Sixteen aspiring umpires who recently participated in Warwickshire ACO’s Stage 2 course at Edgbaston thoroughly enjoyed the presence of a first-class umpire at the second session of their two day course.
Paul Pollard, former Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire opening bat and a member of the first-class umpires list since 2017, paid a visit to the course as part of a new initiative promoted by Chris Kelly, ECB Umpires Manager to provide a first-class umpire presence at Stage 2 umpire courses around the country.
Paul made a major contribution to the afternoon session on Managing Player Behaviour and applying Law 42 alongside the Warwickshire tutor team. After the initial activity of introducing course members to the requirements of Law 42 with the four levels of offence and their respective on field sanctions the course addressed the matter of umpires trying to manage player behaviour wherever possible in a pro-active sense. Paul provided many and varied perspectives on how he with his first-class colleagues seek to manage players and work with captains to nip issues in the bud.
Paul assisted by local Birmingham & District ECB Premier League and National List umpire Mansoor Qureshi addressed the issue of where the line lies between banter and abuse when discussing sledging and provided a range of potential responses umpires can employ in keeping firm control of match situations. The course members then looked at several case studies ranging from mild dissent to physical assault on another player to try and apply what they had learnt in terms of the Law 42 process and the proactive approach advocated by Paul and Mansoor.
The session finished with a look at how to manage disciplinary reporting processes and what might be expected by way of a good quality report for a league disciplinary officer or panel.
The afternoon ended with a question and answer session with Paul which covered his playing career as a doughty opening bat facing some of the quickest bowlers in the world in the shape of Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Silvester Clarke etc on some challenging pitches as well as his umpiring career to date. Topics covered included what life is like on the first-class circuit as well as how umpires have adapted to the presence of DRS at televised matches.
We are very much indebted to Paul in enhancing what we normally offer our Stage 2 course members and giving an insight to officiating in the professional game. We look forward to the initiative promoted by Chris Kelly continuing with future cohorts of aspiring umpires.
County Education Officer
Warwickshire County ACO