United Kingdom

David Shepherd

David Shepherd

(1940 – 2009)

  • I've been a lifelong cricket fan. I really enjoyed watching you umpire. No-one had lit a candle for you so thought I'd be the first.
    Lit by Shaun Roberts
United Kingdom

David Shepherd

David Shepherd
(1940 – 2009)

In memory of

David Shepherd

(1940 – 2009)
About David
This memorial is to honour David Shepherd who was an English cricket umpire. David Shepherd was the doyen of English cricket umpires, known across the world as one of the best and fairest officials in the game; players, fans and pundits all warmed to his jolly Santa Claus figure and his quirky sense of humour, most famously expressed in his superstitious habit of standing on one leg whenever the score reached 111.

Shepherd had the hearty frame and smiling, ruddy face of a West Country landlord. But once he donned the umpire's white coat, he became a formidable adjudicator, as a generation of batsman will testify. He had a sharp eye and an exceptional rapport with the players – virtues that the
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About David
International Cricket Council recognised when they appointed him for three successive World Cup finals.
Overall, Shepherd stood in 92 Test matches and 172 one-day internationals, figures that only the Jamaican Steve Bucknor and the South African Rudi Koertzen have bettered. But he retained a sense of modesty about his own achievements – and indeed about the role of umpires as a whole. "The game isn't about us," he used to say. "It's about the players."
David Robert Shepherd was born on December 27 1940 at Instow, a village in Devon where his parents ran the post office. The business was eventually passed down to David's older brother in the early 1960s, and until recently Shepherd liked to help
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About David
out, delivering newspapers whenever he had a break in his hectic sporting itinerary. His wife Jenny observed that "some of our neighbours thought it was funny to see him on the telly one day and then on their doorstep at 6.30am the next".
After attending grammar school in Barnstaple and St Luke's College in Exeter, Shepherd set out on a career as a teacher – an experience that was to inform his expert handling of professional cricketers later in life. He made a belated entry to the first-class game at the age of 25, when his maiden appearance for Gloucestershire produced a rumbustious century against Oxford University.
Most of Shepherd's innings were uncomplicated affairs. According to Dickie Bird,
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About David
later his umpiring partner in many a Test: "David hit the ball hard, and he often hit it for six. But he wasn't the most mobile. Even early in his career, he always carried a lot of weight."
Physical jerks and gym sessions never came naturally to a man who had a particular enjoyment of the tea-break. On one pre-season training run at Gloucestershire, Bird recalled: "David set off at a reasonable pace, but he was soon puffing, and he ended up hitching a lift on a milk float."
On another occasion, his county booked him into a health farm in Bristol. According to Shepherd's friend and team-mate Jack Davey: "David was supposed to be following a strict regime of carrot juice and enemas. But he had a large
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About David
sash window in his room, and after dark he would pop down to the local pub and have a meal with the landlord. At the end of a week's stay, he had lost precisely one ounce."
By the time Shepherd retired from the game in 1979, he had scored 12 centuries and 55 half-centuries in his 476 innings during 282 matches. In all, his meaty right-hand bat had clocked up 10,672 runs. He had taken two first-class wickets with his medium pace.
But he was by no means ready to leave the game. A friend suggested that he should try his hand at umpiring, as it offered "the best seat in the house". Within a couple of seasons he had been promoted to one-day international level, making his debut during the 1983 World Cup.
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About David
/>He was soon attracting comment with his trademark hops and skips whenever the score reached "Nelson". The number 111 – which has become associated with Admiral Nelson because he had one eye and one arm – is considered to be unlucky among club cricketers, and Shepherd was incorrigibly superstitious throughout his life. "Friday the 13th is a terrible day," he once said. "I always tie a matchstick to my finger so I am touching wood all day."
It is hard to think of a more popular official than Shepherd. In the words of his friend and colleague, Barrie Leadbeater: "He had such a lovely nature, and his mannerisms – like the hop and the skip – were all completely natural. He had been
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About David
doing that since he was a boy. He didn't have to put on a persona, as with some other umpires."
David Shepherd, who died on October 27, is survived by his wife. This online obituary is to honour the life of David Shepherd and his achievements. May he rest in peace.
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Kindly lit by
Shaun Roberts
on 4th Jul 2015
They wrote:
I've been a lifelong cricket fan. I really enjoyed watching you umpire. No-one had lit a candle for you so thought I'd be the first.
Gold tribute.

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David Shepherd - tribute extract

David Shepherd

This memorial is to honour David Shepherd who was an English cricket umpire. David Shepherd was the doyen of English cricket umpires, known across the world as one of the best and fairest officials in the game; players, fans and pundits all warmed to his jolly Santa Claus figure and his quirky sense of humour, most famously expressed in his superstitious habit of standing on one leg whenever the score reached 111.

Shepherd had the hearty frame and smiling, ruddy face of a West Country landlord. But once he donned the umpire's white coat, he became a formidable adjudicator, as a generation of batsman will testify. He had a sharp eye and an exceptional rapport with the players – virtues that the...

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Rest in peace David
I first met David at ****
My sincere condolences to all friends and family of David
My fondest memory of David was ****
David used to really enjoy ****
What I will miss the most about David is ****
David inspired me to ****
David changed my life by ****
If I had to sum up what David meant to me it would be ****
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