Umpire Eric Craske gives his final decision

Veteran umpire Eric Craske is looking forward to taking a view from the boundary after giving himself out at the age of 76.

One of the best-known figures on the Norfolk cricket match official circuit was given a rousing send-off as he walked from the field at the recent Fakenham v Downham Norfolk Alliance Premier Division game.

As well as taking charge of top Alliance games, Eric, who lives at Roughton, also has showpiece matches in the Carter Cup, Biss Trophy and Norfolk T20 under his belt.

Bradfield wicket-keeper for 30 years until he stopped playing at the age of 55, Eric has been umpiring for the past 21 years. He has been one of the busiest figures on the circuit, in regular Saturday, Sunday and midweek action at grounds all over the county. As well as a wide range of domestic action, he has also umpired for the Norfolk Police Force team for the last 15 years, travelling all over the country.

'I suppose I must have done as many as 50 games a season, although I have slowed up this year as I haven't done so many Sunday games,' he said. Highlights have included standing at the Norfolk v Holland game at Brundall, and three Carter Cup finals.

A niggling injury finally forced him to call time. 'I got a bit of knee trouble, probably from keeping wicket all those years. It was OK during games but it was afterwards that I tended to feel it.

'I had made up my mind at the start of the season that this would be my last.

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'I have had a good run. A lot of people haven't gone on for so long as I have. I feel quite content about it. I may miss it but I shall be going to watch cricket anyway. I shall follow Cromer, Bradfield and Norfolk.'

John Tythcott, chairman of the Norfolk Association of Cricket Officials, and an umpire himself, paid tribute. 'He has served with great distinction and was always very well respected by players and his colleagues. He always had excellent availability and you could always rely on him whether it was for a Saturday, Sunday or midweek game.'

He added: 'If you were umpiring a game with Eric you knew you could rely on his solid support.'