JUST because you are in your 50th season of umpiring does not mean to say that you have seen it all.

Alan Carter, who has reached that incredible landmark, had to warn a batsman for striding into the danger area in front of the wicket during last Sunday’s Jack Hampshire Cup final, which saw Yeadon beat Birstall by two wickets at Liversedge.

Sedge opener Rob Smith, who was batting out of his crease, was the culprit soon after the tea interval, and Carter said: “It is a new rule that has come in this season (because why should a danger area only apply to bowlers?) and I have had to warn people a couple of times before in this campaign.

“The batsman can charge down into the danger area, play a shot and then move away.

“What he can’t do is plant his foot inside the five-foot area and wait for the ball coming and then play his shot, and Rob did that twice."

Carter decided at the early age of 22 that he was not going to make many headlines as a cricketer and opted for umpiring instead.

He explained: “I had been refereeing football for about 18 months and it got to April when football had finished and I said ‘What do I do in summer? Watch cricket?’

“The following week there was an advert in the local paper ‘Umpires required in the Dewsbury & District Cricket League’ so I applied and that was basically it.

“When I went to the meeting to be an umpire I was told ‘That is the signal for four, that is the signal for six. Can you go to Netherton on Saturday?’ and for 18 months that was all the tuition that I had.

“I never saw a copy of the Laws of Cricket. I used to have to go to WH Smith’s on Saturday mornings and look in the back of the Wisden (Cricketer’s Almanack).”

Now, of course, things are markedly different, with umpires having to go on several courses and reach various grades to officiate at certain levels, and then there are those refresher courses and an annual crop of new laws to contend with.

But a stricter set of courses for umpires is far from the only change that Carter has seen in his half-century of wearing the white coat.

When Carter started in the Bradford League in 1980 there were a crop of notable former first-class cricketers, mostly from Yorkshire or Derbyshire, who were playing in the league, such as Test players Phil Sharpe and Don Wilson etc.

“That was a massive difference,” admitted Carter, “but another massive difference was the overseas players, such as Dilip Vengsarkar and Abdul Qadir, who played one game for Hanging Heaton, and latterly Rana Naved ul-Hasan.

“Now you have never heard of the overseas players before they arrive – not that they are bad players. It is just that they aren’t as good as those that have gone before them, with Rana a classic example of a good bowler.

“Also now the game is weighted a lot more towards the batters (for example just look at the inventive shots – ramps, reverse sweeps, scoops etc in the past 10 years) than the bowlers as the bowlers have restrictions on short-pitched bowling, such as one an over in certain competitions, you have leg-side wides, and batsmen get things too easy these days.”

Carter added: “By and large it is enjoyable now as ever but even when I started umpiring in the Central Yorkshire League in 1972 cricketers walked (when they were out before being given out by the umpire).

“They didn’t stand there and question your decision like they sometimes do now. They walked, which made things easier in that respect.”

As for the future, he said: “While I still have all my faculties, such as eyesight and hearing, and I am fit enough, I will carry on.”