whom stood on their own, for just getting down to it and enjoying the friendship of new partners and new grounds to visit. Mainsforth deserve a mention being new to the league but they served up a magnificent tea and really looked after our umpires with a spacious umpires room. All the umpires who stood there remarked on how well Tony Johns and his team looked after us. Burnopfield enter the league next season with their huge ground and they replace sadly Tudhoe who were relegated to the DCL. I am sure Steve and Caroline will have them up and running early next season to make a speedy return.
Our umpires serve county second team games (D list) in Ian Warne, Alan Clark and Ray Burn before injury meant that Ray had to withdraw from these appointments. Ray had also to withdraw from Minor Counties and it is hoped that we can add Jeff Marshall and Brian Morris to that list each having at last taken their final modules to secure a Level 3 qualification. Harry Stephenson came out top of the Umpires League table this year with Fred Lemon top of the Divisions 1, 2 and 3 appointments. Jordan Else was voted newcomer of the year and will be standing in Premier Division games in 2017.
Paul Jordison has taken up his role as Chairman of the ECBACO Durham branch and we wish him the best of luck. Jeff Marshall was rewarded for his top umpires position in 2014 and 2015 by being asked to stand in the National final at Northampton but sadly or otherwise as South North was involved he was asked to stand down but was still invited down for the weekend and was promised the 2017 final. From Jeff’s perspective it will be hoped that no NEPL side reach the final.
There are numerous changes going on for next season and all will be discussed at the AGM but one thing certain is that all Premier games now are of 110 overs with normally a 12.30 start. I will clarify all changes after the AGM.
I hope that all umpires enjoy their close season and return fit and well and are all available. I have had interest from two new umpires but until all is settled names have been withheld!!
Chairman Umpires Sub-Committee