Umpiring Experience at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff

By GACUS Member Jonathan Labrum

After being appointed to the Welsh T20 Finals day, at Sophia Gardens home of Glamorgan County Cricket, having then made a mad rush up to Fearnleys to get the correct coloured kit, I was ready for the day.

Travelling down the M5/M4 to Cardiff seemed to take an eternity, a journey I have made many times over the last 3 seasons. Driving up to the gates to be met by security giving my name then shown to my car parking space.

On entering the pavilion and being directed up three floors I made it to the changing rooms. This was quite different to usual, nice lounge area with a panoramic window overlooking the ground with fridge full of  cold drinks. Debbie my wife who had come with me for support was shown to a private box for the day.

About a hour before the game was asked if I required lunch which was chicken breast, pasta, salad, fruit etc. After lunch I went and got changed, the went to the score box to introduce myself, this was comprised of two scores and  a technician who were operating the three score boards. The technology was unbelievable.

!0 minutes before the game we left the changing room down on flight of stairs, to the top of the walkway where it was about 40 steps down to the ground. Walking down I could feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up and the nerves kick in.

The ground was still in all the livery from the world cup, and I could imagine the atmosphere with 16,500 supporters in it.

The game started from my end with Neath bowling and Port Talbot batting in itself a local derby with both teams about 5 miles in distance from each other. As the first innings came to its conclusion the ground staff were ready to remark and roll the pitch.

The second innings was fairly straight forward with Port Talbot running out winners and eventually overall winners of the competition.

This was a fantastic experience and also interesting to get a taste of how our professional colleagues are treated. Sometimes dreams do become reality.