Keith Smith Factfile
David Holmes (News Letter)
Keith Smith Fact file Q&A
Total Cricket spoke to Keith Smith who was appointed as third umpire for the game - the two men in the middle were Richard Kettleborough and Mark Hawthorne.
Name: Keith Smith; former player and umpire
Some Statistics: Medium pace opening bowler
Also a wicket-keeper but as he wore glasses that was short lived career
Played club cricket in Hull for Hilltop in East Riding Amateur League
Interesting facts: Appointed to international panel in 2005, this is his last season
Born just outside Rochdale but will have been in NI for 9 years on day of Ireland Australia game
Q. How did you get started in the game:
I was actually born in my grandmotherís house, which was directly opposite Castleton Moor Cricket Club who played in the central Lancashire League. I was always involved at school and my father encouraged me to play the game.
Q. Any early influences on your cricketing career:
I went to St.Edwards Primary School in Castleton and I was in the school team from 8 or 9 years of age. There was a guy there called Frank Savin and he use to put an old sixpence on a length and we tried to hit it so you were taught all about line and length. From there I moved on to Rochdale Grammar School.
Q. What about at the club:
I was there all the times and the kids basically used to fetch the ball for the guys in the nets. There were some decent professionals around, I remember Vijay Mankad and at the end of the net session they would let you bowl to them.
Q. How did you get involved in umpiring.
I was playing cricket for Hilltop and I injured my back, so I went on the umpire training course, then it took 2 years to qualify and you had to get experience. Around 1983 I was playing league cricket on a Saturday, umpiring on a Sunday and in midweek.
Then I started to move up the leagues, the East Yorkshire Cup and then the Yorkshire league, there were some decent players around like David Byas and Craig White
Q. Highlight of your career to date
Two stand out in 2009 the World Cricket League Division 4 in Italy when we had Ian Gould as our mentor and the 2008 ICC European Division 2 Championships hosted by Guernsey, the final between the hosts and Jersey, Guernsey needed 8 to win with 6 wickets in hand and lost.
Q. What about locally
Has to be the Challenge Cup final in 2009 which Instonians won at Comber. I was in the middle with Alan Neill and the weather had been dreadful this was the third attempt and if it had rained again there would have been two new umpires as Alan and I were heading to Spain for a European tournament the next day.
Q. Best cricketers when you were in the middle
Internationally I would pick out Craig McMillen, tremendous player and it was great to catch up with him again when he was over with CIYMS. Locally I have very respect for Kyle McCallan as a player, mind you he and I do not always see eye to eye on the pitch!
Q. Best ground that you have umpired at
It has to be Newlands. I went to South Africa with Ivan Reid in 2006/7 with The Grasshoppers as their umpires, a marvellous experience. I do have to say though that one of my favourite grounds is Scarborough.
Q. What about Saturday, what does it mean to you
It is a tremendous thrill and honour. At the start of the season there were two games I would have loved to be involved in; the match at Lords which only lasted 6 overs and this one. This is the culmination of my career; I will retire at the end of the season. I want to go out at the top I have seen too many stick around for two long and I said as long as I was physically able I would stop at 65.
Q. I believe you have some history with Richard Kettleborough
Yes not only did I umpire him as a player in the Yorkshire league, but I was his examiner when he did his umpire exams. Rest assured I will be reminding him of that at the weekend!
Q. Any further ambitions
I still want to be involved in the game and like the idea of being an umpire assessor and trainer. On the European scene I would like to be an umpire manager or a tournament referee.