Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Yes, It's Ask the Umpire Week

MANDARINS 116 all out. WEEKENDERS. 117 for 5.

Welcome to the latest episode of ‘Ask The Umpire’.  We’ve had three questions sent in this week, all from the same match in Dulwich.

  1. It is the fifth ball of the innings.  The opening bowler has so far sent down four harmless deliveries that are wide of off stump, but the next one is on a full length, keeps fairly low and strikes the batsman on the back pad roughly in line with middle stump.  How long can the umpire delay raising his finger, before the ball is deemed to be dead?

  2. The batsman scuffs a ball towards backward short leg and sets off for a single.  Sensing an opportunity for a run out, the keeper flings off his gloves so he can pick up the ball and hurl it at the stumps. However the right glove inadvertently lands on the ball and the batsmen complete the single.  What should the umpire signal?

  3. The batsman plays back to a ball that is on a good length, and somehow blocks the ball with some combination of bat, glove and pad (it’s hard to tell from the boundary, but something definitely looked and sounded a bit odd).  The bowler appeals and the umpire gives the batsman out lbw.  What happens next?

Answers at the end of this report.

Meanwhile, to the match itself.  Wilmot loses the toss and Mandarins are inserted, but would have batted anyway.  Wilmot is salivating at the chance to try out one of his “experiments”, in this case getting the same two Mandarins to open the batting AND the bowling.  The helmeted H.Forman and R.Eastaway go out to bat.  Two overs later the score is 0 for 2.  It’s an experiment that probably won’t be repeated.

In at number 3 is Rob Elias, one of a long line of Heber Dads who have now played for the Mandarins.  He is joined by Tunbridge and both look confident, but out of nowhere Tunbridge is defeated by a swinging yorker and is bowled for 6.  In walks Sam Brand, who usually opens the batting, but with two ducks to his name so far this season he’s been put in at number five.  His first ball is a swinging yorker that goes between bat and pad.  Make that three ducks in a row.  Sam and Arvind are thinking of setting up a support group.

Soon afterwards Chris McKeon is also cleaned bowled - but at least he smacked a boundary first. 25 for 5.  Enter Hawkins.  Some rebuilding of the innings begins, which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the sharp and accurate opening bowlers have been taken off and replaced by some lobbed cannon fodder.  Still, you can only play with the cards you’ve been dealt.  An imperious innings of 42 by Elias finally comes to an end after the distraction of a drinks break, but Hawkins clings on like a limpet and the Mandarins claw their way to 116 all out.

Can 116 be defended? Eastaway and H.Forman keep things fairly tight, the ball regularly beating the bat, but alas missing the stumps. Only one wicket is taken in the first ten overs.  Forman D replaces Forman H, and the slower pace induces batsman Chagule to have a swing, and Tunbridge takes a fine catch at cow corner.  Alas after a flurry of long hops and full tosses in the next two overs, the Weekenders are up to 68.  Wickets are desperately needed.  On comes Baker.  Wilmot sends Elias to field at short mid wicket - left a bit…right a bit…yes, there. The ball is short, the left handed batsman’s eyes light up and he heaves across the line.  The fielders’ eyes have already panned across to the mid wicket boundary, but wait, somehow a diving Elias has leaped to his left and taken an absolute blinder of a one-handed catch.  Even the batsman applauds him.

Alas it’s too little too late, and although Stan and Dan Forman each nab a wicket, Weekenders get home comfortably with five wickets and 14 overs to spare.

Another friendly game against like-minded opponents, but our record at the lovely Trevor Bailey ground this season is grim: Played 2, Lost 2 (by a lot).


  1. About 30 seconds. To be fair, the umpire (Hawkins) had many factors to take into account:

    • He remembers that this bowler was pretty erratic last year and doesn’t tend to bowl straight balls.
    • the ball is moving a bit in the air and off the seam, so surely it must have been missing either leg or off stump,
    • the batsman is Harry Forman, and we need him to score some runs, and:
    • it’s only the fifth ball of the innings FFS - too early to raise the finger.  But overriding all of this was the fact that it is absolutely plumb.

  2. The umpire (Tunbridge) correctly applies Law ‘The fielder will be deemed to have fielded the ball illegally if, while the ball is in play he/she willfully discards a piece of clothing or any other object which subsequently makes contact with the ball.’  The umpire awards five (much needed) penalty runs to the batting team.  The batsman who completed the run, Hawkins, is awarded a single.  Pleas from Hawkins that the five bonus runs should also be credited to his personal tally are rightly ignored.

  3. The batsman (Hawkins again) stands with an aggrieved look, holding up his bat and pointing to the face of it. The umpire (Tunbridge again) correctly ignores the batsman’s complaint, and the batsman starts to walk off the pitch, still chuntering and doing Marcel Marceau impressions of a batsman who clearly nicked it.  Wishing to avoid a diplomatic incident with somebody who chose diplomacy as his career, the opposition graciously acknowledge that there probably had been an edge, and the batsman returns to the crease.

So how did you get on?  Three points and you are well on the way to becoming an ICC match referee.

Rob Eastaway


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