Former Somerset Captain Mike Burns has been appointed to the First Class Umpires’ Full List for 2016.
Burns, who played for Somerset between 1997 and 2005, has been added to the list following the retirement of Martin Bodenham.
He was born in Barrow in 1969 and when he left school he went into the shipyards in the North-West to work and served his apprenticeship. However he was spotted by Warwickshire playing cricket in his native county of Cumberland and in 1992 made his First Class debut for the midland club.
When Dermott Reeve joined Somerset as head coach in 1997 Burns followed him down the M5 where he remained until 2005 when he retired.
During his career overall Burns played in 154 First Class matches in which he scored 7648 runs at and average of 32.68 with a best of 221 which he scored against Yorkshire at Bath. He claimed 68 First Class wickets at 42.42 with a best of six for 54 against Leicestershire.
In List A cricket the all rounder, who started his career as a wicket-keeper, played 221 games scoring almost 5000 runs at 25.81 and took 58 wickets at 30.50. He was also a part of the Somerset team that lifted the C&G Trophy in 2001.
Shortly after he heard of his appointment a delighted Burns said: “This is a great announcement because it has been a tough six years since I first started out on the road to becoming a First Class umpire, so it has all worked out really well for me and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Since he left Somerset 10 years ago, the 46 year old has done a variety of jobs including working for North Gear kit suppliers and Bradbury Bats at the cricket shop at the County Ground. He also went to work at the Globe Sports Cricket Shop in Bristol. “I finished at Globe in 2013,” he said. “Ever since I have been umpiring in the summer and doing a bit of airport driving and delivering cars in the winter.”
Burns entry into the umpiring world started at grass roots level when, along with another former Somerset favourite Ian Blackwell, he attended a Level One Umpiring course at Weston-super-Mare that was run by the Somerset Cricket Board. “After that I did some Academy games for Somerset which Jason Kerr sorted out for me,” he said. “I also did some Second XI games in 2011 and then in 2012 got onto the reserve list. Since then I have had four years there but last season I did nine County Championship games, seven NatWest T20 Blast matches and five games in the Royal London One-Day Cup after Mark Benson went down with a back injury which was great experience for me.”
Burns reflected on the fact that he has come along way since those early days at the shipyards: “I think going into the shipyard straight out of school has helped me to appreciate playing and being involved with the cricket world even more. I had to get up very early in the morning, went home late and met quite a few very interesting characters. Even when I first came down here to Somerset in 1997 I laboured on the Ian Botham Stand over the first winter and I also worked in the club office for a couple of winters after that, which I think really made me appreciate cricket and prepared me well for life afterwards.”
What is it like standing out in the middle as a First Class umpire? “It’s really tough and very demanding,” he said. “You take pride in your performance and everybody wants to do the best job they can because a crucial game can hinge on a decision that you make, so we all want to get it right. I am very lucky to have been accepted onto the list and am very grateful to everyone who has helped me on my way over the years.”