CRICKET is unique. A wonderfully British summertime game, a gentlemen’s game. A game that should always be respected.

And, for me, tolerance, cooperation and respect is even more important at the grassroots level than anywhere else.

There are rarely qualified umpires in matches at 3rd and 4th-team level, so sides rely on each other’s players to do the job so games can go-ahead.

However, the same rules apply.

The umpire’s decision is final.

That’s what makes the unsavoury goingson at the weekend’s clash between Stanford-le-Hope and Basildon and Pitsea even more disappointing.

The captain gave a decision, but it seems it wasn’t respected.

As a captain of a local side myself, I have been in the firing line.

Anyone who has played sport knows in the heat of the battle tempers can
flare, and allowances are duly made.

But a batsman, in his 40s, arrested? A fielder, in his 60s, taken to hospital? A
game abandoned? No one wants to see this.

And poor behaviour can impact on young players too.

I’ve also seen this happen in the past. As I see it, any adult who plays this amazing game should treat it with the respect it so richly deserves.