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16th April 2021 Recreational

A look back to the last 12 months for Durham Cricket ACO

As we start a full season for recreational cricket, Durham Cricket ACO look back at the last 12 months and how the Association utilised digital to connect with members during the pandemic.

The below piece is written by Durham Cricket ACO Scoring Officer Sam Blacklock and was include in the ECB ACO Magazine.

This time last year the world hadn’t heard of Zoom. 12 months later it is being used around the world for virtual meetings, quizzes and online birthday celebrations alike.

Durham Cricket ACO are no different and have been using the platform throughout the year for committee and association meetings.

Normally at this time of the year, Durham Cricket ACO would hold monthly meetings for its members inviting guest speakers to come along and speak, with meetings being held from September through to April.

Due to the pandemic the ACO decided to move its meetings online in order for members to still connect with each other and to attract high profile guests from the world of officiating.

Durham Cricket ACO have managed to secure some fantastic, giving Durham members a real insight into high profile officials.

Current Durham bowler and one of the country’s leading seamers Chris Rushworth attended Durham’s first meeting in October – as he reviewed the past summer of cricket in which the first-class counties played a shortened season. Chris spoke about playing for Durham Cricket while outlining his plans to umpire when his playing days are over. Chris has attended both Stage 1 and Stage 2 courses and now umpires in the North East Premier League, when Durham commitments allow.

In November, Durham members had the pleasure of listening to ICC Umpire and one of our own Michael Gough, who had just returned from Pakistan Super League duty. Gough’s talk attracted over 60 members who got an outstanding insight into his role as an international umpire, taking up umpiring at such a young age while discussing his summer umpiring in a COVID bubble.

Members also had the pleasure of hearing from Jeff Evans for January’s Meeting, with Jeff talking for over two hours on some of his memorable moments within the county scene. As a former first-class umpire who hadn’t played professional cricket, Jeff provided an opportunity for members to take advice about progression from league cricket, while offering some key advice and tips to umpires within Durham ACO.

Sue Redfern joined in for February’s meeting, with a focus on women and girls officiating as she spoke about her career, how making mistakes aren’t bad as long as you learn from them and gave an insight into the future of officiating for the women’s game on the back of the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy. An up-and-coming female umpire from South Africa joined the talk to listen to Sue.

For Durham’ final meeting ahead of the season, we were joined by an official from a different sport, as Hockey England’s Officials Manager, David Elworthy spoke to members on creating your own brand as an official in terms of how you see yourself and how others see you along with a key discussion on communication on field and man management.

Durham Cricket ACO Chairman, Harry Stephenson said: “This past year has been tough for everyone, but for Durham ACO members to listen and learn from some of the country’s top officials has been a real pleasure.

We have had over 200 tune in across all our monthly meetings, which has been fantastic to see. Using zoom has been a huge benefit for our members, as you can hear from anyone at any time without having to be present in person, like you would be for our regular meetings.

If any counties don’t currently use the platform, I would highly recommend it.

Although we are coming out of lockdown, we still plan to use it within Durham, to give our members a chance to listen and learn from some top officials. During this covid period, where many of our members live alone this platform has given them added company.  As Durham ACO Chairman, I am thankful to all guests for tuning in and for our members for supporting us throughout.”

Sam Blacklock

Durham ACO County Scoring Officer

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