Cricket umpires had a rare day of fun with two games against invitation teams at the Smith Road Oval on Saturday.
It was not all good humoured though because some of the invited players felt they were taken for granted when it came to opportunities to bat and bowl, but overall the day went well.
In the first game the invitation XI batted first over 15 overs. They managed 89-7 and top scorers were Dennis Smith (18) and Shane Cato (16). Shot of the day was by Michael ‘Barney’ Roberts who smacked a majestic four with a flick of his wrists. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a $10,000 cheque like the Stanford 20/20 players but somebody did give him a beer. Hubert Smythe took 3-9 and Phillip Hackett spun brilliantly to take 2-20. Hackett’s exemplary bowling deserved a call up for the West Indies side. The umpires knocked off the runs comfortably with contributions from Ricky Sealy (17), Hubert Smythe (15) and chief organizer Rhuel Smith (14) to win by six wickets. Sealy showed flashes of brilliance which his son Ramon could learn from.
The second match was easily won by the umpires again, thanks mainly to a huge knock by Frankie Hinds. The invitation side hit 159-2 in 20 overs. George Johnson scored an entertaining 60 and Gerard Christian 36 in a match umpired by youngsters Ramon Sealy and Ricardo Roach. Maybe they wanted to get some experience of how hard it really is to make snap decisions correctly.
Leon Watson (16) and Ugal Sicard (15) gave umpires a solid start and when Hinds went in reaching their target never looked in doubt. Hinds captained the losing Esso side in the Clico 20/20 the previous weekend and maybe he was taking out his frustrations on his opponents. By the time he hit 91 umpires were assured of victory so he retired to give someone else a knock. George Hutson hit the winning four for umpires to win by three wickets.
Rhuel Smith said: ‘This event started three years ago and it should be an annual thing, but some of the guys are upset and said I shouldn’t call them next year. They said they’re not going to play in a festival fun game again. They did not enjoy the game and felt they were dealt with unfairly, especially the visiting team because we called some of them out early to let others have a bat and they felt that we let Frankie bat for too long. They said that one of their players (George Johnson) was on 60 and we called him out. Another player was on 35 and we called him out.
But in the first game I was on 14 and they called me out and Ricky Sealy was on 17 and they called him out.’