AFTER 20 years playing the game, Christine Robinson is now running them.
She is the Meller Braggins Cheshire League's latest and most nervous addition to its umpires' panel.
Robinson (pictured), a 51-year-old mother of two grown-up non-cricketing children, qualified three years ago with the idea of umpiring when she finished playing.
She retired at the end of last season and became an active umpire in answer to an emergency call from the league.
'They were short of cover for the Lymm-Mere match, rang me and I decided, well, I had to do it sometime...
'I was nervous, but nobody seemed to notice and they didn't realise it was my first game either and I didn't tell them.
'There were no contentious moments, although I think if you ask the Mere wicketkeeper he would claim he was not lbw. But he was.'
Hartford-based Robinson joined Oakmere Ladies in 1985 and topped the batting and bowling averages several times. She was skipper for the last seven years, mostly Cheshire Women's League title-winning seasons, and is a familiar figure as scorer with the men's 2nd XI.
'Women's cricket was unusual then and I only joined to get out of the house and, as a badminton player in winter, I wanted some other activity in summer.
'Younger players are coming through at Oakmere. I have coached in schools, younger players are coming through and there is less resistance to the idea of women's cricket nowadays.'
The Cheshire League's only other female umpire is 18-year-old Rebecca Woods, of Chester.
League appointments officer and deputy chairman Dave Lawson said: 'I have no fears for either of them. It is different for the players but they will soon both earn their respect. They are both confident and we're pleased they are on the panel.'