Over 61/2 years ago at a similar forum I made a presentation detailing the advent of umpiring in these islands since 1997. Today I have therefore thought it necessary to apprise this body of the progress, if any, that has been made since then.
The membership of C.I.C.U.A. currently stands at approximately 30, of which 2 are females. Of this number 21 are actively engaged in umpiring. It might appear that little growth has taken place over the years but that is not actually the case, as many umpires who were part of the fold have either migrated or ceased umpiring. I am happy to mention however that all but 2 of our umpires have been successful in at least the preliminary examination and these 2 have not had the chance to as yet sit that examination.
Over the past 6 years an average of 1 seminar per year covering the laws of cricket has been conducted. These seminars have served to qualify full members as well as act as refresher courses for others. It is worth noting that training has not been confined solely to Grand Cayman as sessions have also been held in Cayman Brac. So far, at least twelve (12) umpires have been successful in their preliminary examinations, including one (1) candidate from Cayman Brac. In addition, sessions on the world-renowned Duckworth/Lewis method of calculating target scores have been held at least once prior to the commencement of each cricket season and even during the season sometimes.
Since 2002, two (2) more umpires have been successful in the West Indies oral & practical examinations which have qualified them to officiate in matches at the highest level in world cricket. In addition, one (1) umpire is on the verge of full qualification as he will travel to Jamaica in December of this year to sit the West Indies oral examination. There are two (2) members who were successful in the West Indies written examination and will commence their practical assessment on-island in the upcoming season, while another is awaiting results of a similar examination which he sat earlier this year. This has been a step forward from 2002 as our association now conducts its own practical assessment. Still, candidates are allowed to travel to Jamaica for at least two (2) days of practical assessment.
CICUA naturally continues to provide umpires for matches under the auspices of CICA. These include league and knock-out matches and those involving teams visiting our shores. Local umpires have also been privileged to officiate in the domestic competitions in Jamaica and have performed creditably, from reports received.
While 1999 witnessed the first time that a local umpire officiated in an ICC tournament, since 2002 four (4) umpires have received that honor. As far away as Malaysia, Dubai, Argentina, Canada, USA, Panama, Suriname and Bermuda these umpires have made themselves and these islands proud. Matches have been mainly of the limited-overs type at various levels and also including women’s tournaments, but in some cases Inter-Continental Cup matches of four (4) days’ duration have also been officiated. Appointments to these matches have been made possible by virtue of these umpires being members of different ICC Associates and Affiliates panels.
Since becoming an associate member of WICUA, CICUA has been represented at all of the biennial conventions held in different countries within the region. The association has also been represented at ICC-sponsored seminars in Malaysia and Dubai. In mid-2006 a special mid-term meeting of WICUA was convened in Antigua and again the association was represented.
There still exists a shortage of umpires which is primarily due to the fact that a lot of our umpires, regardless of age, expertise or mobility, continue to play the game. With the nucleus of umpires being concentrated around one or two teams, whenever these teams are engaged in matches on any given weekend this puts severe strain on the already limited resources. Recruiting new members has always proven to be quite a taxing affair as people have always used the warm temperatures as an excuse. Teams have been asked to send at least two (2) members to seminars but invariably this does not happen.
As one of two associate members of WICUA it is the desire of the association to achieve full membership by the year 2011, with the remaining condition of having at least ten (10) fully-qualified umpires to be fulfilled. It would be very satisfying if one of our females could be part of that number.
One of the avenues to the ICC Elite Panel is via the Associates and Affiliates route. With so many umpires vying for places via WICUA it is our endeavor to have more umpires on Associates and Affiliates panels while at the same time not giving up hope of movement via WICUA.
It is also the desire of the association to increase its membership through more aggressive recruitment, at the same time trying to attract more females to the body (pardon the pun). With modern training techniques involving the use of audio-visual equipment there will not be the need to read through each page of the text so training should be somewhat easier then.
With the growing population of players who are getting or have gotten a bit ‘long in the tooth’, it is hoped that some of them will come to realize their limitations and opt to engage in a less rigorous role in the cricket arena, hereby transferring their skill to umpiring. In so doing they can still lend their expertise to this noble game while at the same time enjoy the sport at a new level.
