Recanting the code

As you may recall, at the end of the last cricket season, I swore off umpiring for a number of reasons. The foremost reason was the lack of sleep which accompanied agonising over each disputed decision. Since that day a number of umpires, umpire selectors, officials and players have chastised me for daring to think that I could get out of standing behind the stumps all summer. I did my best to back slide and I didnt even go to the umpires AGM, but still they elected me to be the umpires representative for the Far North Coast Cricket Council. I refused to answer their emails and turned up late to the Hooker League presentation night. But all to no avail.

Giving up umpiring was clearly a non-core promise anyway and calling me a liar will only induce me stand for parliament. So I recant, I will umpire this season, but no more Mr Nice Guy. If the good gentlemen of this district think that they can dispute my decisions with impunity then they can think again. I wont be losing any sleep this year, but I am willing to lose my Monday evenings at the judiciary if anyone wants to chuck a wobbly in one of my games.

The preamble to the laws clearly outline the Spirit of the Game and who is responsible for maintaining it. So just so no-one is shocked when they and their captain are cited for misconduct, I think it would be only fair to reproduce the preamble of the 2000 MCC laws here.

Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself. The major responsibility for ensuring the spirit of fair play rests with the captains.

1. The captains are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the Spirit of the Game as well as within the Laws. In the event of a player failing to comply with instructions by an umpire, or criticising by word or action the decision of an umpire, or showing dissent, or generally behaving in a manner which might bring the game into disrepute, the umpire concerned shall in the first place report the matter to the other umpire and to the players captain, and instruct the latter to take action.

2. According to the Laws the umpires are the sole judges of fair and unfair play. The umpires may intervene at any time and it is the responsibility of the captain to take action where required.

3. The umpires are authorised to intervene in cases of time wasting, damaging the pitch, dangerous or unfair bowling, tampering with the ball and any other action that they consider to be unfair.

4. The Spirit of the Game involves respect for your opponents, your own captain, the roles of the umpires, the games traditional values.

5. It is against the Spirit of the Game: To dispute an umpires decision by word, action or gesture. To direct abusive language towards an opponent or umpire. To indulge in cheating or any sharp practice, for instance, to appeal knowing that the batsman is not out, to advance towards an umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing, to seek to distract an opponent either verbally or by harassment with persistent clapping or unnecessary noise under the guise of enthusiasm and motivation of ones own side.

6. There is no place for any act of violence on the field of play.

7. Captains and umpires together set the tone for the conduct of a cricket match. Every player is expected to make an important contribution towards this.

Re-read that if you need to. Ive found and accepted my own inner Daryl Hair into my life and I wont be putting up with any s#@t! Now thats a core promise.

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