Umpire John G Williamson passes
Mention of the name John Williamson at gatherings of Scottish umpires in recent years was generally greeted with vacant facial expressions, but as he was aged 98 when he died on 16th December last year this was hardly surprising. Nevertheless some of those who had no idea who John was would be unaware that he had watched them standing in games at Hamilton Crescent where he would be sitting in front of the pavilion windows with his fellow faithful West of Scotland supporters.
John umpired in the former “closed shop” Western Union in the days of the quite definite first and second eleven umpires where for most of his career he was in the former category.
Retiring from on-field involvement at the conclusion of Season 1980, he continued with the umpire training for which he will be best remembered, having laid the foundations for the structured training in the West. There are still a number of active, or at least relatively so, umpires who benefitted from his tutoring. The then unheard of laptops and projectors would in any event have been totally unnecessary as John only required his blackboard and sticks of chalk to explain the more intricate sections of The Laws of Cricket. Many former attendees at his classes at Hamilton Crescent, Partick Baptist Church Hall and latterly Titwood look back with admiration and a smile on John’s astute response - “I would have to see it” - on every occasion someone tried to trip him up with some trick or far-fetched question.
In addition to training umpires in the west of Scotland, John was the Training Officer for the Scotland Region of the then Association of Cricket Umpires & Scorers (ACU&S) in whose newsletter, “How’s That?”, he had several items published on specific points in the Laws.
It is hard to believe that it is now almost twenty-five years since he passed on the West and ACU&S training roles to the late Jim Connell, whom he had groomed as his successor.
Although John Williamson had been out of circulation for some years, there are still many within the West cricket fraternity who remember him well including the older umpires who recognise his contribution to umpire training for which he will be especially remembered.