Cricket in Romania gives Matt chance to add to umpiring CV

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Sussex Premier League cricket umpire Matt French has been spreading his wings again – this time donning his white coat in the somewhat unlikely cricket setting of Romania.

In over 20 years of umpiring Matt has officiated in competitive cricket in Dubai, Guernsey, India, Ireland, Jersey, and The Netherlands, and he has stood in top leagues around England, far distant from Sussex.

Why the trip to Eastern Europe?

Matt told the County Times: “I was asked by the Romanian Cricket Federation to officiate in the Continental Cup – the qualification process for countries seeking to progress up the International Cricket Conference ladder, and I went with a fellow English umpire to join the two local officials.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
The officiating team for the Continental Cup | Picture courtesy of Matt FrenchThe officiating team for the Continental Cup | Picture courtesy of Matt French
The officiating team for the Continental Cup | Picture courtesy of Matt French

The matches, also involving Malta, were broadcast live on the European Cricket Network, involving much use of technology, on and off the field – and attracting much gambling.

Matt said : “W e had to make sure that our actions were above board and correct, with mobile phones and other devices firmly locked away during matches.

"And we had to get to the grounds very earlier to set everything up, making T20 matches seem more like all day games.

"Even for experienced umpires, it was a steep learning curve!”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There were some close finishes, culminating in the final match which Romania clinched narrowly to win the series 3-2.

And, for the players there was much to discover regarding the laws of cricket, especially for one batsman being dismissed for hitting the ball twice, now designated as obstruction .

During the winter Matt will be keeping fit by exercising his greyhounds and, in addition to his day job as Estate Manager for a Retirement Housing Association, he’ll be continuing to act as a tutor on various umpiring courses.

What of his umpiring aspirations? Matt says: “My ambition is to become a professional umpire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Progressing is a narrow path, but I am in the Development Group, designed to help those on it to become the best they can be, so I am always keen to accept opportunities, such as the Romanian trip, to widen my experience.”

Related topics: