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Cricket umpire’s award a first for city

Thursday, 5th June, 2014

Darrell Craft has become the first Broken Hilll cricket umpire to be awarded Community Umpire of the Year by the SA Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association. Darrell Craft has become the first Broken Hilll cricket umpire to be awarded Community Umpire of the Year by the SA Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association.

By Ethan James

It’s the raised finger that has sent many Broken Hill batsmen back to the pavilion. 

Umpire Darrell Craft has been officiating matches in the Silver City for the best part of 25 years.

He was recently recognised for his efforts as Community Umpire of the Year by the South Australia Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association. 

“Denis (Watts, Barrier District Cricket League Secretary) told me he was going to nominate me and I thought, ‘sure why not?’ but I never thought I’d be a chance of winning the thing,” Darrell said. 

“It’s a first for us and a first for Broken Hill.”

Darrell has about 450 senior grade matches to his name, including 10 A Grade Grand Finals. 

He has also officiated in junior cricket on Monday evenings for five years, as well as Under 14 and U16 Grand Finals for 15 years or so. 

Darrell has also adjudicated school rep matches involving local and NSW high schools and is the Barrier District Cricket League’s Umpires Coordinator.

The 57-year-old says that staying cool under pressure makes a good umpire.

“You have to be patient and have an understanding that sometimes the players get frustrated. 

“Be strict and stand by your calls but make sure you also have fun at the same time.”

In an age where on field officials cop plenty from disappointed coaches and irate spectators, Darrell says he has pretty much heard it all but it’s water off a duck’s back. 

“It’s all part and parcel of the game really. I just view it as a Saturday afternoon out,” he said.

“I remember I gave this kid out LBW for not offering a shot at a primary school carnival once. 

“He was out for a duck but unknown to me had scored a hundred in the last game, so I don’t think they were too happy.

“There are a few leg-side wides that don’t go down too well sometimes either.”

Darrell was presented with the inaugural award at the SACUSA presentation night held last weekend in Adelaide.

Meeting former international cricket umpire Daryl Harper, who officiated in 94 Test matches and 174 One Day International fixtures, was the highlight. 

“I grabbed his autograph and we talked about Taylor Walker, amongst other things,” he said. 

Aside from cricket, Darrell is also an AFL goal umpire and will officiate in his first Miners Cup fixture on Saturday.

“I’ll be going down on the bus with the team on Friday. It’ll be a pretty good experience to get out on the Adelaide Oval,” he said.

“But I’ll try and keep umpiring for as long as I can.

“As long as the body holds out, as they say.”

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