What a disappointment it was on Saturday morning to see it raining which meant the weather forecaster had got it right. 

Overnight rain and wind caused havoc at most grounds with water getting under the covers, some covers even having been blown off meaning outfields were wet.

There was a glimmer of hope at a couple of grounds and one match actually started but constant showers and then steady rain in the afternoon caused all Bolton Cricket League games to be abandoned. 

It certainly wasn’t the ideal start to the Peter Stafford Trophy games or the new season, especially after the lovely fine weather the weekend before and all the preparation players, umpires and groundsmen had done to be ready for the first match.

So how do umpires prepare for the coming season? 

During the winter there are revision courses, discussions at local umpires’ meetings where new MCC rules and local playing conditions are explained and different scenarios created so endless possibilities can be put forward to help understand the changes. 

Some volunteer for pre-season friendly games just to help get their eye in ahead of the new summer. 

There are plenty of cricket matches televised from around the world and occasionally there are incidents which lead into points for discussion. 

One such incident was the run out of Lancashire and England star Jos Buttler in the Indian Premier League due to him backing up too far. 

At a recent meeting of umpires from various local leagues, they were asked for their decision if they had been the umpire. 

Yes, he was backing up too far and taking a risk but then the bowler in question, Ravi Ashwin, seemed to pause before going back to break the wicket. 

A quick-thinking umpire may have called dead ball for not delivering the ball in a timely fashion. 

The majority present would have given him out as the law says if the non-striker is out of his ground at any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally be expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be run out. No warning is needed. 

The umpire could have asked the captain if he wanted the appeal to stand as some consider it isn’t in the spirit of the game but, if the reply is yes, then the umpire has no choice but to give him out.

Would you believe this almost happened in a pre-season friendly?  

I say almost, as the bowler warned the batsman, something he didn’t have to do under the rules of the game.