WHEN the new cricket season came around recently someone who had already been busier than most in the summer sport was Arthur Brady, who is the Hon Secretary of the Pembrokeshire Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers.

One of Arthur’s major roles is to make sure that all the local umpires, who officiate in Divisions One and Two of the Thomas Carroll Pembrokeshire League know where they are each week on a Saturday afternoon at places as far afield as Whitland, St Ishmaels, Llanrhian and Llechryd, as well as the more centrally-based clubs in the county.

“I do the allocating job with Dave Brandon, who is the chairman of PACUS and Huw Davies, the association’s training officer,” Arthur told us,

“When we meet before the season starts and again a little through the campaign in readiness for the second half.

“We have to bear in mind things like relative experience and travel distances but in general we try to make sure that every umpire has a share of games at every level in the league, and the chance to share the duties with a range of other match officials so that we encourage a sense of camaraderie amongst our group.”

The system works well as Arthur uses his computer to keep most members informed and regularly updated, alongside other roles associated with being secretary, like notification of meetings and taking minutes, which are also disseminated in similar fashion.

“We do have a couple of umpires who would prefer more traditional methods of staying in touch, like a phone call or letter but they are relatively few and I am always trying to convert them,” says Arthur with a typical chuckle - and modern thinking for someone who admits to being in his mid-70s!

“We feel that it is very important for us to provide as much encouragement and support as possible because we are always looking to encourage those who are thinking of retiring from the game and want to put something back into our great sport - and to that end we regularly hold sessions by Huw and others to allow them, and anyone else with an interest in cricket, to qualify as umpires.”

This is Arthur’s second year in office after taking over from his old friend and neighbour Les Hastings, who was an excellent organiser and did the job for a long time.

“Following Les meant I had a big pair of shoes to fill and when Dave (Brandon) phoned me to ask if I was prepared to take on the job I took a little time out to think about it before saying yes.

“My other interest is singing with Haverfordwest Male Voice Choir, where I was Hon Secretary for a while, and I am also General Secretary of the Welsh Association of Male Choirs after previously being Assistant Secretary and Press Officer so I have plenty of experience that I can put to good use in my cricket role.

“We are currently working towards our grand concert at the Royal Albert hall, where there will be three English choirs, two from North Wales and 24 from South Wales, including Haverfordwest, Pembroke, Tenby and Whitland from our area."

Arthur also enjoys most sports and in school took part in athletics, cricket, rugby and tennis but living out in the country and with no family car in those days meant that chances to play were limited, although he and his pals would watch Carew and cycle up to Cresselly or Lawrenny to watch cricket.

When he joined the police as a cadet he did play for Pembrokeshire Police but as he moved up the ranks he had less time to commit as his family came along.

Back on the cricketing front, Arthur added: “We are always on the lookout for new umpires and we are a group who enjoy each other’s company, especially at our Christmas lunch for the committee and our pre-season Sunday Lunch where anyone with a love of cricket is welcome to attend.”

Arthur started out as an umpire after watching his son Simon play for Haverfordwest and seeing an advert for new umpires.

“I thought I would give it a bash,” said Arthur, “and soon I was on a course alongside the likes of Terry Sandy, Peter Perry and Richard Merriman and it was very enjoyable - and pretty soon I had my white coat and counters as I began to stand in the middle, initially in the second division.

“My first game of note came when I joined Richard Merriman in umpiring the Alan Brown Cup Final in Whitland and we were very much aware that as newcomers we were being watched by those who had stood in the middle for a long time!”

Since then Arthur has officiated at every cup final that is played in our county, with his Harrison-Allen Bowl Final an undoubted highlight, with Denis Chiffi as his partner.

“Denis is great company and we enjoyed the match between two very competitive teams in Haverfordwest and Neyland, who won. Last season I umpired the Alec Colley Cup Final at Pembroke with Dai Morris as Whitland beat Carew.

“I’ve also been in the middle a few times for the Duggie Morris Cup Final at Burton, including once with Allan Hansen when the game doubled up as the much-postponed Jubilee Cup game, as well as other finals of the Ormond Youth Cup and Plate.

Ask Arthur about support and he would immediately nominate his wife Shirley.

"She is not an ardent fan of the game but is always there to help, as are our children and grandchildren, who are a sporting bunch to say the least."

As to how long he carries on as an umpire and hon secretary depends on how he feels but at 74 he is still enjoying his involvement - and we think he does a great job so we hope Arthur Brady keeps going for years to come yet!