Courtney B. Young
Date: September 26th, 2008.
Umpiring has been and continues to be one of the corner-stones on which the improvement in the standard of cricket in these islands is being built. When the C.I.C.U.A. was asked to present a report on the status of umpiring in the Cayman Islands five years ago it was with pride that it was reported that the association had been launched two years prior with nineteen (19) members. This number was made up of seven (7) full, two (2) honorary, two (2) life and eight (8) associate members. The past five years have witnessed a steady growth both in quantity and quality of C.I.C.U.A. members, which may be attributed to the high degree of proficiency the members endeavor to achieve.
Several seminars have been held over the past five years, which serves to qualify full members, and also as refresher courses for full members. One seminar, which started in Grand Cayman on the 14th January, 2002 is scheduled to end in another week, while another is slated to begin in Cayman Brac in early February 2002. Following these seminars candidates will be asked to sit an examination. The C.I.C.U.A. no longer relies on its Jamaican counterpart to design examination papers as it now conducts its own level I examinations. Since being afforded this opportunity, the association has conducted two examinations with eleven candidates, including one female, being successful. Some of these umpires have expressed an interest in sitting the W.I.C.U.A. final written examinations later this year.
Since 1997 four (4) umpires have been successful in the West Indies practical and oral examinations, which have qualified them to officiate in matches of the highest level. In addition, one is awaiting results of his oral examination sat in December 2001 and who, if successful, will increase the above figure to five. There are also two umpires who are due to commence their practical assessment in Jamaica shortly and may eventually end their assessment ‘at home’ under the supervision of local umpires.
Since its inception the C.I.C.U.A. has had to provide officials for matches under the auspices of the C.I.C.A. These include league and knockout matches and at special events such as the Cable and Wireless sponsored “Crazy Cricket Weekend”. The past five years have seen a steady increase in the number of teams visiting these shores and last year these islands hosted the Western Caribbean Classic Under-15 Championships, which involved two other teams, namely Bermuda and Bahamas. In addition, local umpires have been privileged to officiate in the domestic Senior Cup competition in Jamaica and from reports received have conducted themselves quite professionally. In 1999 I was also privileged to officiate in the ICC Americas tournament in Canada which included apart from the host country, teams from USA, Argentina, Bermuda and Cayman Islands.
The C.I.C.U.A. has been represented at three biennial conventions held over the past five years in Trinidad, USA and Jamaica. In the USA certificates were presented to the first group of local umpires who were successful in the West Indies oral and practical examinations. Also, both the vice-president and I have attended conferences in Antigua, which specifically focused on the Laws of Cricket.
There still exists a shortage of umpires, which is primarily due to the fact that most of our umpires, regardless of age, expertise or mobility continue to play the game. In an effort to alleviate the situation teams have been constantly asked to send at least two members to seminars but invariably this does not happen. With the nucleus of umpires being concentrated around one or two teams, whenever these teams are engaged in matches on any given weekend, this puts severe strain on the already limited resources.
New recruits are reluctant to come forward and some associate members for some unknown reason(s) refuse to attend seminars, least sit the preliminary exams. There are also incidents of qualified umpires who have migrated and some that seem to have become disinterested in umpiring, thus leaving the ‘faithfuls’ to carry the load.
The association lost an outstanding honorary member during the past five years with the passing of the renowned Timothy “Teacher” McField.
The number of full members within the association currently stands at twenty-three (23). Of this amount approximately 70% are actively involved in umpiring. It is the desire to have the overall membership of the association increased so as to ensure that there is an adequate cadre of umpires to meet demands.
Five years ago umpires did not receive any form of remuneration for their services. However, that has since changed and umpires now receive a stipend for each match they officiate. This move is well appreciated.
It is our desire to keep members motivated so as to sustain their interest in umpiring. Efforts will be made to attract and train young aspiring individuals, males and females.
With the growing population of masters, it is hoped that some of these older individuals will come to realize their limitations and therefore opt to engage in a less rigorous role in the cricket arena, thereby transferring their skills to umpiring. In so doing they can still lend their expertise to this noble game while enjoying the sport at a new level.