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700 for Bill Sheahan

02 March 2022

Bill Sheahan

Umpire Bill Sheahan will this week stand in his 700th Cricket Victoria (CV) and higher match in the Victorian Premier Cricket First XI fixture between the Melbourne and Geelong Cricket Clubs at the Albert Ground in Melbourne.

Sheahan is a Test and One-Day International umpire who has stood in every level of cricket since commencing back in 1980. Injury curtailed Sheahan’s playing career before he stepped into match officiating by chance for a mid-week fixture. Sheahan was guided in those early year’s by Test Match umpire Bill Smyth who brought Sheahan into what was then the Victorian District Cricket competition, now Premier Cricket. After starting in the lower grades, Sheahan moved up into the First XI in time for the 1986/87 season. Three seasons later, Sheahan made his First-Class debut in the Tour Match between Victoria and the touring Sri Lankan side at Sale Oval in the Victorian regional centre of Sale. Sheahan also stood in the Tour Match hosted by Victoria and the touring Pakistan team at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Sheahan would stand in a further five Sheffield Shield matches before being appointed to the Second Test between Australia and New Zealand at Bellerive Oval in the summer of 1993/94. Later that summer, Sheahan stood on field in the remarkable Second Test between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground. That series was the first time South Africa toured Australia since the 1960’s.

Sheahan also stood in his first One-Day International that summer when Australia played South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as part of the triangular One-Day International Series with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Sheahan’s International tally of two Test Matches (five as TV Umpire) and five One Day Internationals (20 as TV Umpire) sits alongside his 34 First-Class and 18 List-A matches.

Over the last two decades, Sheahan has dedicated himself to umpiring and mentoring in Victoria’s highest competition Premier Cricket. With over 500 First XI matches to his name, Sheahan continues to set records in his home state. Long-time on-field colleague and Cricket Australia Umpire Education Manager Richard Patterson describes Sheahan’s commitment to cricket umpiring. “Bill has not only had a tremendous career on the field, but he is a person who is willing to give back to the game.  His mentorship and guidance of umpires has not only been in Premier Cricket but with other competitions such as the Western Region Junior Cricket Association (and Geelong Cricket Association) where he has been the advisor for many years.  There have been many umpires (and players) who have benefitted from Bill’s wisdom and understanding of the game over the years and Cricket is indebted to people like Bill”.

Sheahan understands the role of the umpire to be custodians and servants to the game and very few have given as much as he as for over four decades.