In the first Wisden Club Cricket Podcast in association with Natwest, regular Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast host Yas Rana and Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker, with input from listeners, exchanged tales of umpiring howlers in club cricket.
The first story on the podcast came from Neil Dyer, a listener of the show, who explained how his side was once on the receiving end of some misplaced nepotism:
Neil Dyer: The most controversial incident I remember happening on a cricket field, I don’t see as controversial at all. We’d been promoted a league, the opposition had been demoted a league so they were a lot more serious than we were. Their star batsman came to the wicket with them in a little bother and even more so when he clattered a half-volley straight to cover who held on to an extremely good catch.
As we all went over to congratulate him, the batsman stood still and said, “that hit my pad”.
We were absolutely amazed as their umpire – this was the highest level in the league to have non-neutral umpires – a youngish lad, said “not out”! We all had to move on with the game as this batsman went on to score 130* or 140* and when we looked at the scorebook later that day, imagine our surprise to discover that the umpire was in fact the batsman’s son!
Later in the show, Yas told a story of his own:
YR: I’m still seething about this six years later. I was playing in a game that was taking place right next to a church. In that church, the bell-ringers were inconveniently going through their hour-long weekly practice session. I bowled a long hop outside off stump to their set batsman. He quite clearly nicked it. The ball deviated by about a foot. It was one of those that as a bowler and a fielding team, you celebrate and turn around to the umpire as a courtesy. The umpire, who was one of their players, says “Not out, didn’t hear anything because of the bells.”
PW: He blamed the bells? That’s a beauty.
YR: He’s kind of admitting there was a noise by saying he couldn’t hear it and he was also ignoring the fact that there was a massive deviation.
Seen anything similar in club cricket? If so, feel free to send your story into email@example.com and they could be featured on the next episode of the podcast.
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