Chesterfield Cricket Lovers' Society

The photo shows guest speaker Jeff Evans (left) receiving a bottle of wine from Society Treasurer and fellow umpire Niven Roper.
Photo: Mike Taylor


The Society was delighted to welcome back for a return visit (after a gap of six years) the distinguished First Class Cricket Umpire, Jeff Evans and The Queen's Park Cricket Pavilion was well populated for the Meeting on what was, once again, a not particularly pleasant night (we learned later that the high winds had seriously damaged the roof of a local school). Although now resident in Scarborough Jeff was born and brought up near Llanelli - home of the legendary Welsh Rugby "Scarlets". He comes from the same village as the very well known current International Rugby Referee, Nigel Owens and, in fact, during his younger days combined Cricket Coaching with that of Rugby, before his outstanding ability as an Umpire meant that the Summer Sport became pre-eminent in his life.

Jeff entertained us with a fund of anecdotes and stories concerning his professional umpiring career. He has been on the First Class Umpires` List since 2001 and, in addition to County Matches, has officiated in Ladies` International Fixtures. Of especial interest to the audience was Mr. Evans` account of his two years` experience as an Umpire in the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL). The opportunity to travel around India and, at the same time, to broaden his professional skills had been well worthwhile.

He supported the use of technology in the Game, provided the enhanced facilities are available in all major Matches and that the Umpire's role is assisted and not merely superseded by them. He reminded his audience that he had been the Umpire in Queen's Park in July 2013 who had been minded to give "Not Out" the Derbyshire Captain, Wayne Madsen, as he felt that he had not snicked a delivery, only to see that the batsman, knowing that he had, in fact, "feathered" the ball, walking towards the Pavilion. This had happened at a time when Derbys. were battling not to lose the Match and resulted in Wayne Madsen gaining the inaugural Christopher Martin-Jenkins Award for Fair Play/Sportsmanship.

To make the audience work a little Mr. Evans at one point set a little test which not everybody passed with flying colours! The batsman plays the ball hard into the ground. It rises vertically into the air and is adroitly caught by the batsman himself. Everyone was agreed that the batsman was "Out" (a fluke dismissal, admittedly) but how was he out? A number of people considered it to be a case of "Handled the ball", but in fact he had obstructed the field. Earlier in the evening we had stood in memory of the late Mr. Wilf Porter, a member and regular attender at Meetings since 1964, who sadly had died during the previous week. Chairman Mike Taylor had given updated health reports on two or three members who were "under the weather" and good wishes for speedy recoveries were expressed for all of them. Mr. Taylor had also reported on the Committee's consideration of suitable venues for next year's Meetings and welcomed the thoughts and views of the members.

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