Gaffaney reliving simpler times

International cricket umpire Chris Gaffaney turned back the clock to his playing days to compete in the Masters Games at Tonga Park yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
International cricket umpire Chris Gaffaney turned back the clock to his playing days to compete in the Masters Games at Tonga Park yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The New Zealand Masters Games have been an opportunity for international cricket umpire Chris Gaffaney to appreciate the sport's stars.

The Dunedinite played his first match for his side, The Vets, in his home town this week.

Only a matter of days before donning the pads, Gaffaney (42) was wearing his umpire's hat and overseeing Australia's last one-day international against England in Perth.

There, like in many of the 57 ODIs and 20 twenty20 internationals the umpire has presided over, sixes were blasted into the upper reaches of the stadium with ease by some of the world's finest batsmen.

Trying to achieve the same results for The Vets gave Gaffaney an appreciation for what he sees every day as an international umpire.

''You sit there and watch cricket and you obviously see the best players in the world and then you come back and do it yourself and the mind might be willing but the body isn't.

''It certainly makes you appreciate how good these players are at international level.

''They are all outstanding players and what they can do with the cricket bat and ball is amazing.''

There have not been many chances for Gaffaney to completely turn the tables and appeal to the umpire on a decision as the Masters Games have been played in a very friendly atmosphere.

The competition has been played without an lbw rule which Gaffaney thought helped the spirit of the games.

''It is nice and relaxing, actually. It's good to be with a good bunch of fun people and just enjoy cricket for what it is - just a good, fun time.

''It has been a while since I have been able to do that - turn up to a game of cricket and enjoy it for what it is.''

The Vets team is a largely social group which features two of Gaffaney's former Otago Volts team-mates.

''There are a couple of guys that used play for Otago with me, Warren McSkimming and Simon Ford.

''The rest of them are a good bunch of guys that know each other that have got together for the Masters.

''The guys we have been playing against, I have known guys in most sides, so it has been really, really fun.''

Eleven teams are competing in four rounds, finishing tomorrow.

The timing of the competition is perfect for Gaffaney and it offered him a good way to relax in between his international umpiring duties.

''I am heading away in a couple weeks to South Africa for some more test matches.''

The Masters Games cricket competition is in its 13th year and has continued to grow, organiser John Henderson said.

The event started with just four teams and has grown to 11 this year with the hope of reaching up to 15 teams in 2019.

 

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