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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

IES gets the nod from umpire Pearce

PUBLISHED: 22:01 07 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 March 2010

FEW umpires enjoy the same rapport with players as Paul Pearce, a larger than life character who despite having no transport is happy to travel anywhere for a game of cricket.

FEW umpires enjoy the same rapport with players as Paul Pearce, a larger than life character who despite having no transport is happy to travel anywhere for a game of cricket.

Now back at work after a long illness that necessitated a spell in hospital, Pearce has been wearing his white coat for 20 years.

He is on the panel of officials who take charge of games in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship and the Suffolk Premier League, and says that 99 per cent of his matches are a pleasure to control.

It is no secret that he enjoys the odd pint after standing for six hours or so in the middle, and he recalls the times when he officiated at Ipswich and East Suffolk on a regular basis.

"I love it at Chantry Park, although my visits are not so regular these days," recalls Pearce who lives in Leiston.

"Many times I would take charge of games on both Saturday and Sunday, and someone from the club would pick me up from the railway station and take me back to catch the last train to Saxmundham.

"On a number of occasions I decided to stay the night and after the players had left used to roll up in one of the changing rooms. The next morning I was fresh and ready for the Sunday game, but there were some weird noises at times in the middle of the night."

If Pearce does not use buses and trains he gets a lift from Oulton Broad-based fellow umpire Barry Toombs, and rarely turns down an appointment wherever it is.

He feels that the powers umpires now have to deduct runs for bad conduct has improved behaviour on the field of play.

"I have had to deduct five runs once, when a batsman did not heed my warnings to stop running down the middle of the wicket," recalled Pearce, who works in the bar of a social club in Leiston.

"A friendly word will snuff out any potential problems nine times out of ten. If the authorities bring in red and yellow cards, as they are threatening to do, I pack it in. I want no part of that."

No one watches cricket as closely as an umpire, and the larger than life Pearce feels that standards in the Two Counties Championship are improving.

But he is not so complimentary about the Suffolk Premier League. "I had one game this season when I was in the bar by 3.30 pm. Bourne Vale had nine men and were dismissed for 17 by Worlingworth."

Otherwise Pearce, a member of the 45-strong Suffolk Umpires' Association, has no complaints and looks forward to many more hours in the middle.

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