Kathy Cross capped an immensely satisfying season last week in being
named Wellington’s umpire of the year ahead of regular recipient Evan
Watkin, and the emerging Garth Stirrat. Cross was a very popular winner
of the award’s Stanley Cowman Cup at Cricket Wellington’s annual
prize-giving at the Hawkins Basin Reserve’s Norwood Room, given the reception
the announcement generated, and two nights later Cross was presented
with the cup again at the Wellington umpires and scorers’ annual
However, despite Watkin having another outstanding overall season in
2011-12 the marks he received from the Wellington senior club captains
were bettered by Cross and Stirrat. It was a particularly tight,
high-quality contest, which was not decided till the final weekend of
the season. Cross started in the summer of 1998-99, and in a moving
acceptance speech to the umpires, which included the singing of a
waiata, she recalled with affection being mentored by now Wellington
president and patron, Bill Sommer and Terry Knight respectively.
Cross has been very much a trail blazer in Wellington since she took up
umpiring in the late 1990s, being largely the only woman officiating in
club matches in the capital in her time, and certainly at a national
level. Last week she became the first woman to become Wellington umpire
of the year. It was an honour which meant a great deal to her. For years
Watkin was the yardstick, being repeatedly the leading Wellington
umpire with one exception when current chairman David Brandon pipped
him, an acknowledgement of Watkin’s standing in New Zealand cricket with
a background that includes three test appearances, and more than one
hundred appointments to first-class matches.
Cross said it had not always been plain sailing for her, but she was
determined to enhance her standing as an umpire. She urged aspiring
umpires to commit themselves each Saturday even when they wondered why
they bothered, and said the rewards were there if they persevered. Cross
made her debut in a major association one-day game in the 2003-04
season, and she said umpiring had enabled her to make many lasting
friendships around the country.
Her appointments have included standing in two women’s World Cups, and
numerous other one-day internationals. In the season just ended Cross
was appointed to the women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in
Bangladesh, which included her umpiring the playoff for third, and at
home she stood in one-day matches with the touring women’s England team.
The Pop Calcinai Trophy for outstanding service to the umpires’
association during the year was awarded to first-year chairman David
Brandon. He succeeded in the association conducting its affairs more
professionally, and endeavoured to develop stronger relationships with
the clubs and Cricket Wellington.
The Brownie Watson Trophy for the most improved was awarded for a second
time to one of the association’s most experienced umpires, Rob Kinsey,
and the Evan Watkin Trophy, a new award for the best first-year umpire,
went to Chintu Gandhi.