Well here we are January 2019 has arrived and now looking forward to slightly longer nights. Time to take stock and look at what is happening in the 2019 season. First there is the need to bundle all of last seasons handbooks into the bin as being Durham’s Umpires Appointments Officer I am indebted to those League Secretaries who send me their handbooks and always an interesting read prior to the season starting. I have had a bit of stick from Lady Brown as she cannot get the desk dusted for all the papers so now no excuse.
Despite the season ending in early September some of us are still umpiring with the BUCS games finishing at Riverside on the 1st December but the DCB games at Junior level do not finish until mid January. But the seniors finished a couple of weeks ago where South Shields were the winners and will represent Durham against the Northumberland winners, Tynemouth, at Riverside on the 6th January. Good luck to both sides.
There have been plenty of NEPL meetings following the end of the season mainly to determine the structure of the league. Sadly Brandon were expelled for not conforming to League rules regards Clubmark, the Durham Academy felt it could not continue playing on Saturdays due to a lack of players and Stockton were allowed to leave and join the NYSD. We welcome to the NEPL, DCL winners Crook Town, NTCL runners up Shotley Bridge and also Ashington from the NTCL. The league will play with 23 clubs for the 2019 season. Whilst most league officials are unchanged, Harry Stephenson is the new Discipline Secretary, bringing to the role many years of relevant experience. Martin Pollard has replaced Marcus North as a NCB representative.
Now to next season. The Availability letters have been sent out and all but three remain outstanding. We have taken on some new faces in Geoff Pollard from the Durham Cricket League , David Douse and Ron Blyth (who will stand on Sundays only) and Brian Giles from the Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League. Tony Shields makes a welcome return, Keith Smith will now have a full season with us and Sam Blacklock will combine his heavy scoring duties with standing in the Sunday Division. Lest I forget Sam also won the ECB young scorer of the year award so well done Sam. We are also pleased to welcome Tom Quinn who joins us from Hampshire.
We were also successful in having three of our umpires being successful in standing on the new ECB National List. Jeff Marshall, Brian Morris and Ian Warne will stand in Minor Counties, 2nd ECB and MCCU fixtures.
We have 61 umpires on our panel with 51 standing in Saturday leagues and 10 doing Sundays for various reasons, whether umpiring on a Saturday in other leagues or still playing on Saturdays. I will always find games for new umpires coming off one of the courses run very successfully by Keith Sutherland and his band of brothers again my thanks and also to Keith Telford for running scorers courses so successfully that over 60 applied and a further course was hastily set up. Without these people cricket would suffer and their hard work is much appreciated.
So we need 44 umpires for each Saturday with 7 spare although I said this last year but only one Saturday in the season had a full complement of umpires standing. I have asked this season that umpires should commit to 12 games on a Saturday and I would like to be able to provide any spare umpires to other leagues.
Turning to this coming season and what’s in store. Burnmoor and Burnopfield were promoted to the Premier Division with no club relegated. The normal start time for Premier Division matches will be half an hour earlier, a noon start, with earlier starts in April, the lat two Saturdays in August and September, because of deteriorating light. The fee of £38 will remain as will the travel at 35p per mile. All other divisions will start at 1pm with earlier starts for First and Second Divisions early and late season. Matches in the Third Division are being reduced from 105 overs to 95 overs, with the win/lose/draw format retained. All Third Division matches will start at 1.00pm.
The MCC has also introduced amended Laws 41.7 relating tobeamers and the umpire has now to use best judgement to decide whether a full pitched delivery is dangerous based on various factors including speed and direction. Details can be found on page 12 of the recently arrived ACO magazine.
Whilst dissent is not a major problem in the NEPL more can still be done with the onus falling on every umpire to clamp down on this and use the reporting method which is very straight forward. On several occasions umpires tend to deal with the matter on the field but rarely does this solve the problem and we will be stressing the matter at our pre-season meeting.
Finally I hope all NEPL Umpires and officials had a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to a peaceful New Year and my hope that where cricket is shown on television umpires can act correctly and call no ball. There is really no excuse in missing these.
North East Premier League