Deputy off to umpire cricket

There's no rest for Paul Adams - his summer break is spent officiating at top county games. Joe Clancy reports.

The man-management skills employed by Paul Adams as deputy head of a boys' comprehensive are coming in handy during his six-week summer break.

He has to use them to the full when he dons his white coat and takes his position behind the stumps as a professional cricket umpire at top county games.

The deputy at St Ignatius College, in Enfield, north London, is the only first-class umpire drawn from the teaching profession. After his school broke up on July 19, he headed for Birmingham to officiate at the match between Warwickshire and the West Indies A side.

He will be umpiring matches almost continuously until school re-opens in September.

Batsman Sachin Tendulkar is the name he hopes to add to the long list of international stars of the game he has had under his control when he umpires Essex against India on August 14.

Shane Warne, Curtly Ambrose, Allan Donald, Waqar Younis and Jayasuriya are just a few of the cricket greats to feature in matches where he has officiated.

Being an Essex man, one of his most memorable matches was umpiring the game in which Graham Gooch scored his 100th first-class century.

He said: "There are many big personalities and some players throw their toys quicker than others - but discipline is not too bad.

"These days it is part of the game for batsmen not to walk and for fielders to appeal for everything. But thankfully there is still a lot of respect in the game for umpires."

Mr Adams, 52, a teacher of Russian, French and Latin, is one of only three non-ex-professional cricketers umpiring first-class matches.

But despite being closely involved in top-level cricket, he does not join in at school. "I leave that to the capable PE department," he said.

He was invited to go on the first-class reserve umpire list in 1992 after spending seven years umpiring minor counties and second-11 matches. Every year since he has spent the spring half-term holiday and the six-week summer break out in the middle.

Last year he was invited to become a full-time umpire but he said: "I turned down the offer because I thoroughly enjoy my life at St Ignatius."

His wife Susan is not a cricket fan. "She would be bored rigid watching me umpire," he said. "I always take her on a good holiday in October to make up for being away."

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