Umpires strike back – cricket officials boycott matches over unruly players

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THE umpires are striking back in a row over player discipline.

Durham Coast Cricket League umpires refused to officiate during the fixtures last weekend in a stand of solidarity.

The row centred around an incident in July where batsman Mark Race, who plays for Murton, was reported by an umpire for unacceptable behaviour after he was given out at a match in Easington.

But the league’s executive committee later gave him a punishment of just a seven-day suspension, which is far short of what the umpires were seeking.

To show their disappointment, the umpires, who were not at the meeting, agreed to boycott the league’s matches last Saturday.

The only one who said he would be carrying on as usual was Roy Simpson, who is also chairman of the league.

One of the umpires, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “It’s an internal league matter.

“The lads wanted to show some support.

“I don’t know the official league position.

“It’s an internal dispute, but we want to reach a decision with the league, amicably, one hopes.

“This action was to show dissatisfaction with the outcome of the meeting. The boycott was an individual choice.”

The season is due to end on September 8 and all fixtures are expected to be played.

But, the dispute between umpires and the league’s executive remains unresolved.

Other teams in the league include Dawdon and Seaham Park.

Speaking before Saturday’s ban, Mr Simpson said: “The boycott was a result of a decision made at the meeting last Wednesday. How many people are taking part in the boycott, I don’t know, but there will be some games without umpires, although they will go ahead.”

Although none of the boycotting umpires changed their minds, only bad weather caused games to be abandoned on Saturday.

Other officials were found for the top three games, including Murton’s match with Seaham Harbour, with the rest of the fixtures being umpired by players themselves.

However, at least one weather abandonment, Washington v Bill Quay, happened when the sides couldn’t agree on the fitness of the ground and with no umpires, the game was abandoned and the outcome now rests with the league’s executive.