Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Sunday, 5 July 2009 17:28 UK

Umpire dies in cricket accident

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Swansea Cricket Club chairman Steve Davies has not seen a similar incident in decades of playing cricket.

A cricket umpire has died after being hit on the head by a ball.

Alcwyn Jenkins, 72, was umpiring a league match between Swansea and Llangennech at the St Helen's ground in Swansea on Saturday.

The widower, from Skewen near Neath, was struck on the head by a ball thrown by a fielder and was airlifted to hospital but failed to recover.

Neil Hobbs, honorary chairman of the South Wales Cricket Association, said it was a tragic accident.

"I've umpired with Alcwyn - great guy. He was well respected throughout the league and everybody knew Alcwyn," said Mr Hobbs.

"He's umpired for the best part of 25 years. He also does junior league matches.

I'm led to believe it was one of the most freak accidents you could ever imagine on the cricket field
Neil Hobbs, South Wales Cricket Association

"Everybody probably in south Wales knows Alcwyn through cricket. It's a very very sad day and I feel sorry for his children."

The match, which was abandoned, was a league game in division one of the South Wales Cricket Association.

A message on the association's website says: "We are shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic accidental death of umpire Alcwyn Jenkins from an injury sustained on the field of play at St Helen's today. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."

Mr Hobbs, who was not at the game, said he was told that Mr Jenkins collapsed after being hit by the ball.

"I'm led to believe it was one of the most freak accidents you could ever imagine on the cricket field," he said.

"The fielder collected the ball in the outfield and threw it in at the stumps and it hit Alcwyn on the head."

He said efforts were made to resuscitate Mr Jenkins before he was taken to hospital by air ambulance.

Eric Lewis, honorary treasurer of Llangennech Cricket Club and a member of the league management committee, said: "We were the fielding side and from what I understand they had been off for rain.

"They had only just gone back two or three minutes. Somebody had hit the ball and one of our boys threw it in as you do and Alcwyn was just in line and it hit him on the side of the head."

Mr Lewis, who was not at the game, said Mr Jenkins was a very popular umpire and his death was a "big, big tragedy".

Steve Davies, chairman of Swansea Cricket Club, said the incident happened at around 1600 BST in front of an unusually large crowd, because many had been watching the Lions rugby match beforehand.

Alcwyn Jenkins on tour in the West Indies with South Wales Cricket Assocation
Mr Jenkins (l) toured the West Indies with South Wales Cricket Association

"Alcwyn was a well-known and respected umpire who regularly stood for the South Wales Cricket Association," he said.

Mr Davies said that before the game, Mr Jenkins had turned to him and said: "I just love playing games at St Helen's. It's a wonderful place to play cricket."

Mr Jenkins had recently returned from a tour of the West Indies with the association.

The England and Wales Cricket Board Association of Cricket Officials (ECB ACO) said it was shocked to hear of the death of Mr Jenkins, who it described as a "respected umpire".

Chairman Roger Knight said: "We are all saddened by the news of the tragic accident at Swansea on Saturday.

"Alcwyn Jenkins was a highly-respected umpire in the south Wales cricket community for the last 25 years and a valued member of the ECB ACO.

'Smashing guy'

"We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and our thoughts are with them at this sad time."

Fellow umpire Eddie Blake said Mr Jenkins was "devoted" to the sport.

The 59-year-old from Swansea said: "He was one of the oldest umpires and he was a smashing guy - a real character.

"He was very popular on the local cricket scene and welcome in all of the clubs. Everybody respected Alcwyn and it is a big, big loss, not just to cricket but also to his family and friends."

South Wales Police said a 72-year-old man had died following a cricket game in Swansea and there were no suspicious circumstances.



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