Baxter calling the shots in two big days of umpiring action
CRICKET: For a country cricket umpire, two of the pinnacles of the sport are officiating a Sydney Premier Grade cricket match and the finals of the Regional Plan B Bash, and Clarence River's Bruce Baxter will tick both of them off in three days.
In a big few days of cricket, Baxter will officiate the Round 12 clash between StGeorge and Northern District at Hurstville Oval this weekend, before he takes the middle of the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground for the Plan B Regional Bash finals on Tuesday.
"The Saturday-Sunday game just fitted in with the Tuesday game, and there is an expectation to do a game in Sydney when you're umpiring at a high level,” Baxter said.
"To be able to have two Grafton boys in me and Darren Goodger umpiring at Hurstville in Sydney Premier Grade cricket is fantastic, and then to once again umpire at the SCG, it's still a privilege to be able to umpire there and be thought of as good enough to umpire the Plan B Bash final.”
After umpiring for about 10 years, Baxter said the basics of his job didn't change whether he was in behind the stumps at the SCG or McKittrick Park.
"You have to be well aware of the playing conditions of each game, in particular the longer matches like the game this weekend,” he said.
"The match starts at 10.30am and it's a long two days, so you have to read the conditions. For the Plan B Bash it's a little different. There's a degree of familiarity because it's the same as what we see at McKittrick Park.
"The main thing is to be focused on every ball. You have to have your processes in place so you're on song every time the bowler comes in to bowl, and you need to relax between balls so you can concentrate for long periods of time. You need to have downtime between balls and then focus when it's your time to focus.
"A fair bit of it is second nature but you still can't be complacent because for the players it could be the highlight of their year, or their whole cricketing career in respect to playing at the SCG.
"You want to be sure you do the very best you can for the players. They expect you to do the best job you can and you've got to be prepared to do exactly that.”