Friday, July 4th, 2014

Worcs Legend Illy Umpiring Former County At New Road For First Time

Worcs Legend Illy Umpiring Former County At New Road For First Time

Worcestershire legend Richard Illingworth will umpire in a competitive match involving his former county at New Road for the first time this evening.

Illingworth is one of the officials for the Rapids NatWest T20 Blast clash with Yorkshire Vikings (5.30pm start) and will also be in the middle for Sunday's home NatWest T20 Blast meeting with Lancashire (2.30pm start).

The former England spinner, who is now a member of the ICC elite umpires panel, was part of one of the most successful sides in the county's history.

Illingworth played for Worcestershire from 1982 to 2000 and ended his career with 831 first class wickets with 19 from nine Tests with England for whom he also played in the 1992 and 1996 World Cups.

He had a brief spell with Derbyshire after leaving New Road, is a fully qualified coach, has been a first class umpire since 2003 and was promoted to the ICC elite panel last summer.

He returned home this week after officiating in the three Test West Indies v New Zealand series and is due to umpire in the second Test of the England v India series at Lord's in two weeks.

Illingworth, who still lives in Worcester, said: "I officiated in England A v India A and a pre-season Worcestershire match at New Road and did one game a long time ago involving them at Lord's.

"But this will be the first time I've done a competitive Worcestershire first team game at New Road.

"Why has it taken so long? The first few years on the list I asked not to do Worcestershire because there were still people playing that I had played with.

"That was part of the reason but for the last three or four years I've said I would love to do a few games at Worcester which would save me having to travel around the country.

"But the way the fixtures have come out, I haven't done a Worcestershire fixture home or away in that period. It's just come around now twice in the one weekend.

"I am looking forward to it. I can wake up at a decent hour and not have to do any travelling and then get down to New Road and not have too far to travel back home."

Illingworth added: "I was thinking about what I would be looking forward to and I think I would be looking forward to umpiring at the New Road End because that is where I did most of my bowling from.

"It is one of those scenarios as to the toss of the bale deciding which end I get. Fingers crossed I'll get the New Road End but we'll see."

Illingworth has been settled in Worcester for 32 years since he first came down from Yorkshire as an 18-year-old to play for the county.

He said: "I've got no plans to move away. It's such a nice place to live and, with the job I do now, as it was when I was playing, the motorway system is well situated.

"It is also only a short drive into the countryside and some nice gastro-pubs. It is a lovely place to live."