EXPERIENCED umpire Paul Newbould (pictured, above right) has become the latest recipient of the Bradford Mutual Sunday School League’s greatest honour.

The 61-year-old, who has taken charge of 570 matches in the league, was presented with the Leslie B Briggs Trophy at the league’s annual dinner at the Aagrah Midpoint at Thornbury.

Newbould has officiated at five Sir James Roberts Cup finals (for first teams), as well as at the H Broadbent Trophy final (for second teams) and the league’s T20 final.

He was presented with the trophy by league president Alan Broadbent, who is a personal friend, and Newbould said: “It made me quite emotional at the time.

“I have been umpiring in the league for 25 years and to win it is special, particularly when you look at the previous umpires who have won it. It is a privilege to be on that list.

“When Nick Spachis (league chairman) started his little speech, it slowly dawned on me that he was talking about me.

“I am more than five years away from retiring at work, so I would imagine that I will continue umpiring for another five years at least.”

Newbould added: “I have fulfilled just about every role in the Bradford Mutual Sunday School League’s Umpires’ Association – secretary, acting chairman, vice-chairman and assistant this and assistant that.

“We haven’t functioned this year, and it hasn’t been entirely disbanded but it hasn’t been in the same format, and we would have been 100 years old as an organisation on December 7 this year.

“We did a full directory of the Umpires’ Association about 10 years ago and we found about 600 names and of them 23 have done over 25 years, so I am moving up that list every year.

“Every league is struggling for umpires and we are pretty much down to one umpire per game, and some games take place without a league umpire.

“When I started umpiring, about 10 per cent of games I would do on my own and now it has reversed and it is 90 per cent.

“The biggest change within the league now is the enthusiasm of the fielders.

“They see so much cricket on television that they emulate that, and people don’t just stand in the field (being quiet) any more.”