IT'S one of the most unforgiving jobs in sport ... you're always to blame, and rarely in the right.
But two Ipswich umpires wouldn't have it any other way.
David Staines and Darryl Davis will next month be taking their talents to Bundaberg for the Australian Country Championships, the highest level of umpiring in country cricket.
The pair, both former Ipswich cricketers, have been named among the top 12 umpires in the state following the appointment.
Since ending his playing days eight years ago, Staines has become one of Ipswich's go-to men in white, officiating in recent Ipswich finals.
Davis, a former representative cricketer, got his first taste of umpiring during a season he was out injured, and took the job on the other side of the stumps four seasons ago.
Ipswich umpires boss Mark Dalgleish said the two deserved to be chosen, even putting in a word to the selectors for the relatively green Davis.
"I have a fair bit to do with (Davis) and had a quiet word with the Queensland selectors," he said.
"As former players, they know it's a tough job, but they know what it is like on the other side."
Dalgleish said after retiring from playing, Davis and Staines had taken to the jobs quickly.
"Darryl had a season umpiring when he was injured before he retired. After he gave playing away, he's taken to it like a duck to water.
"Stainesy started in around '05, after he retired and he took to it really well straight away.
"The two of them are some of our top guys; it's meant to be the best 12 guys in the state at country championships, so it's a real feather in their cap to be picked."
Davis said he was stunned when he got the call to officiate at the championships.
"As far as country cricket goes, that's as high as it gets," he said.
"It was a bit of a surprise, I didn't think I had the experience yet to be picked. It's a real honour."
Davis said he took to umpiring as a way to stay in cricket after retiring.
"I felt I wasn't playing to the standard I'd set for myself in the past," he said.
"To stay involved in the game, I thought I'd give umpiring a shot. I'd stepped in at a Webb Shield trial (as an umpire) in my playing days and I really enjoyed it, so I'd had a bit of experience."
The Australian Country Championships will feature country teams representing each state as well as an East Asia Pacific representative team from January 3-14.
The tournament will feature one-day, two-day and Twenty20 matches.
Davis and Staines will each be umpiring a week of the tournament.
- Played for: Redbank Plains, Central.
- Rituals: "When I was playing, I'd always put my left pad on before my right and try to step on to the field with my left foot first. But I've gone away from them as an umpire."
- Best advice: "Mark Dalgleish (Ipswich umpires boss) told me to keep it simple. If you keep it simple and call it as you see it when you're umpiring, you can't go too wrong."
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