Billy Doctrove literally stands amongst the elite when it comes to umpiring at the highest cricketing level so when he paid a visit to Grand Cayman last weekend, locals went out of their way to welcome him here for the first time.
Doctrove is on the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpire Panel so what he doesn’t know about rules and regulations of the game is negligible. The 56-year-old Dominican had a wonderful – albeit rainy – time and even found a window of opportunity to umpire in a makeshift game on a soggy surface at the Jimmy Powell Oval in West Bay. Many said that his thorough knowledge of the sport coupled with his great sense of humour are the most appealing aspects of his character.
Theo Cuffy is Cayman’s technical director of cricket. He said: “I want to praise our local umpiring association for how well it has done, under the leadership of Courtney Young and his committee who have done a tremendous job over the years. From inception Courtney has been the president and he has always wanted people of a high esteem to help take us to a higher level.
“This has been done and Courtney himself is a perfect example. He is on the Associates and Affiliates International panel and he just recently umpired in the Under-19 World Qualifiers in Ireland. Now our association is a full member of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association. That means we have come full circle and now have umpires eligible to officiate in any matches in the West Indies and also because of our affiliation with the Americas they can umpire regionally and internationally.”
Besides Young, local umpires reaching this level include Sydney Moore, Kenneth ‘Teacher’ Miller, Thabienauth Samaroo and Livingstone Bailey who have officiated already at the International Cricket Council level.
“We have done well in that aspect of our cricket and I’m extremely proud of that,” Cuffy added. “To crown it all we have had the visit of Billy Doctrove. He had to take time off from his busy schedule to fit us in. He came from the Champions Trophy in India and here to relax for a few minutes before his next assignment.
“There’s only one month in the year when he has time off and that is February. We’re extremely proud because he took the time to visit us. More so, because of his interaction with our officials, umpires and players. We had an excellent seminar where he went through a number of rules and regulations of cricket, bringing us up to date on the new additions that are taking place internationally. It was supposed to be two hours yet it went to three and a half hours because he was really enjoying it.
“A lot of our people inter-acted well by asking questions. I think it was something extremely educating. We were really happy that he came and fraternised with us. He’s a nice, easy going guy. It was his first visit and he said it will definitely not be his last. We extended VIP treatment for him and his wife and we all met him at the airport.
“One was from the Cayman Islands Cricket Association, Courtney Myles and the umpires association president, Courtney Young. Both secretaries of the associations, Sydney Moore and Sheila Rankine and myself were there as well as vice-president Samaroo.
“This is not truly our cricket period. We had the most unusual weather when he was here but we wanted him to go out and umpire with two of our own and he did it in a makeshift game. The fact that he did umpire in the Cayman Islands was important.”
Courtney Young said: “Having somebody of Billy Doctrove’s experience has been a great asset to the association here. He was able to impart his experiences and I’m sure himself and all our umpires have gained a lot from what he has imparted upon us. At the seminar there was quite a few youngsters there who I’m sure benefited from what he had to say.
“Everyone should aspire to be at the top and just seeing somebody I’ve known since 1995 reaching the top has inspired me to reach further than where I am now. Reaching the elite level couldn’t have happened to a better person. Knowing him over the years, I’ve interacted with him quite a lot and I’ve found him to be a very nice person. Him reaching the top hasn’t really surprised me and all I can say is that I wish him well and continued success.”
Ivan Burges is an occasional Greenies player and umpire. He said: “Doctrove is a nice, easy going man and what shone out was his warmth and sense of humour.”
Sheila Rankine is the chairperson of the women’s development committee. “Women in Cayman have only been playing hard ball cricket for two years and him coming here will give us more exposure and inspire us to playing at a higher level,” she said. “We’re looking forward to hosting him again. It’s good for us because it gives us that motivation.
“The women’s game is coming along well. We still have a few of the ladies new to the game who are still learning but as time goes on they are getting better. I play for the Motown team. We’re not the best but we’re coming up.”