Into the Wilds: Shield umpire set for Wade Park return

EAGLE EYE: Bathurst's Tony Wilds (right) watches on as Tasmania's Sam Rainbird sends one down in the Matador BBQs Cup. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
EAGLE EYE: Bathurst's Tony Wilds (right) watches on as Tasmania's Sam Rainbird sends one down in the Matador BBQs Cup. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Forget marquee players, this year the Royal Hotel Cup is going one step further and featuring a marquee umpire in Bathurst’s Tony Wilds – a name plenty in Orange District Cricket Association will remember from his time officiating representative, and Bathurst-Orange Inter-District cricket.

Wilds moved rapidly through the ranks of Bathurst, Mitchell Cricket Council and Western Zone cricket after finishing his playing days with Rugby Union, before moving to Sydney and immediately being recognised as a more-than-handy umpire.

So much so, he was appointed to Futures League and second XI games not long after hitting the Sydney Grade Cricket – now NSW Premier Cricket – scene.

He was then appointed to the state panel in season 2011-12 and has since watched over several Sheffield Shield games, a number of Matador BBQs Cup fixtures and has also stood in women’s One-Day and Twenty20 Internationals, and Big Bash League games.

Now, he’ll be returning for to Wade Park for the first time in seasons to oversee CYMS’ Royal Hotel Cup pool B clash with the Lithgow Lightning on Friday night.

“It’s a big thing for Orange to have an umpire of Wildsy’s calibre come and officiate, not just for the umpires but for the players as well,” Orange Umpires’ appointment coordinator, and ODCA vice-president, Steve Warrington said.

“The umpires who stand with him in games can learn from him, but the nature of cricket here is that teams tend to see the same umpires a lot in Saturday games so it’ll be good for the players to see a fresh face, who has umpired at very, very high levels.”

Warrington explained the coup came from a simple email he sent to his Bathurst counterpart Graham Glazebrook.

“We’ve been trying to cooperate with the Bathurst umpires and mix it up a bit for a while, so I asked Graham if any Bathurst umpires would like to do some Royal Hotel Cup games,” Warrington said.

“He forwarded that email on and low and behold, Wildsy was the first one to respond. He’s keen and has been pushing to foster the Bathurst-Orange relationship for some time, so this is a start.”

Wilds will umpire Friday night’s game alongside Ian Findlay, before also standing in a handful of others in January.

“He’s working around his Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League commitments, but we’ll have him for a few games at least,” Warrington said.

“Hopefully we can get him together with some our younger umpires as well.”