Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette
Top local cricket umpires Roger Dill and Steven Douglas are now expected to be announced as match officials for next month's Cup Match classic at Wellington Oval in the very near future, The Royal Gazette can reveal.
According to reliable sources, Cup Match rivals Somerset and St. George's have now agreed to have Dill and Douglas stand in the middle this year and are expected to make the pair's appointment official sometime next week.
Sources also confirmed that the two Cup Match club's initial attempts to bring in overseas umpires were in fact blocked by Bermuda Immigration who denied their applications for work permits.
Last year retired English umpires Mervyn Kitchen and David Shepherd, as well as former West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd (match referee), made history by becoming the first foreign match officials to officiate in the 105-year-old rivalry after Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) and the two Cup Match representatives took drastic measures to avoid a repeat of the on-field bust-up that marred the 2005 classic at Wellington Oval.
The 2005 classic in the East End, which saw hosts St.George's record a narrow 21-run victory, was soured when players from opposing sides had to be separated on two occasions after tempers flared and St. George's colt George O'Brien jr landed a blow to the helmet of Somerset batsman Stephen Outerbridge who allegedly spat at the fiery fast bowler.
It is understood Bermuda Immigration officials denied the two Cup Match club's applications for work permits based on the fact Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association (BCUA) have within its membership umpires more than capable of doing the required job.
Dill is an active member of the ICC Associate and Affiliate Umpires and Americas Region Elite Panels and has officiated in top ICC sanctioned tournaments, ODIs and Intercontinental Cup matches around the world.
Douglas, who officiated in the 2004 classic at Somerset Cricket Club, was recently promoted to the Americas Region Elite Panel and is expected to umpire during next month's Under-19 World Cup qualifiers to be held at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club grounds in King City, Ontario, Canada.