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Umpires in best place to see the action

CRICKET

The best place to watch a game of cricket is from out in the middle, says Poverty Bay Cricket Association director of umpiring Jason Trowill.

“You’re like the biggest fan there,” he said.

“You’re 22 yards away from the batsman and right there in the thick of the action.”

Trowill is one of four local umpires to have recently achieved Level 3 umpire certification. It is the second-highest level obtainable and considered the first step on the pathway to “career umpiring”.

Trowill started umpiring when he was coaching Auckland’s Ellerslie premier women’s team after he injured his Achilles tendon and was forced to retire from high-level competition.

“When I was in a cast for a year I started umpiring and sat my Level 1 and 2 umpiring in Auckland . . . and the rest is history.”

He said it was exciting to see the development of the next generation of umpires, with Gisborne’s Luke Fisher also getting his Level 3 qualification at just 16 years of age.

Fisher said his love of the game started early, through backyard cricket with his brother and father.

As a member of the Gisborne Boys’ High School first 11 cricket team, he thought umpiring would give him the chance to experience the game from a new perspective.

“Umpiring gives me the opportunity to be right in the thick of the cricket, without having to worry about getting a duck or dropping a catch,” he said.

Stewart Patrick and Ben O’Brien-Leaf also completed their Level 3 certification. They have both been a part of local cricket for many years in coaching and managerial roles.

Patrick and Trowill are the regular local umpires for premier-grade cricket.

O’Brien-Leaf said umpiring was a way they could give back to the game they love.

He said Poverty Bay Cricket had to go through a rebuilding phase after the retirement of several of the region’s experienced umpires, such as Don Cook and Poverty Bay Cricket Association patron Graeme Black.

Trowill and Poverty Bay Cricket Association operations manager Nicholas Hendrie had done a lot of work encouraging and upskilling umpires, O’Brien-Leaf said.

Along with the four Level 3 umpires, the association has 12 new Level 1 umpires and seven umpires training for Level 2 certification.

a new level: Poverty Bay Cricket Association operations manager Nicholas Hendrie (centre) with Level 3 umpires (from left) Luke Fisher, Jason Trowill (PBCA director of umpiring), Ben O’Brien-Leaf and Stewart Patrick. Picture by Liam Clayton