Paddy O'Hara (CricketEurope), March 2021
An excellent and popular senior league umpire, I never understood why Bob Kane never made the final step up to International standard.
He was a tremendous servant to NIACUS, as a top instructor, a wonderful Chair in our Golden Anniversary year and as convenor of the grading committee, where he set the bar very high indeed.
All this workload was recognised by the executive committee and later he was quite properly elevated to Honorary Life membership of NIACUS.
As an instructor he excelled when presenting on the topic of fieldcraft and man-management. At the end of one evening, he closed his presentation with a short phrase which has stuck in my memory to this day.
He was pointing out that umpires must never draw attention to themselves and only intervene when some incident requires them to do so. If the game is progressing in a satisfactory manner, the umpires should be largely invisible. It is the players” game after all.
He finished by saying “Remember that as umpires you are part of the game, but apart from it". Sage advice indeed.
His time as Grading convenor really transformed that job. Captains were required to complete Umpires” report forms and return them to the NCU, on pain of a fine for non-compliance. Then they came to Bob. He read every single form and if there was any comment or query recorded that required further scrutiny, he would contact the captain concerned and the match umpires and resolve these situations. The captains were delighted.
Some admitted that they never believed that there was this level of scrutiny, believing that they were just stuck into some cupboard in an NCU office and left to gather dust. As a result of Bob”s diligence the quality of the Captains” comments improved markedly and were much more reasoned and constructive, resulting in a win win situation for all involved. By the end of the season he had all the information neatly filed and displayed meaning that his small sub-committee only had to convene once, to finalise the gradings for the following year.
Off the cricket field he had the reputation of being a bit of a ‘song and dance’ man! I remember the time we were invited to an end of season North West Umpires” dinner dance in Eglinton CC. As the dinner progressed and the band was getting ready on stage for the main event, Brendan Donaghy he of Showband fame, Bob was called for a song. I think he saw himself as Brendan”s warm up act. He went down very well and one song became three songs and his grand finale was his show stopper “Me and Bobby McGee” So Brendan Donaghy did get on, but half an hour later than expected.
Bob Kane”s finest hour came when as our Chairman he MC”d the NIACUS Golden Jubilee celebration dinner in 1999 It was a memorable event attended by 175 members, guests and celebrities. The Hon. Sec. at the time Joy Muir left no stone unturned to ensure everything ran smoothly and her gallery of photographs in the hotel entrance hall was like a history lesson of the 50 foregoing years.
We had the three head honchos from ACU&S, umpire guests from Netherlands and Hong Kong and - thanks to the generosity of one of our Vice-presidents Robin Walsh - celebrity guest speakers TV presenter Henry Kelly, and Kent & England Test cricketer Derek Underwood.
Bob”s welcoming speech to the visitors included him addressing the overseas umpires in their own language. Mind you, when I asked the gentleman from The Netherlands what he thought of Bob”s effort, he smiled and said “ Didn”t understand a word of it, it was all Double Dutch to me!”.