Match officiating all over NSW will step up a level in coming seasons after six regional umpires travelled to Sydney for exposure and development in the Premier Cricket system.

The experience, for Chen Tay and Benjamin Farrell (Far North Coast Umpires and Scorers Association), Dennis Chaplin (Wagga Wagga Cricket Umpires Association), Ian Davidson (Illawarra Cricket Umpires Association/South Coast District Cricket Association), Matt Whitty (Murray Valley Cricket Association) and Steve Eccles (Upper Hunter Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association) was made possible as part of a $10,000 grant from the Cricket NSW Foundation.

The pilot project, that will also subsidise fees for regional umpire training courses, was set up to alleviate barriers to umpire accreditation, whilst concurrently providing in-game experience for existing match officials.

The Cricket NSW Foundation is the charitable arm of Cricket NSW and exists to enrich communities through cricket, by enabling greater access to the game and promoting social connection.

NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association Interim EO Bede Sajowitz said the Cricket NSW Foundation grant helped provide an invaluable experience for the six regional umpires, which will allow them to return to their local association and pass on learnings to improve player and umpire experience

“With the support of the Cricket NSW Foundation, we’re delighted to have been able to make umpiring in Sydney more accessible and we’re looking forward to welcoming more NSWCUSA members to Premier Cricket in 2022/23,” Sajowitz said.

“So much of umpiring is learnt through experiences, which makes the opportunity to officiate in Premier Cricket so valuable for regionally based umpires with any and all levels of experience.

“Being involved with colleagues and players at the highest level of cricket in the state exposes umpires to match situations and officiating techniques they may not encounter in their local competitions which is invaluable to their development.

“Their involvement in Premier Cricket enriches the competition and builds upon the strong collegial spirit that exists throughout the NSW Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers’ Association.”

The six umpires’ experience levels ranged from two to 26 years and all were able to take away a number of key learnings, including:

- The difference between rural and metro facilities and the extra things that come with it, sight screens, scores boxes with lights etc

- The added intensity, speed and quality of the cricket being played

- The need to ensure concentration for every ball and maintain eye contact with umpiring partner

- Time management skills to ensure minimal lost time within the game of cricket

- To be clear, informative and inclusive with communication to players

The regional umpires were provided feedback on their performance from members of the NSWCUSA, including Claire Polosak, Troy Penman Darren Goodger and will look to take back to their local associations some key messages.

Amongst other things, the umpires agreed that they would look to inspect the balls at certain intervals of a match to ensure quality is maintained, conduct more official Captains meetings post match and encourage more regional umpires to take advantage of these types of opportunities.

The Upper Hunter’s Steve Eccles implored his fellow match officials to chase an opportunity to grow their experience.

“Firstly, I encourage UHCUSA members take the opportunity to do the same as I often do and umpire in Sydney,” Eccles said.

“(Locally) We often umpire by ourselves. The teamwork (in Premier Cricket) is the major thing and we often don’t get this on Saturday afternoons.”

For more information about upcoming NSWCUSA courses please contact Bede Sajowitz.

For information about the CNSW Foundation, CLICK HERE.