THE Dales Council Umpires' Association must be hoping their umpires' course, which starts on February 9 at Pudsey Congs for seven successive Thursdays (7.15pm), brings an injection of new blood.
Umpires' Association secretary Colin White has worked out they have only 17 umpires to cover 14 matches per week, which is 11 below a full complement.
Even allowing for the maximum of nine umpires on the supplementary list, this still leaves a shortfall and it is no wonder that umpires' appointment secretary Steve Wilkes has had to become something of a master juggler.
It makes one wonder whether cricket clubs take the problem seriously enough as in some leagues there are no official umpires in the lower divisions, even in matches involving second teams.
The course, whose tutor is David Ratcliffe, is suitable for any person who has never umpired before or has only officiated in junior matches, while it can also be used as a laws refresher course for more senior umpires.
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