Umpires strike back
BUNDABERG'S cricket umpires have considered boycotting their remaining duties, after constant abuse from players on and off the field has led to some officials leaving and more discussing the same move.
Two umpires have already forfeited their position and two more are thinking of walking away or umpiring in the Fraser Coast competition.
Bundaberg Cricket Association (BCA) umpire co-ordinator and president Mick Clarry has pointed the finger at players’ poor behaviour for the exodus.
“Umpires are leaving and it’s because of abuse and carry-ons from players – no doubt about it,” Clarry said.
He said they had contemplated the subject of boycotting this weekend’s games at a BCA meeting last Friday, but decided against taking action so late in the season.
“Some of the guys felt it was the right step to take, but we’ll lay low this year and take a strong stance next season,” Clarry said.
Clarry said he was “sick to death” of the behaviour of players this year and simply wanted a fair go.
“We’re out there for the love of the game. They are all so good at umpiring from the grandstand — why don’t they give it a go themselves?” he said.
The catalyst for Clarry’s anger was the Across The Waves division one team’s reaction to their loss to Country Wests a fortnight ago.
Some players allegedly labelled the umpires involved as cheats, before claiming Country Wests spectators had paid the umpires to fix the match.
“That sort of stuff is just nonsense, unacceptable really,” he said.
“They just blame the first person that comes along for that loss, and it happens to be the umpire.”
But it has been a common theme in all levels of cricket this season, according to the umpire of 20 years.
“Copping abuse from players and guys on the side of the field, it’s just not on,” Clarry said.
“It’s just blatant disrespect from blokes who think they can rule the roost.”
In his column last Saturday, Robbie Edgar touched on the subject, saying umpires were also to blame for involving themselves in the on-field chatter.
“That’s true, the umpires can’t let it get personal out there, it only makes it worse,” Clarry said.
Umpire stocks are much lower than when Clarry started in Bundaberg 15 years ago, and he said there was no interest from players or ex-players to move into the role.
“I advertised for a month for an umpire training course last season and did not get one reply, no one wants the job,” he said.