MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Clarence River umpire Jeff Hackett will adjudicate today’s GDSC Premier League match between South Services and Coutts Crossing at Ellem Oval
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Clarence River umpire Jeff Hackett will adjudicate today’s GDSC Premier League match between South Services and Coutts Crossing at Ellem Oval Adam Hourigan

The men who make calls with balls

CRCA CRICKET: One split second, incorrect decision could be enough to end the finals dreams of either South Services or Coutts Crossing this weekend.

That is the gravity of the task at hand weighing on the shoulders of two men standing either end of a 22 yard strip. But according to Jeff Hackett – who along with Terry Hickson has been appointed the duty – there is no extra pressure felt by the umpiring duo.

“I definitely don’t feel any extra pressure with my experience,” He said. “Terry is the same. Both Terry and myself will be up for the challenge.

“We work as a team from ball one at 1pm until end of play, just as the two sides are working as teams. Confidence is a big thing with umpiring, and basically we need to be able to relax and enjoy the game – it is the best seat in the house.”

Hackett said the umpires will need to rely on instinct when making crucial decisions, as a wrong decision could change the tide of a match.

“You are out there to do the best you possibly can,” he said. “We try to deliver the best decision every time. If there is any doubt, it is not out. That is a good motto to work with.

“You can’t second guess on decisions. A an umpire you just need to go with your initial gut instinct.

“If you walk away knowing you gave away a really high percentage from your end the players will respect that.”

As a former player, Hackett was invoved in many clutch matches throughout his career. Even with the change in roles he says you cannot beat the excitement of leading into finals cricket.

“I used to look forward to this time as a player and I really look forward to this time of year to get out there and officiate,” he said. “I still get the same buzz now as I did when I was a player.”

As for the match at hand, Hackett said he expects both Souths and Coutts to bring their best to the table with nothing to split the two teams.

“There has not been much between these sides all season,” he said. “There are some very good individual players on both sides and hopefully we should get a tight contest.”



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