Dunedin umpire honoured

George Morris has been made a life member of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association. Photo: Linda Robertson
George Morris has been made a life member of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association. Photo: Linda Robertson
Few have contributed as much to cricket as Dunedin's George Morris, and that service was rewarded last week with an unexpected honour.

The former international umpire was made a life member of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NZCUSA) during its annual general meeting in Masterton.

The 60-year-old said he was moved by the recognition.

''I wasn't expecting it ... and I feel grateful they decided to bestow the honour on me,'' Morris said.

''It means quite a lot. My involvement with umpiring goes back a good couple of years.

''It has been a fairly big part of my life and basically taken over my summers. It is a nice feeling.''

Morris, who is the chairman of the NZCUSA, took up umpiring as a 14-year-old schoolboy in 1972.

By the mid 1980s, Morris had reached the top and officiated in four tests and eight one-day internationals.

His long service and the role he has played in the education of umpires saw him honoured with life membership.

He sets the written and oral exams for umpires. But Morris has also been heavily involved in administration at local level.

He has been on the board of the Dunedin Cricket Association for the past 15 years.

''I started off with a really good bunch of umpires down here and they really welcomed me and made it a worthwhile and pleasurable experience.

''That was the start of it and since then it has always been a really good bunch to work with.''

Long-serving Otago scorer Malcolm Jones felt Morris had been instrumental in helping foster the careers of the region's leading umpires, such as Chris Gaffaney, Shaun Haig, Derek Walker and, more recently, Kannan Jagannathan.

''He has certainly had a big hand in the development of Kannan and getting these guys to a high level so they can progress,'' Jones said.

''It is a very well-deserved honour.''

Morris played down his contribution.

''I think I've played a part- I wouldn't say a big part. I think I've supported them and been there if they need advice.

''But those people you talk about are very driven people. But equally they have taken their time and have worked at it.''

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