Higher honours for umpires
CLARENCE River Cricket Association players are going to find it increasingly difficult to argue with the decisions of two local umpires.
Jeff Hackett and Bruce Baxter have umpired in the Clarence Valley competition for the last few years, with Hackett edging closer to a decade behind the stumps at the non-strikers end.
The pair have endured where others have fallen, weathering criticism and controversy without batting an eyelid.
Their efforts at club level have not gone unnoticed, with NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association executive officer Darren Goodger appointing the two to representative events later this season.
Goodger, himself a former umpire in the Clarence Valley, said it was the first time the two had been appointed to games at this level.
"I'm delighted that both have been selected for a number of reasons," Goodger said.
"The No.1 thing we are after in cricket is good people with good attitudes, and both of these men have that.
"They bring a lot of playing experience to their positions."
Hackett has copped his fair share of criticism in recent seasons, but that has never tapered his desire to officiate games.
His faith has been repaid with two important appointments for this summer - the NSW U-17 state carnival at Raymond Terrace in October, and the NSW Country U-21 competition at Coffs Harbour in February.
His love for cricket becomes obvious when you talk to him about the sport, and he was over the moon when informed of his appointments.
"I am quite honoured to be given the chance," Hackett said.
"I've umpired plenty of inter-district and state competitions but this is the first at this level.
"I'm umpiring the first game with Kim Norris, who I played with a few years ago, so I'm looking forward to that."
Baxter has been officiating in the CRCA for the past three years, and has been appointed to the NSW Country U-21s with Hackett.
"It's going to be great," Baxter said. "Retired people are a bit more accessible and I guess that worked in my favour."