When Victorian boundary umpires’ coach, Simon Leigh announced Matthew Jenkinson’s 50th game to the group at training last Monday night it raised a few eyebrows from his colleagues. “Wow already, gee that was quick, really,” were just a few of the comments and then of course all the boys got around him to wish him well.
Only into his third year on the list and with 21 and 22 games respectively in his first two years Matthew just goes about his work to an extremely high level (as indicated by the number of games he has done) and with little fanfare or attention. He is one of the quiet men of our group of dedicated young boundary umpires. “I see myself as pretty maintenance free. I’d love to just run a game every week,” he said when we caught up with him Friday before his game.
Matthew claims he has never been on the physio table at training and only gets a rub occasionally. He argues it’s because he looks after his body and because he is a physiotherapist by occupation, he knows how to do that. “I haven’t missed a game through injury in 10 years of umpiring. I don’t come from a running background, I played hockey and cricket as a kid and enjoyed umpiring as well.”
Matt lists his highlights as his first game, the Easter Monday game, Geelong v Hawthorn with over 80,000 people was a thrill, but the first ANZAC Day game in New Zealand last year between St.Kilda and Sydney he rates as his best experience. “The opportunity was enormous and the hype around the game in the days leading up to it was amazing and great to be a part of.”