JIS News

Veteran international umpire, Steve Bucknor has nothing but high praise for the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, which sits on 40 acres, located in the centre of Jamaica’s tourist belt, east of Ocho Rios and west of Montego Bay.
“It is good to have a facility like this in western Jamaica. It is a great facility to have because the ground is in immaculate condition, the pitches are good and for the first time in western Jamaica, we have seating for anywhere in the region of 10,000 people,” he says. However, for the opening ceremony of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 on March 11, some 15,000 temporary seats have been added. JIS News caught up with umpire Bucknor, while he recently inspected the preparations of the pitch at the newly built stadium.
“I have to make sure that the pitches are placed properly. It might seem to be a minute detail, but some people do not understand that we need to have a pitch that is placed properly. 22 yards by 10 feet wide and this is what I came to look at,” he explains.
Mr. Bucknor, who is on the elite list of umpires of the ICC, is also very satisfied with the preparations. “I do not know what the outfield has to offer but from what I see, I think it is comparable with some of the better grounds that I have seen all over the world,” he tells JIS News.
The umpire says he is anxious for some action to begin at the grounds. “I am just waiting for the day to come out to do a few games just to test the conditions. I am enjoying what I am seeing and the fact is that there is nowhere in western Jamaica like this,” he adds.
The stadium is set to make its international television debut during the match between India and the West Indies on March 9, which is one of four warm-up matches to be played there. Its big highlight will be on March 11, when an expected 3.5 billion viewers are expected to tune in and watch the opening ceremony.”I hope that the stadium will be cared for and that it will be here for many people to use in the future,” Mr. Bucknor says.
The highly regarded umpire is encouraging fans to leave a bit earlier and to drive at a steady pace when attending matches at the venue. “What Jamaicans want to enjoy is the cricket and I suppose foreigners will enjoy it as well,” he argues.
His feelings of pride are similar for Sabina Park and the new facilities, which include the imposing new North Stand and the increased seating capacity. “I am happy for Sabina Park. I am only hoping that the West Indies will play well there,” he says.
Umpire Bucknor has the distinction of standing in four ICC Cricket World Cup Finals, beginning in 1992 in Australia.